The Graduate Linguistics Student Association (GLSA) at the University of
Massachusetts, Amherst, announces the publication of a new dissertation:
The dissertation argues that markedness is lenient and relative: a form is marked only if there is another form that is unmarked. No constraints ban structure for the sake of banning structure; there are formal limits on the content of CON. The central consequence of this view is that economy constraints are excluded on principle; economy effects must instead follow from the interaction of independently motivated constraints.
While a range of economy effects is discussed, the empirical focus is on syncope. Case studies investigate syncope in Hopi, Tonkawa,
Lillooet, Lushootseed, and Lebanese and Mekkan Arabic. Deleting vowels satisfies a range of markedness constraints; moreover, the same constraints that can be satisfied by syncope can also be satisfied by other processes that may not involve removal of structure. The standard "delete-where-you-can" view of syncope is argued to be inadequate; furthermore, economy constraints can actually be harmful if admitted into the grammar.