This book examines the phonological behaviour of glides in Russian from the
perspective of Optimality Theory (OT). The goal of the study is twofold.
First, it addresses descriptive issues in the phonology of Russian which
have not been discussed in the generative literature to date. Second, the
data are analysed in the OT framework. On the one hand, it is argued that
OT offers new insights into the phenomena concerning the phonological
properties of the Russian v, which derives from the underlying back glide.
On the other hand, the investigation of various processes associated with
the occurrence of the front glide j reveals that standard OT cannot produce
an adequate analysis of a large body of data. The problem stems from the
fact that in most cases, the trigger of the process is not present on the
surface. As is well known, opaque generalisations cannot be handled within
standard OT, which evaluates output forms using one set of ranked
constraints. This study argues that a modified version of OT, Derivational
Optimality Theory, can successfully analyse the phenomena under consideration.
The first chapter offers an overview of the basic theoretical assumptions
and presents descriptive generalisations that are relevant to the ensuing
discussion. Chapter two is centred around issues connected with the
distribution of high vowels and the corresponding glides in Russian.
Specifically, it discovers a generalization that the systematic occurrences
of the Cj sequences are conditioned by the presence of an alternating
vowel. Chapter three discusses opaque generalisations that result from the
interaction of Glide Deletion with other phonological processes, such as
Vowel Reduction, Fronting and Retraction. The analysis proposed here
strengthens the conclusion from the preceding chapter that OT evaluation
must be carried out at different levels. Additionally, this chapter
proposes a novel analysis of Vowel Reduction, which assumes that the
raising of non-high vowels taking place after palatalised consonants is
best analysed as assimilation in height. The final chapter offers an
alternative OT analysis of the ambiguous behaviour of the labial continuant
v in Russian. It is argued that v is represented as the glide //w// in the
underlying representation and that the indeterminate sonorant/obstruent
behaviour of v is derived from the interplay of independent constraints.