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LINGUIST List 17.13

Tue Jan 10 2006

Diss: Phonology: Cavar: 'Palatalization in Polish: A...'

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        1.    Malgorzata Cavar, Palatalization in Polish: An interaction of articulatory and perceptual factors

Message 1: Palatalization in Polish: An interaction of articulatory and perceptual factors
Date: 08-Jan-2006
From: Malgorzata Cavar <mecavarunizd.hr>
Subject: Palatalization in Polish: An interaction of articulatory and perceptual factors

Institution: University of Potsdam
Program: Graduierten Kolleg Optimalitaet und Komplexitaet in der Sprache
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Malgorzata Cavar

Dissertation Title: Palatalization in Polish: An interaction of articulatory and perceptual factors

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Subject Language(s): Polish (pol)

Dissertation Director:
Caroline Féry
Tracy Alan Hall

Dissertation Abstract:

The present dissertation studies palatalization as an effect of the
interaction of a set of articulatory and auditory factors. A functional
approach has been adopted with its basic claims that the shape of a
language is determined by two tendencies: first, to minimize the effort of
the speaker, that is, to simplify the articulation, and second, to minimize
the effort of the listener, i.e. to maximize the distinctiveness of the
units of language, cf. Passy (1891), Martinet (1955), Lindblom (1986),
Flemming (1995), Boersma (1998). The attempt was to identify different
articulatory and auditory factors in palatalization processes within the
system of one language, that is, Polish, and to offer an explanatory
account of the processes in Polish. The other goal was to offer adequate
formal means for such an analysis.

I attempt to develop a model of the interaction of articulatory and
auditory factors in phonology, to provide means for the analysis of Polish.
The constraints and (especially perceptual) features applied in the
analysis are defined and justified. Among others, arguments are offered
for the family of PreserveContrast constraints, which regulate the
preservation of the underlying contrasts in the surface representation and
are necessary in cases when surface representations are not faithful to the
underlying representations. The interactions of articulatory and auditory
constraints are discussed, and, among others, it is argued that
articulatory effects are blocked when the output would be too dissimilar in
terms of auditory features from the input (cf. e.g. Steriade, 2001). Also,
a new approach to Derived Environment is offered, where the distinction
between Derived and Non-Derived Environment can be defined in terms of
surface distributional properties of segments, without a mention of the
underlying representation. The new approach, dubbed Alternating
Environment, is more functional in the sense that it seeks explanation in
external factors, namely in general learning strategies. It is compared
with earlier OT approaches (Pater, 1999; Lubowicz, 1998) and proves to be
simpler and covers also the set of data which in other approaches would
have to be analyzed independently.

In the present study we see all palatalization effects in Polish as
resulting from just two major processes: first, perceptually-driven,
resulting from the spreading of the perceptual feature [Pal]
(Palatalization), second, the articulatory-driven requirement on the
agreement of the onset consonant with the following vowel in terms of the
tongue root position. Affrication concomitant with the change of the place
of articulation in palatalization is discussed and argued to be an
auditory-driven cue enhancement. The insertion of [j] in Labial
Palatalization is treated the same way: it is shown that j-insertion and
affrication function similarly in different dialects, and that j-insertion
fails to apply when it does not exert the desired auditory effect.

Finally, the emergence in Polish of cross-linguistically rare sounds such
as prepalatals and flat-tongue post-alveolars is discussed and ascribed to
the interaction of articulatory requirements and the need to optimize the
surface contrasts auditorily in the sense of Contrast Dispersion (Flemming,
1995). This line of reasoning explains also the irregular - from the
articulatory point of view - effects of palatalization of sonorants in Polish.

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