LingLunch : Benjamin Storme

Jeudi 29 Février 2024, 12:00 to 13:00
Karen De Clercq et Ira Noveck (LLF)

LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)

Benjamin Storme (Leiden University)
How phonology and morphology interact in French liaison

 French liaison is an alternation involving the use of a special consonant-final form before vowel-initial words (e.g., gran[t] ami “great friend”). Despite decades of research, it still remains an active area of research and some basic issues still remain unresolved. In this talk, I address two ongoing debates about how phonology and morphology interact in French liaison: (i) whether liaison alternations involve allophony or allomorphy and (ii) whether liaison is phonologically optimizing (i.e. whether it is a strategy to avoid a vowel hiatus). Using evidence from lexical statistics, I argue that French liaison is best analyzed as a pattern of allomorphy involving both phonological optimization (hiatus avoidance) and morphological optimization (paradigm uniformity, morpheme realization). I show how the main properties of French liaison described in the literature (e.g. phonological conditioning, morphological conditioning, lexical effects on the rate of liaison, effects of the register) can be derived in a probabilistic constraint-based grammar with both phonotactic and morphological constraints.