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Title:Some aspects of English phonology: An optimality theoretic approach
Author(s):Lee, Jae Young
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cole, Jennifer S.
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:This thesis investigates some morphophonemic alternations in English vocalic and consonantal phonology. The alternations include three types of phonological phenomena: vowel quality discrepancies, Cluster Simplification, and Voicing Assimilation. This thesis focuses on why these phenomena occur. The goal of this work is to explore the motivating forces of these phenomena and present a principled account of the morphophonemic alternations. Unlike studies in the previous classical generative approach, this work appeals to functional principles fully integrated into a formal phonological analysis. To present explicit formal analyses of the three kinds of phenomena, I adopt the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993, McCarthy and Prince 1993a, b).
Major issues in English vocalic phonology concern the tenseness discrepancy and height discrepancy between underived words and derived words. The tenseness discrepancy is attested in phenomena like CiV Tensing, Trisyllabic Laxing, CC Laxing, and "-ic" Laxing. These phenomena are explained in terms of prosodic structure. The height discrepancy, which since SPE has been covered by a rule of English Vowel Shift, is accounted for within the "principled" Optimality Theory approach, one which provides an explicit role for functional principles in a formal phonological analysis.
Cluster Simplification observed in nasal-consonant clusters, and voicing agreement in consonant clusters are also treated in a more explanatory way within the principled Optimality Theory approach.
The implications of this study of English phonology are that apparently English-specific phenomena turn out, not surprisingly, to be explainable in terms of universal well-formedness constraint, and that functional considerations serve to justify those constraints.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Lee, Jae-Young
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712344
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712344

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