Word and syllable constraints in Indonesian adaptation: OT analysis

Saleh Batais, Caroline Wiltshire


Using original data of syllabic adaptations of borrowed words produced by 24 native speakers of Indonesian, we find both deletion and epenthesis to resolve word-final clusters, while word-initial clusters sometimes have epenthesis and sometimes are tolerated intact.  We show that the adaptations of Arabic and Dutch loanwords obey an Indonesian limit on complex codas, and furthermore reveal two subtle constraints: bisyllabic minimal word size and falling sonority across syllable boundaries. By showing that distinct adaptations are conditioned by the same markedness constraints, the OT analysis corroborates a view of borrowing as a phonological, rather than purely phonetic, process.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.2998