The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling Lunch 10/7 - Peter Graff

Speaker: Peter Graff (MIT)
Title: A Cross-linguistic Investigation of the OCP-Place
Time: Thursday 10/7, 12:30—1:45pm
Location: 32-D461

We expand the seminal work of Frisch et al. (2004) by presenting a large scale investigation of place-driven consonant co-occurrence restrictions (OCP-Place) in Arabic, Amharic, Aymara, Ch’ol, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Javanese, Muna, Quechua, Tagalog, Turkish and Zulu utilizing the framework of the Generalized Linear Model. We propose a constraint set that successfully accounts for OCP-Place and identity effects in all languages. A markedness-based account of the cross-linguistic dispreference for co-occurring similar consonants sharing place features and preference for co-occurring identical consonants is presented. Concretely, it will be shown that OCP-Place typology can be accounted for by a set of probabilistic constraints that penalize featural co-occurrence of similar consonant pairs according to the Similarity Metric of Natural Classes (Frisch et al., 2004) weighted depending on the major place feature they share (Similarity-LAB, Similarity-COR, Similarity-DOR; contra FBP, who propose that the relative similarity of consonants sharing different major place features follows from the organization of the consonant inventory of the language). We also show that identity effects are best accounted for by postulating a violable markedness constraint penalizing non-identical pairs of consonants (Identity; cf BeIdentical; MacEachern, 1997) but note that the domain of this constraint must crucially be restricted to the first and second position of a consonant template.