AffiliationUniversity of Arizona
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AbstractThe neutralization of the laryngeal features of a consonant that is not directly followed by a vowel is a common process cross -linguistically. Laryngeal neutralization in this position has a clear phonetic cause: laryngeal features are not salient unless they are immediately followed by a vowel. Since laryngeal neutralization has a phonetic cause, it seems reasonable to characterize it directly in phonetic terms, without positing any additional layer of phonological abstraction. However, a phonetic explanation is not sufficient to account for all cases of laryngeal neutralization. For example, in Korean, laryngeal neutralization occurs in a nonneutralizing phonetic environment; in Nisgha, laryngeal neutralization occurs only in the reduplicant, although the phonetic environment for neutralization is found in both the reduplicant and the base. Although phonetics is the major factor leading to the development of these types of restrictions on laryngeal features, I argue that a phonetic account is not adequate for all such restrictions. Abstract phonological constraints and representations are necessary. Hence, two types of neutralization are possible: (i) phonetic neutralization, which results directly from the lack of saliency of cues and occurs in every instance of the neutralizing environment; and (ii) abstract phonological neutralization, which may occur where the neutralizing environment is absent (as will be demonstrated for Korean), and may fail to occur in every instance of the neutralizing environment (as will be demonstrated for Nisgha).
Series/Report no.Arizona Phonology Conference Vol. 5
Proceedings of South Western Optimality Theory Workshop 1995