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Review of  Living on the Edge

Reviewer: Markus Alexander Pöchtrager
Book Title: Living on the Edge
Book Author: Stefan Ploch
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Book Announcement: 15.3517

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Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 20:18:32 +0100 (MEZ)
From: Markus Poechtrager <>
Subject: Living on the Edge: 28 Papers in Honour of Jonathan Kaye

EDITOR: Stefan Ploch
TITLE: Living on the Edge
SUBTITLE: 28 Papers in Honour of Jonathan Kaye
SERIES: Studies in Generative Grammar 62
PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter
YEAR: 2003

Markus A. Pöchtrager, University of Vienna.


This book is a collection of 28 papers to honour Jonathan Kaye's
contribution to phonology. Jonathan Kaye is one of the founding fathers of
Government Phonology, and accordingly, the majority of the papers deal
with issues pertinent to that particular framework. That is why the book
will be an indispensable collection of material for anyone with a serious
interest in state of the art Government Phonology. The ideas discussed
tackle basically every aspect of the theory: government and licensing
relationships, empty nuclei, constituent structure, element theory,
interfaces with other components etc. The individual articles cover a wide
range of languages and offer interesting solutions to many issues that
have been problematic so far.

The book is introduced by a very personal section, where three of the
contributors recount their own experiences with Jonathan Kaye, both as a
researcher and as a person.

The remainder of the book is divided into three parts: 1. General issues
(Acquisition, Computation, The organisation of grammar, Philosophy of
science and metatheory), 2. Elements: segmental structure and processes,
3. Structure (Branching onsets, "Codas", Empty categories, "Syllabic
consonants", Templates and morphology, Metrical structure).


"Meno's paradox and the acquisition of grammar" B. Elan Dresher (pp 7--27)
This article provides a concise introduction to the problems of language
acquisition. Plato's problem (i.e. the paradox that linguistic competence
of humans by far exceeds what they possibly could have extracted from the
data they have been exposed to) serves as the starting point, followed by
a discussion of the principles and parameters model and the difficulties
associated with parameter setting: Far from being a trivial issue, the
relation between a certain parameter setting and the effects it has might
be rather indirect, due to the fact that parameters interact with each
other. Thus, a learner with an incorrectly set parameter might know that
there is something wrong, but s/he might not be able to identify the
source of the problem, i.e. which parameter out of quite a number is to be
changed (credit problem). Furthermore, parameters are usually stated in
abstract terms and involve abstract concepts such as heads, anaphors etc.
A learner might initially not be able to identify these categories in the
input, which makes the correct setting a non-trivial task (epistemological

Dresher then goes on to discuss three competing learning models for
parameter setting. Model #1 is cue-based learning (Dresher & Kaye 1990).
Children not only have an innate knowledge of UG principles and paramters,
but also a kind of road map to guide them. The proposal is that each
parameter has a reliable cue associated with it, which helps the learner
in making the right choice. In addition to that, learning proceeds along a
certain pre-specified path, i.e. parameter #2 can only be set after
parameter #1 etc. Dresher exemplifies this by sketching out a possible
learning path for the acquisition of stress, along with the relevant
parameters and their cues. Opposed to this is model #2, the triggering
learning algorithm (Gibson & Wexler 1994). This is basically a trial-and-
error model. The learner tries to parse incoming data; if s/he succeeds,
the parameter settings stay unchanged. If the data cannot be parsed, one
parameter setting will be arbitrarily changed and the sentence
reprocessed. Upon success, the change will be adopted; upon failure, the
original setting is retained. Dresher points out that such a model suffers
from serious deficiencies: learners might get stuck without a chance of
escape, they might thrash around indefinitely, the sequence of learning is
entirely accidental, at an early stage of acquisition it might be
impossible to match the input perfectly and the learning process could not
get off ground. Model #3 does not fare any better: the genetic algorithm
model (Clark & Roberts 1993) suggests that learners simultaneously hold a
number of competing hypothesis, each one of which is exposed to data and
assessed for how well they did. The fittest hypothesis is retained, the
others dropped. This, however, requires both an accurate fitness measure
and that the relation between parameter and effect be relatively direct ---
and none of the two requirements can be fulfilled.

To sum up, model #1 seems by far the most promising candidate to explain
language acquisition.

"On the logical order of development in acquiring prosodic structure"
Nancy A. Ritter (pp 29--54)
Research into language acquisition is usually driven bei either one of the
following hypotheses: (1) children have an innate disposition to acquire
language, they have a UG which is a tailor-made acquisition device for
language. (2) Children acquire language with the help of more general
cognitive abilities. Ritter argues that both of these hypotheses have to
be adopted. Certain general types of principles such as salience/dominance
or locality have a role to play in UG, but they also occur in different
instantiations in other components. It is claimed that children at an
early stage do not base their production on correct adult forms which they
have somehow acquired, but rather that children actively construct
phonological representations, which come closer to the adult form as the
childrens' phonological competence evolves. The prosodic development,
which can already be seen to arise at the prelinguistic stage, is the
rudimentary construction of phonological competence.

The article is couched within Head-Driven Phonology (van der Hulst &
Ritter 1998), whose central tenets are the head/dependency principle
(saliency is translated into the notion "head") and the binarity principle
(heads and the material around them are grouped in a binary fashion);
along with three kinds of licensing relations: structural licensing
(responsible for hierarchical structure), paradigmatic licensing
(determining the contrasts allowed for in a certain position) and
syntagmatic-content licensing (the material in a certain position
influences the material in an adjacent position).

