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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 4

John Anderson 4 contrastive status. There it is suggested that syllables are represented lexically as bundles of unlinearised elements, with an interior bundle corresponding to the contents of the rhyme, which belongs within a more inclusive bundle corresponding to the contents of syllable: we thus have an inner and an outer domain within the syllable. Linearisation follows from the subsetting relation between the bundles, the relative closeness of association of the consonants with the syllable centre. I shall refer to this as a proposal for total nonsequencing at the lexical level of the elements of the syllable. We can express this (total non-sequencing) proposal as in (6), where (a) gives the lexical representation for clamp (where I have arbitrarily ordered the elements external to and internal to the inner bundle in terms of relative sonority), and where (6.b) gives the rule deriving linearity: (6) a. k,l(p,m,a) b. linearisation with respect to the syllable centre i. C(V) ⇒ C + (V) ii. C,V ⇒ V + C (6.b.i) gives the linearisations provided by invocation of (4) on the previous account, i.e. those in (5.a); and (6.b.ii) linearises with respect to the centre the elements whose sequencing had to be stipulated on that account, i.e. those in (3.b). (6) thus substitutes in the lexical entry the less specific, or complex, subsetting relation, involving relative closeness of association, for linearisation stipulations, and permits us to drop reference to (4). We return in the following subsection to motivations for the proposed subsetting relation. If something like what is embodied in (6.b) is appropriate, then contrastive linearity is restricted to the sequencing of syllable bundles. In vocation of sequencing of syllables should also remind us that we must indeed give some consideration to what happens at syllable margins, when syllables ‘collide’. But I delay consideration of this until §3, where are considered some limitations on syntax/phonology analogies; and in the course of that, as well as in the discussion in the following subsection, we shall find other roles for (4). What emerges from the present subsection is that the interface property of linearity is often not contrastive. It frequently follows in particular from relative sonority, involving contrastive categories. Sonority involves perceived inherent salience, and it is thus itself in principle another interface property, though there is some controversy over its phonetic exponence. However, there are indications in English (and more strikingly in some other languages, such as Polish) that this direct mapping from relative sonority (plus orientation towards the centre) to linearisation is insufficient as an account of syllable structure. Further structural properties are involved, further properties that partially determine linearity, and are not obviously interface properties. Let us consider these. 1.2 The limits of linearity: transitivity and adjunction We can observe firstly that the centre of the syllable qualifies as head of the syntagm, in so far as it is both necessary to and distinctive of – i.e. characteristic of – the syllable: no centre, no syllable. Headhood, in this case, correlates with the sonority peak: the centre of the syllable is associated with both properties. Headhood itself is a formal rather than an interface property; but here this formal property correlates with an interface property, the sonority peak. The centre nevertheless shows further properties we can associate with headhood rather than sonority as such – i.e. with the formal rather than the interface property.

5 Structural analogy in language, and its limits Thus, some centres in English require to be complemented; there are no lexical monosyllabic items in English of the character of (7.a): (7) a. */ba/, */be/ b. bad, bed c. /bi:/ ‘bee’, /bei/ ‘bay’ d. neon, chaos Compare the well-formed (7.b), where the centres are complemented by a consonant, and the centres illustrated by (7.c) which do not require a complement. In (7.d) the vowels of (c) are in pre-hiatus position; there are no words showing vowels of (7.b) in accented prehiatus position. We can distinguish, then, between transitive centres and intransitive, and represent this structural characteristic of the former as in (8.a): (8) a. /a/, /e/ = {|V|/{C}} b. /i:/,/ei/ = {|V|} ‘/’ indicates ‘is complemented by’. This is further behaviour we would expect of a head: potentially to be subcategorised for a complement. And the head and its complement can be interpreted as instantiating a dependency relation, which here correlates with relative sonority. We can represent this structural relationship in graph form, as in (9): (9) {|V|} : : {C} : : : : e + d Linearity here correlates with both relative sonority and dependency. However, we do not seem to need to invoke dependency in relation to the determination of sequencing as such here, given that the latter follows from relative sonority anyway, and sonority is apparently relevant elsewhere – as in the specifying of sequence between the members of consonant clusters. Thus, while complementation necessarily invokes headhood/dependency, linearity itself can be seen as following from sonority (plus orientation with respect to the centre, or subsetting). However, there are apparent anomalies in an account of syllable sequencing based on sonority alone. I am not alluding here to instances of what one can regard as ‘fine tuning’ of what is allowed by relative sonority. With respect to any language there are very many possibilities of consonant combinations which conform to the requirements of sonority sequencing but which are non-occurrent in that language. This is illustrated, as is familiar, by the English (10): (10) */kn-/, *pf-/, */-zd/, */-fp/ Such stipulations supplement but do not violate sonority sequencing requirements; they add further constraining factors. Real anomalies do arise, however, in a couple of areas in English, for example.

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