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Unpublished Paper
Copying prosodic constituents
  • John J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Wendell Kimper, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Kevin Mullin, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

The weight of a syllable-sized reduplicant is never dependent on the syllabification of the base -- that is, no language has a reduplicative morpheme that copies a coda in [pat-pat.ka] but no coda in [pa-pa.ta]. Yet this behavior is attested in the second syllable of foot-sized reduplicants: [pa.ta-pa.ta.ka], [pa.tak-pa.tak.ta]. Why is dependence on base syllabification possible in foot-sized reduplicants, but not in syllable-sized ones?

This article provides an answer to that question in the form of a novel theory of reduplication called Serial Template Satisfaction (STS), which is situated within Harmonic Serialism (a derivational variant of Optimality Theory). In STS, a reduplicative template of type X can be filled by copying constituents of type X-1 from the base. A foot-sized reduplicant can be filled by copying syllables, but not a syllable-sized reduplicant, which must be filled by copying segments. Lacking base-reduplicant correspondence constraints, STS has no way of forcing segment copying to depend on base syllabification, so it cannot produce the unattested pattern.

This article also fleshes out STS as a general theory of reduplication that can be compared to other approaches in Optimality Theory and rule-based phonology. Phenomena discussed include reduplicant size, locality, and identity of base and reduplicant.

Publication Date
Citation Information
John J. McCarthy, Wendell Kimper and Kevin Mullin. "Copying prosodic constituents" (2010)
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