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Incomplete Neutralization and the (A)symmetry of Paradigm Uniformity
Abby Kaplan
319-328 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Incomplete neutralization is robustly documented in the literature, and has been analyzed as a type of paradigm uniformity: a neutralized segment retains some of the cues to its underlying feature specification because it is attracted to its contrastive counterpart elsewhere in the paradigm. The experiments reported in this paper test whether the converse of this paradigm uniformity occurs: are contrastive segments attracted to their neutralized counterparts? If so, alternating segments (e.g., stem-final voiced segments in a language with final devoicing) should differ from segments that do not alternate (e.g., voiced segments that are not stem-final). Case studies are final devoicing in Afrikaans and vowel reduction in Russian. Both languages show evidence of classical incomplete neutralization, but no evidence of its converse. The author concludes that subphonemic paradigm uniformity is fundamentally asymmetrical.

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