LINGUIST List 13.3174

Tue Dec 3 2002

Qs: Optimality Theory, Spread of Place Features

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  1. Dave Eberhard, optimality theory and underspecification
  2. Dave Eberhard, the link between [+hi] vowels & dorsal consonants

Message 1: optimality theory and underspecification

Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 21:55:12 +0000
From: Dave Eberhard <>
Subject: optimality theory and underspecification

Since optimality is an output oriented theory, normally no constraints
are allowed on inputs. However, I am doing research in a language in
Brazil which seems to require underspecification of place features in
order for feature spreading to be accounted for. Is underspecification
ever allowed in optimality theory? Could someone direct me to
references which deal with this question?

Thanks for any help. Please respond to my email address below: 
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Message 2: the link between [+hi] vowels & dorsal consonants

Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 22:19:57 +0000
From: Dave Eberhard <>
Subject: the link between [+hi] vowels & dorsal consonants

This question has to do with the spreading of place features from
vowels to consonants. The Mamainde language has a spreading process
where the high front vowel spreads [+hi] to the coda, creating a
Dorsal, or velar, or [+hi] place of articulation in the consonant. The
output is not a palatal consonant but a true velar. This is hard to
explain via Clement's Unified Feature Theory, or any other articulator
theory for that matter since [hi] is not available as a feature for
consonants (they allow Open at the Aperture node but this applies only
to vowels).

Has anyone done or seen any research which shows high vowels spreading
the hi feature to consonants and creating dorsals (or velars)?

please respond to: 

Subject-Language: Mamainde; Code: MBG 
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