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Studies in Formal Linguistics

Universal Patterns and Language Specific Parameters


Edited By Anna Bloch-Rozmej and Anna Bondaruk

This book investigates the nature and consequences of universal principles in four major grammar components, i.e. syntax, phonology, morphology and semantics. Language specific parameters are held responsible for the attested variation. The papers collected in this book analyse selected phenomena from English, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, and Polish, and shed new light on the interaction of universals and parameters in the structure of individual language systems. The generative framework is adopted as the theoretical model in the majority of contributions.

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Chapter 10 Rounded Back Vowels Preservation in Consonantal Contexts. C-V Licensing (Leonardo M. Savoia / Benedetta Baldi)


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Leonardo M. Savoia and Benedetta Baldi

University of Florence

Chapter 10 Rounded Back Vowels Preservation in Consonantal Contexts. C-V Licensing*

Abstract: This article analyses the distribution of the vocalic properties in the phonological domain of the stressed nucleus and the interactions with the melodic content of the adjacent consonants. The phenomena we examine include metaphony and [u] propagation and preservation in pre-tonic position in Southern Italian varieties. These processes provide evidence for rethinking the notion of licensing in the terms of an assimilatory mechanism that makes the prosodic domain of the stressed nucleus interpretable. In this sense, metaphony, [u] propagation and other types of assimilation targeting the stressed nucleus are implementation of the same mechanism whereby the stressed nucleus legitimates the sequence by realising (some of) its phonological properties. In some cases, metaphony or propagations apply only in the context of a velar or labial consonant, suggesting that the same [U] element characterises labiality and velarity in consonants and vowels and that also consonants are involved in fixing the licensing domain. A revised GP approach is pursued in which prosodic structures are dealt with as the direct manifestation of the phonological content of the segments; besides, we propose a low frequency resonance element to account for the vowel raising/lowering processes.

Keywords: vowel assimilation, metaphony, [u] propagation, [u] preservation, phonological theory

1. Introduction

The relations between segments are generally manifested by harmonising/phonological agreement effects and by...

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