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Segmental Phonology in Optimality Theory (review)

From: Language
Volume 79, Number 4, December 2003
pp. 811-812 | 10.1353/lan.2003.0259

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BOOK NOTICES 811 tantly, L was one of the first to locate parametric variationinfunctionalmaterial,linkingbothcomposition operations and variation in the grammar to closed class elements. The preface serves to briefly outline each of L’s proposals and also puts them, quite usefully, into a ‘historical perspective’—not onlybytyingtheminwithmorerecentdevelopments inthefield(namelytheminimalistprogram,inwhose development L’s dissertation ‘played a major role’, xiv),butalsobypointingoutthattheideascontained in this book ‘warrant a renewed look by researchers in the field, for they have provocative implications for the treatment of language acquisition and the composition of phrase structure’, independent from (but certainly compatible with) minimalism. The ‘Introduction’ (1–5) provides an overview of the book’s three major themes: (i) ‘closed class elements and finiteness’, (ii) ‘the relation of stages in acquisition to levels of grammatical representation’ (2), and (iii) ‘levels or precedence relations in the grammar’ (4). Ch. 1 is ‘A re-definition of the problem’ (7–29) of how language acquisition and grammatical research ought to be connected. Chs. 2–4 deal with phrase structure issues: ‘Project-H9251, argument-linking, and telegraphic speech’ (31–90) are discussed in Ch. 2; Ch. 3 deals with ‘Adjoin-H9251 and relative clauses’ (91–144); and a discussion of ‘Agreementandmerger’(145–82)constitutesCh.4. In the final chapter, L turns to ‘The abrogation of DS functions: Dislocated constituents and indexing relations’ (183–258); this part ‘deals with the interactionofindexingfunctions,controlandbindingtheory, with levels of representation, particularly as it is displayed in the acquisition sequence’ (1). Giventhepoleposition(inbothformalapproaches tolanguageacquisitionandtherefiningofgrammaticaltheory)thatL’sdissertationhasheldsincethelate 1980s, this book is a welcome publication, finally making this fine piece of work easily accessible to a wider audience. As far as I know, this is the third volume of the World theses series originally conceivedbythenowdefunctHollandAcademicGraphics. One can only hope that John Benjamins either continuespublishingtheoriginallyselecteddissertations or starts a new series along these same lines, somethingI’msuremanyofuswouldbeveryhappy with. [KLEANTHES K. GROHMANN, University of Cyprus.] Segmentalphonologyinoptimalitytheory. Ed. by LINDA LOMBARDI. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Pp. 300. ISBN 0521790573. $65 (Hb). Thisisthefirstcollectionofacomprehensivebody of research articles in which the constraint-based framework of optimality theory (OT) begins to ‘attacktherichrangeofphenomenafoundinsegmental alternations’ (jacket inset). It contains an introduction and three sections. Section 1 is ‘The content of representations’. The question LINDA LOMBARDI poses in ‘Why place and voice are different’ addresses a ‘too-many-solutions’ problem in OT: why CODA [voice] markedness undergoes neutralization (pig → pik) but not epenthesis or deletion (*pigi, *pi) while CODA PLACE markedness DOES undergo epenthesis and deletion, in addition to debuccalization. The analysis pivots on the fact that [voice] is privative, hence its deletion from a segment is optimal, while PLACE specification is inescapable. One of the repairs to PLACE markedness rests on the proposalthat PHARYNGEAL is leastmarked, acharacterization framed, crosslinguistically, more in terms of alternationsthaninventories.CHERYL ZOLL’sarticle, ‘Constraints and representations in subsegmental phonology’, unifies the treatment of ‘floating features’ (e.g. Inor palatalization, which ‘docks’ on the rightmost noncoronal) and latent segments (e.g. the vowelinYawelmani-m(i)whichshowsuponlywith consonant-final stems) through the suggestion that the two differ only in the relative ranking of DEP(Root) (the cost associated with introducing an independentsegment)andconstraintsonsyllabification, alignment, and feature-cooccurrence. ROBERT KIRCHNER,in‘Phonologicalcontrastandarticulatory effort’, introduces the notion of minimization of effort (articulatory displacement, constriction) in the explanation of various seemingly unrelated lenition processes(spirantization,flapping,elision,[de]voicing) in Tu¨mpisa Shoshone. His representational upheaval admits the full range of nondiscrete phonetic detail into phonological representations, with contrast preservation dictating binarity and effort costs imposing additional demands on the articulatory trajectory. The strict locality hypothesis is raised by MA´IRE NI´CHIOSA´IN and JAYE PADGETT in ‘Markedness, segment realization, and spreading’, wherethey discussthe effectsof Turkishvowel harmony on putatively transparent intervening consonants. An architectural revision is proposed: GEN does not produce structures in which segments are skipped in a spreading domain. Section 2is ‘The content of constraints’. ‘Austronesian nasal substitution’, by JOE PATER, addresses the formation of nasal-obstruent clusters in Indonesian, resolvedby fusion inthe case ofvoiceless obstruents; and in Muna, where similar clusters are variablyresolvedbydeletionofeitherthenasal,obstruent, or the entire um- affix. The analysis has reasonable ingredients (aimed to replace Pater’s earlier *NC treatment): prosodic edge alignment, identity ofthefeature PHARYNGEAL EXPANSION (whichgroups nasals and voiceless obstruents to...

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