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Bookmark and Share Paper 3241

Positions Are Defined on the Input: Evidence from Repairs in Child Phonology
Karen Jesney
217-226 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper draws on child language data to argue that the privileged positions referenced by positional faithfulness constraints must be defined against the input, in contrast with the common approach in the Optimality Theoretic literature (e.g., Beckman 1998). The key data comes from analysis of target onset and coda clusters produced by the English-acquiring child Trevor (Compton & Streeter 1977, Pater 1997). Trevor's productions reveal higher rates of epenthesis in target onset clusters than in target coda clusters, a fact that cannot be described or analyzed without reference to input position. Trevor also shows an unexpectedly strong preference for retention of target word-initial consonants in cases where deletion applies. These patterns cannot be reduced to an effect of sonority. The paper argues that faithfulness constraints' reference to input positions co-exists with markedness constraints' reference to output positions, and is crucial in allowing a full treatment of the attested repair patterns.

Published in

Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Kyeong-min Kim, Pocholo Umbal, Trevor Block, Queenie Chan, Tanie Cheng, Kelli Finney, Mara Katz, Sophie Nickel-Thompson, and Lisa Shorten
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Printed edition: $375.00