After having sketched the central assumptions of the theory, Ritter walks
us through the various stages of prosodic development and demonstrates how
they follow from the evolution of the computational system. The first step
is the recognition of a head in the shape of a highly salient part of the
utterance, typically the (stressed) vowel, which falls under the
paradigmatic licensing relation. The next step, viz. the emergence of CV
syllables, is a manifestation of a syntagmatic-content licensing relation:
the vocalic head requires that the object preceding it contain stricture.
Structural licensing, the third kind of licensing countenanced by the
theory, can be seen at work at the next stage, i.e. the reduplication
phase: This reflects binary grouping of vocalic units (and their
consonantal dependents) into binary feet. From there, various others
phases can be accounted for by repetition of the relevant types of
licensing at various higher levels.

At a certain age (around 3;0) children become aware of onsets as units
autonomous from nuclear heads. In other words, after the possibilities of
licensing become exhausted at the vocalic plane, the child moves on to the
consonantal plane: by paradigmatic licensing onsets can be recognised as
independent units and further application of the other types of licensing
yields branching onsets as well as coda-onset structures.

To sum up, the prosodic development can satisfyingly be shown to follow
from the three different kinds of licensing.

"On the computability of certain derivations in Government Phonology"
Geoff Williams (pp 55--74)
Williams' article is about the search for a model of phonology which both
makes strong empirical claims and is adequately formally constrained.
Government Phonology is characterised by its avoidance of arbitrariness in
analysis and by its restrictiveness. However, much of the theory is
expressed in relatively informal terms, which has also provoked the
criticism from proponents of the declarative approach.

By stating grammatical regularities in terms of well-formedness conditions
on surface forms, the declarative approach is guaranteed to do without
derivations and to be computationally tractable. Yet, the empirical
content of this theory, particularly as compared to Government Phonology,
is rather poor. Williams sets out to show that for Government Phonology,
too, a formal basis for tractability can be established. In order to do
this, the basics of complexity theory and also its application to
linguistic theories are sketched out. Ristad (1990) and Berwick (1991)
performed a complexity analysis of the autosegmental framework whose
results were rather daunting: The autosegmental approach is
computationally intractable. However, this is due to theoretical
mechanisms such as lexical underspecification and the lack of constituent
structure being encoded in lexical entries. Crucially, Government
Phonology is different in that respect (there is no underspecification and
constituent structure is encoded with lexical entries) and thus tractable.
Williams demonstrates this with the example of Turkish vowel harmony and
comes to the conclusion that "certain substantive constraints and
principles of Government Phonology do indeed have formal constraining

"Structure paradoxes in phonology" Harry van der Hulst (pp 75--93)
This article argues for the coexistence of two kinds of phonological
structure, a lexical one and a post-lexical one. While it is usually
assumed that one is built on top of the other, van der Hulst proposes that
both of them should be allowed for simultaneously in order to cope with
phonological structure paradoxes. He calls this the Duality Hypothesis.
Evidence for such a distinction comes from various phonological phenomena:
onset/rhyme theories of the syllable argue that the syllable node (if
assumed at all) branches into an onset and a rhyme (nucleus plus coda) as
immediate constituents. Moraic models, however, put onset and nucleus
under one mora and the coda under another one. These two tree structures
are incompatible, which ceases to be a problem as soon as parallel
structures are allowed for. A similar argument can be made for stress
facts. Evidence from Dutch word stress shows that ambisyllabic consonants
make the preceding syllable heavy, i.e. lexically they should be
represented as geminates or codas only. Postlexically, however, all we see
is single consonants which belong to both syllables. This discrepancy can
be accommodated if the structures are allowed to coexist. Another point
can be made for French, which lacks lexical accent but has phrasal, i.e.
postlexical accentuation. On yet a higher level, we can distinguish
between a lexical phonotactic word (phonotactically unanalysable) and a
postlexical prosodic word (including for example level II affixes).

Without allowing for two parallel and coexisting structures numerous
adjustments and destructive operations are required for phonological
structure. It is an advantage of van der Hulst's approach that this can be
avoided. However, it remains to be seen if the loss of restrictiveness
such a proposal causes is counterbalanced by an increase of insight into
phonological structure, as the author himself notes.

"An x-bar theory of Government Phonology" John R. Rennison and Friedrich
Neubarth (pp 95--130)
This article is an outline of a heavily modified version of Government
Phonology. Like with many other "schools" of that theory, the CV pair is
stipulated to be the sole building block of syllable structure. In stark
contrast to strict CV (Lowenstamm 1996), however, the labels C and V are
only derived: a skeletal point (the head or "V") combines with another
skeletal to its left ("C") and by projection of the head they both form a
branching structure termed "syll". It is at this projectional level that
sylls are linked to form a phonological string. Along with syllable
structure, also the theory of elements is redefined; the authors assume I,
U, R, H, L and a functional element F which assumes various roles
(of "old" elements) according to its position in a phonological expression
and the association to the head or non-head portion of a syll. The authors
further discuss so-called "lazy" elements, i.e. they propose that a
phonological expression can contain elements that lag behind in their
phonetic realisation, thus creating the effects of both traditional
countour segments as well as branching onsets. A corollary of this rather
major change in the theory of melody is the split between the internal
make-up of phonological expressions and their "strength" in governing
relationships. While in Standard Government Phonology the governing
ability can be directly calculated from the number of elements, Rennison &
Neubarth attribute a certain value to each element and thus a look-up
table has to be consulted in order to verify whether governing can obtain
between two sylls. The paper concludes with some exemplary representations
of German and English word forms and also hints at a possible extension of
the theory in order to include higher prosodic structures.

