In this paper, the author extends the Dispersion Theory of Contrast (Flemming 1995, 2004, 2006) to laryngeal cooccurrence restrictions. The central argument is that the driving force behind the three types of restrictions recognized in the literature is a restriction on contrasts between forms in a language, not restrictions on isolated forms or structures. Combinations of laryngeal features are only marked with respect to the other combinations with which they contrast. The unifying property of all three types of cooccurrence restrictions is neutralization of the contrast between forms with one and two instances of a laryngeal feature (k'-p' v k'-p), and preservation of the contrast between forms with either one or two instances of a laryngeal feature and those with none (k'-p' v k-p or k'-p v k-p). Languages differ as to the outcome of this neutralization. The hypothesis is that the 1 v 2 contrast in laryngeal features is perceptually weaker than the 1 v 0 or 2 v 0 contrast.
Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
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