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Academic Paper


Title: One mark per word? Some patterns of dissimilation in Austronesian and Australian languages
Author: Robert A Blust
Institution: University of Hawaii
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Abstract: Adequately accounting for patterns of dissimilation has challenged more than one linguistic theory. This paper brings together evidence for certain recurrent patterns of dissimilation in Austronesian and Australian languages. It does not claim to have found a definitive solution to why these patterns occur, but it does provide indications that avoidance of multiple markedness may be causally implicated. Although the emphasis is different, the proposal offered here thus has fundamental similarities with Alderete (1997) in arguing that where it applies to dissimilation the Obligatory Contour Principle is inseparably connected with marked elements. Its primary contributions are to provide further empirical support for this claim that may not be readily accessible to non-specialists, to generalise the claim to a larger class of data, to suggest that the explanation for such patterns may be cognitive rather than phonetic and particularly to draw attention to conditions under which markedness-triggered dissimilation is suppressed.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 29, Issue 3.

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