"Meta-phonological speculations" Sean Jensen (pp 131--148)
This article questions two commonly held assumptions of phonological
theory, viz. the Grammaticality Hypothesis and the principle of
Attestation (any word can become attested for a speaker, i.e. "mean
something"). Jensen's claim is that any theory which countenances both of
these assumptions is untestable and therefore problematic. He demonstrates
that the theory of attestation and the theory of grammaticality are in
fact the same, and thus we are faced with the dilemma that statements of
grammaticality are both false and untestable. The only way out, so Jensen,
would seem to be denying the possibility of letting new phonological forms
into our grammar. But this amounts to saying that there could be no such
thing as loan words; certain forms in certain languages could never become
part of the system.

We are thus forced to find a more interesting theory of grammar that can
mimick the effects of grammaticality judgements. Jensen introduces
affiliation as the central concept, i.e. intuitions whether certain forms
belong to a language, as information about forms instead of a system
defining licit and illicit structures. He goes on to sketch out a possible
model of evaluating distances between phonological structures, by way of
which average phonological forms can be calculated, i.e. barycentres.
The "mass" an individual phonological form has is defined via the
morphosyntactic meaning assigned to it, and from this one can calculate
the exact location of the barycentre. The distance between a given
phonological form and the barycentre is then a means to establish
how "typical" (or: how close to grammaticality) the phonological form is
in a particular linguistic system.

"Metatheoretical problems in phonology with Occam's Razor and non-ad-hoc-
ness" Stefan Ploch (pp 149--201)
Ploch's contribution to the volume is an elaborate argument against
certain popular but flawed and untestable versions of simplicity and non-
arbitrariness. He suggests to let go of both of them and to exclusively
use Popper's criterion of testability instead, from which more scientific
versions of simplicity and non-arbitrariness will follow automatically.

In order to demonstrate his point, Ploch compares a number of phonological
theories and evaluates how they fare with respect to scientificness. The
comparison between Standard Government Phonology (which allows for
branching constituents) and Strict CV Phonology (which does not) starts
off with the representation of a word such as English "brand". While the
Standard Theory has one empty nucleus (i.e. domain-finally), Strict CV has
to posit three of them (finally, between "b" and "r" and between "n"
and "d"). In this way, Strict CV can get rid of branching, but only at the
cost of stipulating additional empty categories which cannot be tested.
The only way to know that they are where they are is because the theory
stipulates them. In other words, such an empty nucleus cannot be observed
and is thus unfalsifiable. Ploch goes to great length to demonstrate that
any additional argument to defend the proliferation of empty nuclei runs
into similar problems, i.e. it cannot be tested. While this leads him to
discard Strict CV as less scientific, he takes the argument even further
and proposes that the Standard Theory, too, get rid of any empty nuclei it
allows for. The comparison Strict CV/Standard Theory does not end here,
though. In addition to the problem of empty nuclei, the author also
discusses whether Strict CV really has gotten rid of branching, as is
usually claimed. As he points out, branching is not basic but really an
instance of licensing, which Strict CV also has to allow for. In other
words, the alleged simplification, as Ploch claims, is only imaginary.
This also drives one crucial point home: representations can only be
evaluated in their propositional content, not their definitions.

Next, Ploch turns to arbitrariness, for which the Phonetic Hypothesis is a
classic example, i.e. the assumption that phonology is grounded in, or
driven by, phonetics. Consider a change such as kt > tt (e.g. Latin doctor
> Italian dottore). If one wants to claim that this is due to ease of
articulation, then why did Classical Arabic kataba go to ktIb in Moroccan
Arabic? Clearly, one needs an opposing force to ease of articulation in
order to accomplish this. However, as soon as we allow for opposing forces
that can be applied rather flexibly (whenever there seems to be need for
them), we lose any hope of testability. Similar points can be made for
Lexical Phonology or Optimality Theory: In a Lexical Phonology analysis of
English, one could say that velar softening applies in
electric/electricity, but not in kick/kicking (*kissing) because the
marker -ing is added at a later stratum than -ity. If we restrict velar
softening to the earlier stratum, it will no longer be active when -ing is
added and the correct result can be derived. However, there is no way of
falsifying this: we can conveniently place velar softening and certain
suffixes in any stratum we like, depending on whether /k/ goes to /s/ or
not. Similar problems hold for Optimality Theory, where the very
innovation of violable constraints guarantees untestability. Constraints
can be ranked in any order, so if we do not see any effects of a certain
constraint, we can just assume it is ranked very low and thus has no
consequences. (Not to mention that there is no limit to what qualifies as
an OT constraint -- since any constraint can be violated, there seems to
be no a priori reason to disallow any kind of constraint.)

To sum up, Ploch's article is a vigorous plea for more testability and
scientificness in the formulation of linguistic theories. Phonology, as
the author claims, "could finally leave its pre- or pseudoscientific
period and enter an age of enlightenment long overdue."

"Eerati tone: towards a tonal dialectology of Emakhuwa" Farida Cassimjee
and Charles W. Kisseberth (pp 203--222)
This article is a sketch of the tonal system of Eerati, a dialect of the
Bantu language Emakhuwa. Emakhuwa has a highly predictable tonal system
where there is no distinction in the tonal patterns of stems, but there
exists grammatical tone. The dialects fall into two main groups, the
doubling and the non-doubling group. A non-doubling dialect is one where a
tone is realised on the mora it is underlyingly specified for. In a
doubling dialect, on the other hand, a tone is realised not only on
its "own" mora, the so-called sponsor, but also on the one following it.
Eerati belongs to this latter group.

