"Phonological Noun-Verb Dissimilarities in Optimal Paradigms"

Seth Cable

In some languages, nouns obey a different set of phonological generalizations from verbs (Smith 1997, 1999, 2001). This raises the question "Is phonology actually sensitive to the syntactic categories of its inputs?"

I argue that contrary to appearance, phonology is never sensitive to the syntactic categories of its inputs. Rather, any phonological differences between the nouns and verbs of a language are the result of a paradigm uniformity effect (Burzio 1999, Kenstowicz 1997, Kiparsky 1998), combined with prior, independently observable differences in the inflectional paradigms of nouns and verbs. Furthermore, the Optimal Paradigms (McCarthy 2002) theory of paradigm uniformity effects can be used to analyze particular cases of phonological N-V dissimilarities that, previously, had appeared to offer deep challenges to parallelist, constraint-based theories of opacity (c.f. Bobaljik 1997).


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