LINGUIST List 14.3471

Mon Dec 15 2003

Diss: Phonology: Gouskova: 'Deriving Economy...'

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  1. gouskova, Deriving Economy

Message 1: Deriving Economy

Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 11:51:11 -0500 (EST)
From: gouskova <>
Subject: Deriving Economy

Institution: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Maria Gouskova 

Dissertation Title: Deriving Economy: Syncope in Optimality Theory

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Phonology 

Dissertation Director 1: John J McCarthy
Dissertation Director 2: John Kingston
Dissertation Director 3: Elisabeth O Selkirk
Dissertation Director 4: Joseph V Pater

Dissertation Abstract: 

This dissertation proposes that markedness constraints in Optimality
Theory are lenient: a form can be marked with respect to a constraint
only if there is another form that is unmarked. Thus, no constraint
bans the least marked thing. The central consequence of this idea is
that there are no economy constraints that penalize structure as
such. Economy effects follow from the interaction of lenient
markedness constraints. Economy constraints are shown to be not only
unnecessary but actually harmful: their very presence in CON predicts
unattested patterns that remove structure regardless of markedness.

Chapter 2 develops the theory of CON and argues that various
structural economy effects (preferences for smaller structures over
larger ones and for fewer structures over more) follow from constraint
interaction. Also addressed are economy effects that involve the
deletion of input structure, including foot-sized maximum effects in
truncation and syllable-sized and segment-sized maximum effects in
reduplication. OT's economy constraints of the *STRUC family are
argued to produce unattested patterns under re-ranking and are
excluded from CON as a matter of principle.

Chapter 3 examines metrical syncope in Hopi, Tonkawa, and Southeastern
Tepehuan. Different patterns fall out from the interaction of the same
metrical markedness constraints in language-specific rankings. All of
these constraints have other, non-economy effects--in principle, they
can be satisfied by the addition of structure as well as by removal of
structure. Metrical shortening and syncope remove marked structure,
not all structure: the well-formedness of an output is determined by
the distribution of weight in its feet and exhaustivity of footing,
not by the number of syllables, moras, and feet.

Chapter 4 examines differential syncope in Lillooet, Lushootseed, and
the Lebanese and Mekkan dialects of Arabic. Under the leniency
hypothesis, there are constraints against low-sonority syllable nuclei
and foot peaks but not high-sonority ones; likewise, there are
constraints against high-sonority foot margins but not high-sonority
vowels in general. The interaction of lenient constraints cannot
duplicate the effects of economy constraints. There are real
crosslinguistic asymmetries in attested differential syncope patterns
that can only be explained if we abandon the notion that "everything
is marked".
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