Cassimjee & Kisseberth offer an account of the facts of Eerati tone in
their own version of Optimality Theory: Optimal Domains Theory. Whilst
standard OT believes in the appropriateness of autosegmental
representations, which to the authors is "intimately tied up to the
notions of both underspecification and derivation", Optimal Domains Theory
takes a different angle: a feature specification F is only realised iff it
is located on a segment in an F-domain. Such F-domains are construed as
entirely parallel to other units of phonological structure. After laying
out some basic constraints responsible for tonal patterns and discussing
an another doubling dialect, Ikorovere, the stage is set for Eerati.
Ikorovere was a "well-behaved" doubling dialect, where the high tone is
realised on its sponsor and the following mora. Eerati patterns similarly
in many cases, but there remains a substantive amount of forms where the
tone is realised exclusively on the mora following the sponsor. Cassimjee
& Kisseberth propose a constraint ranking to account for these facts and
discuss some additional constraints needed. The data from Eerati might
make the dialect look like a tone shifting one, but Optimal Domains Theory
allows for working out the parallels with Ikorovere and for classifying
Eerati as doubling, too.

"Government Phonology and the vowel harmonies of Natal Portuguese and
Yoruba" Margaret Cobb (pp 223--242)
Cobb's article provides a reanalysis of vowel harmony in Natal (Brazilian)
Portuguese and Yoruba. Both systems have been dealt with in the framework
of Government Phonology before, but since the theory of elements has been
changed massively in the meantime, a fresh look at the facts is called
for. Both languages have a seven-vowel system (i e E a O o u) and in both
cases it is E and O which undergo vowel harmony.

Earlier analyses argued for ATR-spreading across an A-bridge, i.e. the
element ATR would spread provided that both the source and the target
contained an A. This begs the obvious question why there should be such an
intimate relationship between ATR and A, i.e. why does the spreading
potential of ATR depend on A? Furthermore, in revised Government
Phonology the element ATR has been done away with, i.e. the proposal is
not expressible in those terms any longer. The property of ATR is nowadays
represented by the presence or absence of a head in a phonological
expression. Headedness, however, is an attribute which can be transmitted
to a preceding phonological expression in a principled fashion (head-
licensing). Cobb shows how the facts of Natal follow from this mechanism
of head-licensing in a very simple and elegant way. In Natal, for example,
E/O are harmonised to e/o before e/o because the triggers are headed and
pass on this property to E/O which thus go to e/o. However, the correct
characterisation of the phenomenon requires a certain fine-tuning of head-
licensing. Cobb demonstrates that, like other types of government, head-
licensing can parametrically be subject to the Complexity Condition. The
effects of this vary: in Natal, the head-licensor has to be more complex
than the licensee, "superfluous" elements in the licensee are delinked. In
Yoruba, on the other hand, only complex expressions are possible
governors. Analysing vowel harmony in terms of head-licensing predicts
that there are in fact two kinds of [e] and [o]. One kind is lexically
generated and the other one derived from E/O via head-licensing. In other
words, we should expect to find e/o before headless expressions, too. As
Cobb shows, this prediction is borne out by the facts.

"Palatalisation in Brazilian Portuguese" Thais da Cristófaro-Silva (pp
This article discusses various aspects of the palatalisation of /t/
and /d/ in a number of Brazilian Portuguese dialects. Palatalisation is
seen as spreading of the I-element. The author shows convincingly how
spreading occurs within indepently defined licensing domains only.
Dialectal variation follows from minimally different conditions on the
kind of licensing domain involved: In certain dialects spreading of the I-
element can only occur with nuclear licensor, in other dialects any
licensor will do. The paper also shows how palatalisation interacts with
other processes of the language such as onset simplification, which
accounts for the apparent "blocking" of spreading.

"Two notes on laryngeal licensing" Michael Kenstowicz, Mahasen Abu-
Mansour and Miklós Törkenczy (pp 259--282)
The authors build upon Lombardi's typology of voicing assimilation and
neutralisation, which emerges as a consequence of the ranking of several
constraints: Positional Faithfulness (identity of a tautosyllabic
presonorant obstruent in input and output), Context-free Faithfulness
([voice] remains the same in input and output), Markedness (*[voice]in
obstruents) and Uniformity (obstruent clusters agree in voicing). This
also allows for a differentiation between final devoicing and regressive

However, this approach runs into problems with Hungarian. Hungarian has no
final devoicing but regressive voicing assimilation in clusters, both
medially and finally. Since word-final consonants exclusively go into the
coda, the special status of onset positions (i.e. that they license a
voicing distinction) cannot be made use of and the constraint *[voice]
should determine the outcome of word-final clusters, i.e. we should expect
only voiceless obstruents clusters finally. This is contrary to the facts.

The authors propose that Lombardi's Onset Licensing rather be seen as
subcase of a more general notion of phonological/phonetic salience of
which the privileged status of onsets ist just one manifestation.
Hungarian stops in prepausal position are saliently released, which is an
important parsing cue. Hungarian voicing can thus be better analysed by
the phonetically motivated Laryngeal Licensing Constraint "The feature
[voice] is licensed in contexts of salient release." In other words,
prepausal position can license voicing contrasts in the same way as onsets
can. As a further positive consequence, this constraint also turns out to
be useful in the analysis of word-final geminates in colloquial Hungarian:
final sonorants are degeminated, obstruents are not. This only makes sense
under the assumption that prepausal obstruents have salient release.

