Southern Pomo syncope is metrically conditioned: Metrical opacity and stratal derivation

Max J. Kaplan


Southern Pomo displays a process of rhythmic vowel deletion that appears to be sensitive to a metrical structure that is incompatible with surface stress, and is thus metrically opaque. This pattern implicates a metrical reversal, which is best accounted for by re-ranking constraints at different derivational stages in Stratal OT. The first stratum defines weak positions by building structure from left to right, while the second stratum deletes vowels in those weak positions and reassigns prominence from right to left. Some prior work has asserted that stratal models of rhythmic phonotactics overgenerate, making typologically strange predictions. This literature has argued that cases like Southern Pomo should instead be analyzed in surface-oriented, parallel systems. This paper demonstrates that Southern Pomo syncope cannot be generated in parallel, nor in derivational frameworks that are more restrictive, i.e. Harmonic Serialism. This work suggests strata are necessary, with further evidence coming from phrasal and word-internal processes, and diachronic change.


syncope; metrical phonology; metrical opacity; Stratal OT; Southern Pomo

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