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Contribution to Book
Opacity and ordering
The Handbook of Phonological Theory (2011)
  • Eric Baković, University of California, San Diego
Few notions in phonological theory have received as much attention in the literature as opacity. In the almost 40 years since Kiparsky (1971, 1976) offered his now standard definition, the bulk of the attention paid to opacity has been relatively recent and has been fueled by the field's massive (but incomplete) shift from the rule-based serialism framework of The Sound Pattern of English (Chomsky and Halle 1968) to the constraint-based parallelism framework of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993). If there's only one thing that phonologists have learned from Kiparsky's work on the subject of opacity, it is to equate it with two rule-ordering relationships, counterfeeding and counterbleeding. My aim here is to demonstrate that these equations are falsified in both directions: that not all cases of opacity result from counterfeeding or counterbleeding and that not all cases of counterfeeding or counterbleeding result in opacity. This demonstration reveals a very different, more complex, and more complete picture of what opacity is than previously conceived. This is a significant result because opacity's original raison d'être is Kiparsky's claim that an opaque rule is difficult to learn. This claim is meaningful and testable only insofar as we have a clear understanding of what is and what is not an instance of an opaque rule, and what an account of such an instance in turn should look like.
Publication Date
John Goldsmith, Jason Riggle, and Alan Yu
Citation Information
Eric Baković. "Opacity and ordering" 2ndMalden, MAThe Handbook of Phonological Theory (2011)
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