Another important consequence is the independence of syllabic affiliation.
The proposed constraint is stated in segmental terms, which becomes
crucial in a number of Arabic dialects the authors turn to next. In
Daragözü, for example, the voiced pharyngeal in a coda position does not
devoice before sonorants. The Laryngeal Licensing Constraint allows for a
characterisation of this without making reference to syllabic affiliation.
The authors come to the conclusion that features like release, which are
often regarded as insignificant, do have an impact on phonological

"On spirantisation and affricates" Tobias Scheer (pp 283--301)
This paper deals with (a certain type of)spirantisation and the absence of
stops for certain places of articulation and tries to show that these two
seemingly independent phenomena share a common cause.

Scheer distinguishes two kinds of spirantisation. The first type targets
aspirated stops only (i.e. in some sense aspiration triggers the change)
and involves a change in the place of articulation. The second type is
triggered by a sonorous context and no shift in the place of articulation
is to be observed. While the second type somehow seems to be expected (a
segment becomes more sonorous in a sonorous environment), the first type
is not so clear: What should be the relationship between aspiration and
the shift of place of articulation?

Scheer offers a solution to the puzzle by proposing that aspirated stops
are in fact contour segments (two melodic expressions linked to one point)
with the element A as its second expression, and that this A is
interpreted as aspiration. What happens if the two expressions have to be
collapsed into one? Since A is also a place definer, we predict a change
in the place of articulation when the merger applies, and this is in fact
what happens. However, this is not the end of the story. As A combines
with the rest of the melody, spirantisation occurs. In other words, the
stop element ? seems to get lost. Scheer's claim here is that this is in
fact the result of the incompatibility of the two elements A and ?.
Whenever the two are forced to combine due to some phonological process, a
sort of repair strategy has to be applied, with two possible outcomees. In
one case, the stop-element is lost, yielding a fricative -- this is what
we see as "spirantisation". The other possibility is to split up the
phonological expression in two and to get yet another kind of a contour
segment, an affricate: the first part carries the stop-element and the
second part the A-element. The two questions posed at the beginning thus
receive a simple answer: In cases of spirantisation, where A becomes
integrated in a segment, the element responsible for occlusion is lost. On
the other hand, places of articulation that are (even if only in part)
characterised by A, could not have corresponding stops, only fricatives --
this is due to the inability of A and ? to combine. What is possible,
however, is having affricates instead.

"Branching onsets in Polish" Eugeniusz Cyran (pp 303--320)
The clear distinction between "true" branching onsets and onset-onset
clusters which just happen to be similar to branching onsets is a central
feature of Standard Government Phonology. In his article, Cyran critically
reviews the evidence for branching onsets in Polish, and suggests that
there is no real need to distinguish between those two types and also
often no means to tell them apart.

For example, branching onsets usually block Proper Government from
applying across them, yet Polish has triconsonantal clusters that seem to
contradict this and call for a parameter to control this. In other words,
the branching onset analysis is available, but so is one involving a
sequence of onsets, were it not for certain distributional restrictions
holding between the second and the third member of the cluster, which is
typical of branching onsets. Another diagnostic, Government Licensing, is
equally unrevealing. Usually empty nuclei repel Proper Government and
phonetic non-interpretation in order to government license a preceding
branching onset. In Polish, however, empty nuclei are silenced by Proper
Government. An analysis making use of onset-onset clusters is again
problematic, but possible. The really troublesome cases come from the
vocalisation of yers in Polish, particularly in verbal prefixes. In
monomorphemic words, certain sequences of three consonants (where the
second and third consonant could or could not form a branching onset) are
realised without any empty nuclei popping up. This generalisation does not
hold when the first consonant is part of a prefix. Morphological
bracketing might be a viable solution, but then one would have to say that
bracketing depends on the syllabic structure: No brackets preceding
branching onsets and vice versa. Even if that were true, certain
triconsonantal clusters where C2 and C3 could not possibly qualify as
branching onsets still behave as if there was no bracketing. In other
words, the crucial distinction is not branching onset vs. onset-onset
cluster but rather whether the stem-yer ever shows up. The word-final
context is yet another problem case. While at first glance Polish seems to
have final branching onsets, the idyllic situation is marred when one
takes derived forms into account (where the branching onsets are broken
up, which argues against their being branching onsets at all)or other
clusters that could not possibly form branching onsets and yet behave like
the ones that can. To sum up, the arguments for branching onsets in Polish
are weak, to put it mildly -- which leads Cyran to the more general
question how we can know whether a language has branching onsets in the
first place.

"Are there branching onsets in Modern Icelandic?" Edmund Gussmann (pp 321-
Taking one of the central axioms of Government Phonology as a starting
point, viz. that constituents are maximally binary branching, this article
sets out to have a closer look at Icelandic which on the surface has
clusters of up to four consonants, e.g. strjúka 'stroke'. Following the
arguments from Kaye (1996), /sC/ can never form a constituent, thus the
four-member cluster immediately reduces to a three-member one. Gussmann
observes that all the remaining cases end in /j/ which can be argued to
occupy an onset of its own. In order to test the status of the remaining
clusters, i.e. whether they qualify as branching onsets or not, vowel
length is called upon. Icelandic is well-known for having a reliable
system of tonic lengthening, i.e. in stressed syllables a non-branching
nucleus is followed by a coda-onset cluster, and a branching nucleus is
followed by an onset, branching or non-branching. The syllabification
model endorsed by Government Phonology, i.e. analysing word-final
consonants as onsets, remedies some of the shortcomings of traditional
approaches and makes sure that vowel length provides the appropriate
testing environment for the onsethood of certain clusters. The results of
Gussmann's scrutiny are surprising: Traditional analyses of Icelandic take
as branching onsets only the combinations of /ph, th, kh, s/ with /j, v,
r/, to which test set Gussmann adds the combination neutral stop plus /j,
v, r/ as well as obstruent plus /l, m, n/; but only very few of these
candidates actually pass the onsethood test: All we are left with are
obstruents followed by /r/ and possibly /v/.

