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Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

Structural analogy in language and its limits [Contrast and analogy v.2]

John Anderson 46 based

John Anderson 46 based on loss in a few items of the environment (associated with the traditional ‘soundchange’ of ‘first fronting’) that conditions their relative distribution (Colman 1983). But the vowel spelled æ when un-umlauted is usually reconstructed as providing a distinct input to i-umlaut in forms like (99.c) (Hogg 1992: §5.80). The underspecified representations of (101.a) are filled out by the redundancies of (102): (102) a. {V{i/u, }} ⇒ {V{i/u; }} b. {V{ , }} ⇒ {V{ ;i}} c. {V{ }} ⇒ {V{a}} Application of (102), intrinsically ordered in terms of increasing generality, so that (102.c) fills in any underspecification left by (102.a-b), gives us the specifications in (103): (103) a. {i, } ⇒ {i; } ⇒ {i;a} ‘e’ b. {u, } ⇒ {u;} ⇒ {u;a} ‘o’ c. { , } ⇒ { ;i} ⇒ {a;i} ‘æ’ d. { } ⇒ {a} ‘a’ This fills out all the values for the pre-umlaut system of (101). Application of (100) gives (104) as representations: (104) a. {i}…{u}, spelled ‘y’ b. {i}…{u, } ⇒ {u,a} (by (99.d)) – i.e. {i}….. {u,a}, ‘oe’/’e’ c. {i}…{ } ⇒ {a} (by (99.d)) – i.e. {i}….. {a}, ‘æ’ d. {i}…{ , } ⇒ { ;i} (by (99.b)) ⇒ {a;i} (by (99.d)) – i.e. {i}….. {a;i}, ‘e’ Interpretation and exponence of (104.a-b) are straightforward, conventionally representable as [y] and [ø] respectively; cf. e.g. the grave + acute vowels in (73). (104.d) has somewhat more i than (c); so that, in terms of proportions of i and a, we can say: (105) (100.d) : (100.c) :: (99.b) : (99.a) Thus, both (104.d) and (103.b) are spelled e, and (104.c) and (103.a) are spelled æ: (106) a. cwellan ‘to-kill’ (104.d); cweþan ‘to-say’ (103.b) b. færþ ‘goes’ (104.c); sæt ‘sat’ (103.a) Such would be an interpretation of the usual assumptions about the (short-monophthong) inputs and outputs to i-umlaut. I have ignored various complexities of interpretation, however, even as regards the ‘short’ vowel system (for some discussion and references see Anderson forthcoming). But the general shape of this is not unfamiliar in phonology. Analogous phenomena in syntax are not difficult to find. The same pattern characterises agreement phenomena, a simple instance of which is provided by Hungarian specificity agreement, whereby the specificity of the ‘direct object’ is reflected in the shape of the verb, as exemplified by (107): (107) a. Kér jegyet He-is-asking-for (a) ticket

47 Structural analogy in language, and its limits b. Kéri a jegyet He-is-asking-for the ticket The verb form in (107.b) agrees with the specificity of the complement, as formulated in (108): (108) : : {P;N\{N}} : : : {spec}({N} : : : : {N;P}) : : : : : : kéri a jegyet {spec} is a (N}-phrasal feature that comes to be associated with the verbal head. Of course, many agreement systems involve more dimensions than this (person, number, gender etc. – see again Anderson 1985: §2.2.3), but the same kind of configuration is involved in the ‘spreading’. 2.5 Underspecification and polysystemicity The notion of underspecification invoked in the preceding illustrations may itself introduce another set of analogies. We have appealed to system-dependent underspecification with respect to the representation of both primary and secondary categories, so that, for instance onset-s in English is unspecified in both respects (recall §1.3), and this is systemdependent. And there seems to be great variation in the character of the non-specification to be attributed to different vowel-systems. It may be too that there are systemindependent non-specifications of secondary categories, though the identification of these is controversial. It has been suggested, for instance, that non-specification of coronal among consonants may be general (see e.g. the contribution to Paradis & Prunet 1991). 28 On the other hand, it has been argued elsewhere (e.g. in Lass 1976: ch.6, 1984: §8.3.1) that glottal consonants may be generally unspecified as to (in our terms) secondary category, and this has some basis in exponence. There remain unresolved issues in this area. Nevertheless, it is possible that the secondary categories of the phonology manifest both system-dependent and general non-specification. We find parallels to both of these in the representation of secondary syntactic categories. This may be illustrated by a comparison of (the interpretation of) the Greek sentences in (109) with their English glosses; we are concerned with the representation of aspectual distinctions, particularly as expressed by the underlined verb forms: (109) a. Otan imun stinina evlepa sixna tin Eleni when I-was in-the Athens I-saw often the Eleni b. Milusa sto Niko otan akuse to kuδuni na xtipai I-was-speaking to-the Nick when he-heard the door-ball that it-rings

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