Tonal Polarity as Phonologically Conditioned Allomorphy in Munduruku

Gessiane Picanço


This paper examines tonal polarity in Munduruku, a Tupi language spoken in Brazil. Munduruku contains a set of nouns that show polarity in a particular context, but L otherwise. After examining its properties, I propose that the phenomenon is best captured in terms of phonologically conditioned allomorphy (Kiparsky 1994). My proposal asserts that Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993) can properly account for the distribution of allomorphs. I will demonstrate that selection of morpheme variants is determined by PARSE-MORPH (Akinlabi 1996), and that Alignment constraints (McCarthy & Prince 1993) and constraint conjunction (Crowhurst & Hewitt 1997) are required to ensure that allomorphs are selected according to their appropriate environments.

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