Alternatives to Stricture-Driven Assimilation

Jason Brown


Sequences of nasals followed by fricatives have proven to be a special case of marked structures, triggering repairs that are not enforced with other sequences, such as nasals followed by stops.  Most analyses of nasal+fricative sequences assume stops and nasals share the value [-cont], and nasals and fricatives are mismatched for the value of the feature.  This mismatch is thought to be the source of the markedness of this configuration.  This short paper engages the possibility that nasals in some languages have the opposite value for the feature continuant, which predicts that they are in conflict with the value for stops in these languages.  The further prediction is that in these languages, fricatives should exhibit assimilation, but stops will trigger other repairs.  A case study from Finnish indicates that this is not the case: as normally happens, stops undergo place assimilation, but fricatives either resist assimilation, or undergo other repairs.



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Copyright (c) 2017 Jason Brown