The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference, Leipzig 2013
Edited By Gerhild Zybatow, Petr Biskup, Marcel Guhl, Claudia Hurtig, Olav Mueller-Reichau and Maria Yastrebova
Opacity, variation and the exponence of Polish virile declensions
← 560 | 561 →Sławomir Zdziebko
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin
The phonological status of Polish palatalizations has been repeatedly questioned by scholars of various theoretical inclinations (see Dressler 1985; Spencer 1985; Gussmann 2007, among others). The most often invoked argument against treating palatalizations as phonological phenomena is the fact that the supposed triggers of palatalizations do not form a natural class: palatalizations are not observed before all, and only front vowels. The derivational techniques employed to make sure that only front objects trigger palatalizations have often been criticized as being exceedingly abstract.1
Additionally, the input-output mappings involved in palatalizations are difficult to express unless abstract underlying and intermediate representations are employed. One of the most common palatalizations in Polish changes /r/, /w/ and /t/ into /ʒ/, /l/ and /̑ʈɕ/ respectively. Unless some segments that do not surface in the native vocabulary of standard Polish are claimed to be involved in the relevant derivations, we face a paradox: an incoherent set of distinctive features is affected in the environment of a coherent set of affixes.2 One of the possible strategies to get round this paradox is to follow Gussmann’s (2007) assumption that palatalizations in Polish involve replacements of entire stem-final segments with their palatalized congeners rather than operations manipulating distinctive features. This article will follow such a path. According to this interpretation, palatalizations will be viewed as the translation of morpho-syntactic features into phonological segments that overwrite and replace the underlying...
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