Spoken Morpholgy: Morpho-phonology revisited

Ingo Plag

This seminar is about the pronunciation of morphologically complex words. Traditional approaches to the role of sound structure in complex words have focused on phonologically conditioned allomorphy or morphologically conditioned segmental or prosodic alternations (such as compound stress, stress shift, stress preservation, truncation, degemination, or syllabification). Such studies have detected interesting generalizations across sets of words but also exceptions to the observed regularities, and these findings have given rise to highly influential theoretical models like Lexical Morphology and Phonology, to far-reaching assumptions about the modular organization of grammar, and have informed models of speech production. However, recent empirical work on the variability of morpho-phonological alternations and on the phonetic implementation of complex words seriously challenges established theories of morphology-phonology interaction, the common distinction between lexical and post-lexical phonology, and current theories of speech production. In this seminar we will look in detail at some pertinent such studies from my lab that deal with compound stress, homophonous suffixes, (de-)gemination of prefixes and phonetic reduction in tri-constituent compounds.

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