Abstract

Phonetic reduction is more likely when a word is predictable or recoverable independent of acoustic information. Attributing higher rates of phonetic reduction to lexical predictability has implications for subword domains. A range of historical developments in Oceanic support this position. In reduplication, where the content of the reduplicated substring is wholly predictable and recoverable from the base, the reduplicant undergoes leniting sound changes more readily than the base, and more readily than other prosodically comparable domains. Synchronic consequences of these developments challenge models associating reduplication with the emergence of unmarked structures.

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