Naomi Nagy

Linguistics at U of T

OT and Variable Word-Final Deletion in Faetar
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Optimality Theory and Variable Word-Final Deletion in Faetar

In this paper, we provide a model which accounts for the rates of intraspeaker variation in pronunciation of a number of words in a little studied language: Faetar, a branch of Francoproven├žal spoken in two farming villages in southern Italy. In Faetar, there is a phonological pattern of variable "deletion" at the end of the word: words are often produced without the final segment (V or C), final syllable, or more. This type of problem requires an analysis which not only accounts for the types of variation which occurs, but also accounts for the frequency of each form. We propose to do this by enhancing Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993; McCarthy and Prince 1993a, b; inter alia) with one new aspect: Floating Constraints (as developed in Reynolds (1994) . In the revised OT, the constraints do not fall into a single fixed ranking. Rather, there are "normal" anchored constraints and Floating Constraints, which are ranked within a particular range in the hierarchy, rather than always occupying one fixed position.

Paper appearing in:
Language Variation and Change 9.2, co-authored with Bill Reynolds.

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