The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 3/31: Gillian Gallagher

Phonology Circle returns this week with a presentation will be by Gillian Gallagher
Title: Identity and laryngeal phonotactics
Time: Mon Mar 31, 5pm, 32-D831

In this talk, I look at phonotactic restrictions on the cooccurrence of laryngeal features (aspiration, ejection and implosion). Many languages disallow roots or words with two distinct consonants with the same laryngeal feature, *k’-t’. Some languages with this restriction also disallow identical consonants with the same laryngeal feature *k’-k’, while other languages allow identical consonants, k’-k’. I show that the (un)grammaticality of identical consonants sharing a laryngeal feature (k’-k’) correlates with the (un)grammaticality of consonants differing only in that laryngeal feature (k’-k). In all the languages in MacEachern’s (1999) survey, one of these forms is ungrammatical and one grammatical. The trading relationship is shown in (1).
  1. k’-k’ <—> *k’-k
    *k’-k’ <—> k’-k
I argue that the pattern in (1) results from the interaction of phonotactic constraints with *two* kinds of laryngeal faithfulness constraints: faithfulness to individual features (standard Ident[F] constraints) and faithfulness to word level laryngeal contrasts (this is a new idea).