Learning consequences of derived-environment effects

Adam J. Chong


In constraint-based phonological models, it is hypothesized that learning phonotactics first should facilitate the learning of phonological alternations. In this paper, we investigate whether alternation learning is impeded if static phonotactic generalizations and dynamic generalizations about alternations mismatch as in derived-environment patterns. English speakers were trained on one of two artificial languages, one in which static and dynamic generalizations match (Across-the-board), the other where they did not (Derived-environment). In both languages, there was an alternation that palatalized [ti] and [di] to [ʧi] and [ʤi] respectively across a morpheme boundary. In the Across-the-board language, the constraint motivating this (*Ti) was true across-the-board, whereas words with such sequences within stems were attested in the Derived-environment language. Results indicate that alternation learning in both languages was comparable. Interestingly, learners in the Across-the-board language failed to infer the *Ti constraint despite never hearing words with such sequences in training. Overall, our results suggests that alternation learning is not hindered by a static phonotactic mismatch in this type of experimental paradigm and that learners do not readily extend a generalization about legal heteromorphemic sequences to analogous sequences within a morpheme.


Artificial language learning; phonological acquisition; derived-environment effects; phonotactics; alternations; duplication problem

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v1i0.3709

Copyright (c) 2016 Adam J. Chong

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