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Bookmark and Share Paper 1368

Metathesis in Judeo-Spanish Consonant Clusters
Travis G. Bradley
79-90 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Judeo-Spanish denotes those varieties of Spanish preserved by the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and have emigrated throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. This paper examines two types of productive consonant metathesis in Judeo-Spanish: daldo < dadlo 'give (PL.) it' and tadre < tarde 'late, afternoon'. Following Holt's (2004) Optimality-theoretic account of dl and dn metathesis in Old Spanish, dl metathesis in Judeo-Spanish is analyzed as a repair strategy for bad syllable contact. In Old Spanish, metathesis did not affect heteromorphemic dm clusters, and the same restriction is found in modern-day Judeo-Spanish: dadme vs. *damde/dande 'give (PL.) me'. An analysis is proposed in which nasal place assimilation and positional faithfulness constraints explain the failure of dm metathesis across morpheme boundaries. Unlike dl metathesis, transposition of rd clusters does not result from syllable contact optimization. This innovation is analyzed as an effect of the Obligatory Contour Principle, whereby adjacent segments identical in place, manner, and voicing specifications are prohibited. The analyses proposed in this paper highlight the role of constraints on segmental features, which interact with sonority constraints to generate the patterns of consonant metathesis attested in Hispano-Romance varieties.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 9th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Nuria Sagarra and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio
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Printed edition: $250.00