The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 12/10 - Suyeon Yun

Speaker: Suyeon Yun
Title: Optionality and Gradience in Compensatory Lengthening: Case Studies and Theoretical Implications
Date/Time: Monday, Dec 10, 5pm
Location: 32-D831

This study investigates the scalar nature of compensatory lengthening, which has traditionally been treated as a categorical phenomenon (Hayes 1989, Kavitskaya 2002, Yun 2010, among others). Based on case studies from Farsi and Turkish, I show that compensatory lengthening can take place in a systematically gradient fashion, and argue that this gradient occurrence of compensatory lengthening serves as evidence that speakers’ knowledge of duration preservation is active in synchronic grammar (cf. Hayes and Steriade 2004), not originating from “innocent misapprehension” (Ohala 1981, Blevins 2004). The gradient compensatory lengthening will be formulated within a weighted-constraint model (Flemming 2001). Also, I seek to account for the categorical and obligatory occurrence of compensatory lengthening as well as gradient and optional ones in a unified way based on phonetic characteristics of the consonants involved.