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Categorical and gradient homophony avoidance: Evidence from Japanese

Categorical and gradient homophony avoidance: Evidence from Japanese Abstract Many languages have been claimed to have phonological patterns that are sensitive to the need to avoid homophony – for example, a rule that is blocked if it would create a surface form that is identical to another word in the language. Such patterns always involve comparisons between words in the same morphological paradigm (e.g., singular and plural forms with the same stem). The lone exception to this generalization is Ichimura (2006) , who argues that a nasal contraction pattern in Japanese is blocked by potential homophony between verbs with different stems. We present experimental evidence that homophony avoidance is not part of the correct synchronic description of the environment in which this pattern applies; rather, nasal contraction does not productively delete stem-final vowels. However, homophony avoidance does appear to affect the probability with which contraction applies. We conclude that homophony avoidance affects phonological behavior, but that absolute homophony-related blocking is restricted to morphological paradigms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Laboratory Phonology de Gruyter

Categorical and gradient homophony avoidance: Evidence from Japanese

Laboratory Phonology , Volume 6 (2) – May 1, 2015

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by the
ISSN
1868-6346
eISSN
1868-6354
DOI
10.1515/lp-2015-0006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Many languages have been claimed to have phonological patterns that are sensitive to the need to avoid homophony – for example, a rule that is blocked if it would create a surface form that is identical to another word in the language. Such patterns always involve comparisons between words in the same morphological paradigm (e.g., singular and plural forms with the same stem). The lone exception to this generalization is Ichimura (2006) , who argues that a nasal contraction pattern in Japanese is blocked by potential homophony between verbs with different stems. We present experimental evidence that homophony avoidance is not part of the correct synchronic description of the environment in which this pattern applies; rather, nasal contraction does not productively delete stem-final vowels. However, homophony avoidance does appear to affect the probability with which contraction applies. We conclude that homophony avoidance affects phonological behavior, but that absolute homophony-related blocking is restricted to morphological paradigms.

Journal

Laboratory Phonologyde Gruyter

Published: May 1, 2015

References