"Remarks on mutae cum liquida and branching onsets" Jean Lowenstamm (pp
This article argues that branching onsets (mutae cum liquida) of the Indo-
European kind are in fact illusionary. What sets English and Arabic apart
in that respect is that the former, but not the latter, contains segments
with liquids as a sort of secondary articulation. In other words,
branching onsets are in reality monosegmental, but complex. Lowenstamm
starts off with evidence from Chaha, where based on the templatic
character of the morphology both muta cum liquida sequences as well as
monosegmental muta cum liquida segments have to be countenanced. Further
support comes from metrical theory: if stress systems are so sensitive to
the branching vs. non-branching character of the rhyme, then how come the
branching of onsets never plays any role? Facts from reduplication are
also brought to bear on this issue: Ilokano and Ancient Greek are
contrasted and the differences between the two systems are reduced to a
simple parameter which controls whether features of secondary articulation
are (Ilokano) or are not (Greek) reduplicated. This very parameter also
accounts for why aspiration, another feature of secondary articulation, is
not copied in Greek. The final set of data comes from Czech where vowel-
zero alternations in prefixes can be handled quite easily once the
monosegmental status of mutae cum liquida is accepted. As an additional
benefit, alternations between mutae cum liquida and muta plus syllabic
sonorant fall out naturally as well.

"Defective syllables: the other story of Italian sC(C)-sequences"
Emannuel Nikièma (pp 365--383)
This article tackles the distribution of the Italian definite masculine
article, /il/ vs. /lo/. Nikièma shows how the various triggering contexts
can be neatly captured in two groups, one containing an initial defective
syllable (where either the onset or the nucleus is empty) and the other
one starting with a non-defective syllable. The sC(C)-clusters are
analysed as s plus empty nucleus plus C(C), contra Kaye (1992), and thus
are comparable to vowel-initial words: while the former structure is
defective due to the empty nucleus, the latter is defective because of the
empty onset. Accordingly, both of them take /lo/. Non-defective initial
syllables, however, opt for /il/. In other words, when the initial
syllable is defective, the determiner is not and vice versa. The analysis
can be extended to both rarer clusters and other alternations in
determiners. Also the facts from raddoppiamento sintattico find a natural
explanation in Nikièma's account.

"Remarks on prenominal liaison consonants in French" Yves Charles Morin
(pp 387--400)
This article questions two aspects of conventional wisdom that are widely
held as regards French liaison with adjectives: (1) the adjectives in
question end in a latent consonant which is realised in the appropriate
context and (2) the feminine form is identical to the underlying form,
i.e. the one including the latent consonant. Thus, Morin tests native
speakers to see whether the liaison consonant can be elicited
automatically once the appropriate context is provided and whether the
liaison-consonant really is the same as in the feminine. Both assumptions
are disconfirmed.

Morin proposes that liaison after prenominal adjectives should rather be
seen as a form of adjectival declension, similar to what we find in most
Germanic languages. The only obstacle seems to be the fact that the
inflectional ending appears as the initial consonant of the following
noun. This can be remedied by reanalysing liaison consonants as part of
the following noun; in other words, Morin suggests a kind of status
constructus solution, where the head is marked depending on the presence
or absence of a (certain) complement. The kind of liaison consonant
defines morphological class membership; however, class change is predicted
in such a model and this is indeed what we find in an "embryonic" state.

"The phonotactics of a 'Prince' language: a case study" Glyne L. Piggott
(pp 401--425)
This paper provides an encompassing analysis of Selayarese, a
typical 'Prince' language (named after Alan Prince), i.e. a language with
exclusively CVC-syllables where the coda cannot license distinctive
material. Piggott's analysis is basically couched in Government Phonology,
with certain extensions like a particular view on licensing as well as the
assumption that there is a coda and a syllable node.

After having gone through an outline of Selayarese syllable structure,
Piggott proposes a "Prince Coda Condition", i.e. a definition of what is
characteristic of a 'Prince' language: the coda is not a feature licenser,
any material hosted by it must receive its license from somewhere else. In
the case of geminates this is easy: the material is provided by the
following onset. Alongside this, non-existent clusters like *st, *fp or
*rt can be readily excluded. Nevertheless, additional adjustments have to
be made: Selayarese does not allow for voiced obstruents to geminate (*bb
etc.) and Piggott proposes a constraint to exclude them. Sonorants,
however, are to be found in the coda position and it is suggested that
they are licensed "by default". The same goes for the glottal stop and we
derive clusters such as /?l/ or /?b/. Here we notice a certain gap that
interestingly enough is a mirror image of the voiced obstruents: while ?b
for example does exist (to the virtual exclusion of *bb), *pp is
ungrammatical and instead we find ?p. This can be observed particularly
well in the case of epenthetic material that shows up between a root and
certain suffixes. If the stressed syllable is headed by an epenthetic
vowel, it has to be closed by gemination or a ?C-cluster. Tonic
lengthening, though existent in the language, is not an option. Epenthetic
vowels, Piggott claims, stand in a particular relationship with the
preceding nuclear position from which they gain their melodic material.
The epenthetic vowel is the dependant part in this relationship and can
thus not be longer than its head. As a result of this, the required
heaviness of the stressed syllable has to be created some other way, and
accordingly we observe either gemination of the following consonant or, if
that is not a viable solution, insertion of a glottal stop in the coda

Piggott further shows that Selayarese also has initial and final codas.
While the former is not so unexpected in Government Phonology, where
initial empty nuclei are allowed for under certain conditions, the latter
claim is rather unorthodox: Coda Licensing requires that every coda be
licensed by a following onset and thus effectively excludes domain-final
codas. Piggott argues against this by pointing to the fact that in final
position we find the same consonants which in internal position can be
shown to be independent of following material, i.e. the velar nasal and ?.
However, since this material has to be licensed in some way, it is
proposed that the syllable node functions as the formal licenser of
material in syllable-final (and also word-final) position.

