Hybrid Opacity in Berbice Dutch Creole

Michael Dow


Recent work on opacity calls attention to the need for a refined taxonomy (e.g. Baković 2007, 2011), though the mutual exclusivity of the two major kinds of opaque interactions, underapplication and overapplication, remains unquestioned. No interaction has, until now, been reported to display both effects for a single input to output mapping. I present one case from Berbice Dutch Creole (hereafter Berbice) where, depending on the analysis, nasal place assimilation simultaneously underapplies and overapplies, due to an interaction with consonant deletion. In this paper, I present several possible analyses of the Berbice data in rule-based serialism and Optimality Theory with Candidate Chains (McCarthy 2007) and compare the claims these frameworks make on the interaction’s classification. I also discuss the theoretical implications of hybrid opacity and how it may fit within the larger taxonomy of opacity. Finally, I lay the foundation for further work on the phenomenon by presenting a generalized template and a possible experimental design.


Opacity; Hybrid Opacity; Berbice Dutch Creole; Optimality Theory with Candidate Chains

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/amp.v1i1.28

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