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Cumulative Constraint Interactions: Violations and Domains Encompassing Segmental Spans
Rachel Walker
1-15 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper examines cumulative constraint interactions, bearing on the analysis of a specific vowel harmony pattern and general theoretical issues. With respect to the former it proposes that apparent local triggering in Yakut round harmony arises as an epiphenomenon of an asymmetric trade-off of weighted constraints in Harmonic Grammar. In this account, the ganging constraints are well-established markedness constraints governing the representation of round vowels, with strong typological and crosslinguistic support. A benefit of this approach is that it obtains the pattern without any restriction on trigger-target locality, both maintaining a general treatment of locality in feature association in the theory and accommodating attested harmony patterns with nonlocal trigger-target relations. In addition, an alternative analysis using a local conjunction of the same constraints in Optimality Theory is shown to be overaggressive in the contexts where it blocks round harmony. This difference in the effect of the two approaches to cumulative constraint interaction arises in the setting of a span-sized locus of violation of one of the ganging constraints, which widens the potential scope for application of the local conjunction. This study thus contributes new evidence supporting the intrinsic requirement of an asymmetric trade-off for gang effects in Harmonic Grammar, and it identifies span-sized violations as an area in which to probe different predictions of cumulative constraint interactions in Harmonic Grammar versus local conjunction in Optimality Theory.

Published in

Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
Table of contents
Printed edition: $410.00