"On the syllabification of right-edge consonants --- evidence from Athna
(Athapaskan)" Keren Rice (pp 427--448)
This article argues that right-edge consonants cannot be universally
syllabified as either onsets or codas (or as a third possibility:
extraprosodically), but that both options have to be available in one and
the same language. By bringing evidence from Athna to bear on this issue,
Rice demonstrates the different properties that set the two structures
apart in that language. For example, while voicing and spirantisation do
not affect coda consonants, onsets do get targeted by these processes. The
very same effects can be shown to be at work not only at the right edge,
but also elsewhere in the domain, thus supporting Rice's proposal.

Rice further proposes that in order to arrive at a correct
characterisation of nasalisation in Mentasta, one of the four major
dialects of Athna, one has to assume that there are two kinds of empty
nuclei: One which is present for purely structural reasons (and causes
nasalisation) and the other one has a morphological source, as a
consequence of which nasalisation fails to apply.

Both innovations seem to beg the question how the proposed structures can
be learnt by the child. Rice sketches out acquisition strategies that
guarantee for the child to come up with the correct representations.

"Licensing constraint to let" Yuko Yoshida (pp 449--464)
Yoshida argues that the licensing constraints of Ancient Chinese still
have a reflex in the phonology of loan words in modern-day Japanese.

The structure of Chinese words is determined by a four-positional template
consisting of two ON-pairs. The first nucleus assumes headship for the
entire domain and thus has to be filled. The second nucleus on the other
hand can either be filled (in which case its onset has to be empty) or
empty (and the onset has to be filled). In other words, in the second ON-
pair one and only one position must be filled and, vice versa, one and
only one position must be empty.

A reflex of this can be found in Japanese pitch accent. While native words
with two nuclei are rather unpredictable in their stress patterns
(initially stressed, finally stressed or unstressed), loans from Chinese
have initial stress in the majority of the cases. (Those that do not seem
to belong to a particular morphosyntactic class like numerals.) The fact
that the first nucleus was the head of the domain in Chinese is in some
sense retained in Japanese where that position functions as the metrical
head and is assigned pitch accent.

Related to that issue is the emergence of the syllabic nasal in
Japanese, /N/, which is in complementary distribution with /nu/. Yoshida
argues that the phonological representation is identical for both
cases: /N/ is never accented and never appears in word-initial position,
while /nu/ usually bears stress.

"Empty and pseudo-empty categories" Monik Charette (pp 465--479)
Charette's article investigates the properties of pseudo-empty categories,
which had been introduced to account for vowel-glide alternations in
French by Haworth (1994). A pseudo-empty category is a position which
shares all its segmental material with an adjacent position. If such a
category is followed by a possible proper governor, p-licensing will
occur. As a consequence, the material in the nuclear position is
suppressed phonetically and realised in the adjacent consonantal position
only. Similar to other cases involving empty categories, p-licensing will
be blocked if the governee has to license a preceding branching onset.
Charette now takes a wider context into account. What happens to empty
positions that are followed by a pseudo-empty position? Here, two types of
structure emerge: in the first one, Continental French allows for p-
licensing of the empty position, while Québec French varies. In the second
one, p-licensing of the empty position is blocked in both Continental and
Québec French. The two types can be characterised by the kinds of
consonants flanking the empty nucleus. If the two consonants can enter
into a governing relationship, p-licensing of the straddled empty nucleus
is possible. Otherwise, the empty nucleus has to be realised. Charette
claims that the governing relationship between the two consonants is not
enough to silence the empty nucleus, an external governor is needed. The
pseudo-empty category immediately following is itself licensed and thus
cannot assume that role. The only eligible governor is the filled position
following the pseudo-empty position. In other words, a full vowel can
govern twice: one time locally (the preceding pseudo-empty position) and
another time non-locally (the empty nucleus preceding the pseudo-empty
position), provided the consonants flanking the empty nucleus can enter
into a governing relationship.

"Unlicensed domain-final empty nuclei in Korean" Yong Heo (pp 481--495)
This article explores the reason for why certain empty nuclei at the right
edge of a domain in Korean have to be realised despite the fact that the
language allows final nuclei to remain empty. In particular, Heo discusses
the behaviour of the derivational suffix /p_/, whose final nucleus is
realised if the suffix follows a consonant-final stem but remains empty
otherwise. By investigating the alternations of the suffix-initial /p/,
one can show that in the case of consonant-final stems a government
relationship between the stem-final consonant and the /p/ is created. Fur
such a relationship to hold, however, the governor /p/ needs to be
licensed by the following (domain-final) nucleus, which thus cannot remain
silent. No such government obtains in the case of vowel-final stems, since
there is no adjacent consonant /p/ could govern. Accordingly, the final-
nucleus can remain /silent.

In those cases, the final nucleus gives up its licensed status when it is
called upon to do some licensing itself. Another conceivable possibility
would be for the nucleus to remain silent, which means something has to
happen to the preceding onset. Heo makes use of this second option in his
analysis of the peculiar behaviour of stems ending in /rr/. Here,
depending on the variety, the following nucleus can remain silent, which
leads to the simplification of /rr/ to /r/.

