Multiple Scansions in Loanword Phonology: Evidence from Cantonese
AffiliationUniversity of California, Los Angeles
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AbstractIn loanword phonology we seek to uncover the processes by which speakers possessing one phonological system perceive, apply native representational constraints on, and ultimately produce forms which have been generated by a different phonological system. In other words, loanwords do not come equipped with their own phonological representation. For any phonetic string, it is only native speakers for whom a fully articulated phonological structure is present. As host language speakers perceive foreign forms solely in accordance with their own phonological system, they instantiate native representations on the acoustic signal, fitting the superficial input into their own phonological system as closely as possible. Given these assumptions, it should not be surprising that despite the identity of a given acoustic signal when impinging upon the inner ear of speakers of different languages, this input may be represented, and ultimately produced in a distinct manner in each language it enters. The loanword phonology under investigation here, that of Cantonese, will be shown to possess two distinct levels. The first level of loanword phonology consists of a parsing of the input signal into unprosodized segment-sized chunks, for which native feature matrices are provided. As this level of loanword phonology is solely concerned with perceiving the input, and providing a preliminary linguistic representation, we may refer it as the Perceptual Level. It is only when full prosodic structure is supplied for the incoming form that the raw segmental material may undergo phonological processes, so that it may be realized in conformity with native prosodic constraints on syllable structure. As this stage of the loanword phonology admits the possibility of true phonological processes acting on segments, it may be regarded as the Operative Level of the loanword phonology. The processes which apply at the Operative Level of the Cantonese loanword phonology do not exist in native phonological derivations. As these operations were not acquired during the initial acquisition period, they exist in a separate domain from native phonological operations, presumably supplied by Universal Grammar. Their only property common with native phonological processes is that the same constraints exert an influence on the output of both systems. I will provide evidence for the Perceptual Level and the Operative Level of the loanword phonology by showing that loanwords undergo two distinct, ordered scansions during the course of the derivation. Scansion One will be shown to correspond to the Perceptual Level of the loanword phonology, providing raw segmental representation to incoming forms. Scansion Two will be shown to correspond to the Operative Level of the loanword phonology, providing prosodic representation which will be shown to trigger various phonological operations on the perceived segments.
Series/Report no.Arizona Phonology Conference Vol. 4