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A Corpus-Based Study of Phonological Variation: The Domain of OCP and Morphological Boundaries
Shin-ichiro Sano
439-446 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


By studying the Corpus of Spontaneous Japanese (National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics 2008, 2012, hereafter CSJ), this project offers new findings on the patterns of phonological processes in actual usage. In particular, this study examines the effect of the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP) (voice), which bans multiple occurrences of [+voice] in proximity to each other, also known as Lyman's Law (Itô and Mester, 1986), on the patterns of two phonological processes in Japanese: 1) devoicing of voiced obstruent geminates (geminate devoicing) and 2) rendaku. This study also examines the application domain of OCP (voice) with reference to the presence/absence of a morphological boundary. The results of the examination of geminate devoicing and rendaku show that 1) the likelihood of the application of the processes is higher/lower when there is a trigger/blocker (voiced obstruent), showing that OCP (voice) is active; and 2) the triggering/blocking effect of OCP (voice) is suppressed by the presence of a morphological boundary. Thus, this study confirms the effect of OCP (voice) and its domain: the effect of OCP (voice) is stem/morpheme-bound (Itô and Mester, 1986, 2003). Furthermore, the corpus-based study reveals the gradient aspects of these effects, in contrast to intuition-based studies.

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