"Unreleasing: the case of neutralisation in Korean" Seon-Jung Kim (pp 497--
This article investigates various neutralisation patterns of final
consonants in Korean: Aspirated and tensed plosives become neutral,
fricatives and affricates turn into a plosive and /r/ is realised as [l].
Kim demonstrates how all these alternations can be accounted for neatly by
assuming that (1) final empty nuclei cannot license the element H and that
(2) final consonants must contain the stop-element ?. In other words, the
right edge position imposes serious conditions not on the number, but on
the kind of elements that can be hosted.

"/r/ syllabicity: Polish versus Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian" Grazyna
Rowicka (pp 511--526)
Drawing on data from Polish, Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian, Rowicka puts
forth her proposal that there are two criteria for syllabicity: a metrical
one and a phonotactic one which need not necessarily overlap. Both Polish
and Serbo-Croatian have syllabic consonants (from a phonotactic point of
view), yet what sets Serbo-Croatian apart from Polish is that syllabic
consonants count for the metrical structure (e.g. in their ability to bear
stress) in the former, but not in the latter. Bulgarian, on the other
hand, does not have syllabic consonants of either kind. Rowicka then goes
on to show that certain distributional facts about complex clusters in
Polish can be captured relatively easily once we assume the existence of
syllabic sonorants in the language, thus making the facts of Polish
relatively similar to those of Serbo-Croatian. The analysis is done in
Rowicka's framework of left-headed (trochaic) proper government with a
strict CV skeleton and a set of OT constraints. In addition to that,
considerations on the simplicity of the system lead to the conclusion that
the proper representation of a syllabic consonant is one where it is
linked to an onset and spreads to the following empty nucleus.

"The syllabic nasal in Japanese" Shohei Yoshida (pp 527--542)
This article has two objectives: Firstly, to provide an accurate
description of the allophonic realisations of the Japanese syllabic
nasal /N/ and the typical mistakes language learners make when studying
Japanese. Secondly, to provide an appropriate representation of /N/ within
Government Phonology and to show how the allophonic variation can be
derived. Yoshida proposes that the syllabic nasal is an ON-pair together
with a floating N-element which is linked to the skeleton as needed. For
example, in word-final position the N is linked to the nuclear slot in
order to fulfill the requirement that in Japanese no domain may end in an
empty nucleus. Additional spreading of the melodic material associated to
the preceding nuclear position accounts for why in casual pronunciation
the syllabic nasal is realised as a nasalised copy of the preceding vowel.
In careful pronunciation, however, word-final /N/ is realised as a uvular
or a velar nasal, despite the fact that the N-element is linked to a
nuclear position. Yoshida's claim is that this is nothing but a phonetic
effect, due to the well-known fact that in Japanese prepausal words are
frequently followed by a glottal stop. The sequence of /N/ plus glottal
stop is interpreted as a nasal stop. This is a word-internal phenomenon
only, no such effects can be observed word-internally. Accordingly, word-
internal N is realised as a nasalised high, back, unrounded vowel in
careful pronunciation or as a nasalised copy of the preceding vowel or as
the nasalised vocalic version of the following glide in casual
pronunciation. Last but not least, the representation for sequences of /N/
plus non-continuant is slightly different. Here, the floating N is linked
to the onset position of the ON-pair and homorganicity is guaranteed by
acquiring the relevant melodic material responsible for occlusion and
place of articulation via spreading from the following onset.

"Template and morphology in Khalkha Mongolian --- and beyond?" Ann
Denwood (pp 543--562)
This article is an attempt to apply a tool which has proved useful in the
analysis of Chinese (Goh 1996), viz. a four-positional template, to
Khalkha Mongolian. Denwoood shows that the conditions on which positions
of such a template are realised are in fact virtually identical. Since
Khalkha Mongolian has a richer inventory of syllabic structures than
Chinese, Denwood proposes that combinations of such four-positional
templates will allow to build up the required representations and account
for phonotactics in a straightforward way. By this it becomes evident that
the different morphological status of stem vs. affix is reflected in
restrictions on where melodic material can associate to the template. The
article finishes off with some tentative suggestions on how the model of a
four-positional templatic could be extended to other languages. Whilst
English remains a challenge (despite some promising similarities), Turkish
seems to be a more successful candidate. This also sheds some light on
possible parametric variation in the templatic structure.

"A non-derivational analyysis of the so-called 'diminutive retroflex
suffixation'" Yeng-Seng Goh (pp 563--580)
This article challenges some traditional assumptions about the
representation of the so-called diminutive retroflex suffix [@r] which
derives etymologically from the independent word for 'child'
or 'smallness'. Goh puts into doubt the status of [@r] as a suffix. In his
view, the suffixed forms comply with the minimal phonological string;
the "suffixed" forms are thus unanalysable minimal words.

The minimal domain in Beijing Mandarin consists of four positions, viz.
two ON-pairs where a special condition holds for the second pair. Either
O2 or N2 has to be empty, no domain can have both of them filled
simultaneously. Goh shows that simple addition of the "suffix" [@r] to
this template yields incorrect results; instead, the correct analysis is
one where a simple retroflex [r] occupies 02 of the template. This causes
all kinds of adaptations in the four-position template: shortening of long
vowels (which in the "un-suffixed" form span two nuclear positions),
complete loss of final consonantal material or "evacuation" of part of
this material into preceding positions. While the resulting forms comply
with the phonological patterns of Beijing Mandarin, the changes themselves
are not phonological in nature. This is strong evidence to show that
diminutives of this kind are in fact unanalysable words.

"Why Arabic guttural assimilation is not a phonological process" M.
Masten Guerssel (pp 581--598)
This article argues against the traditional analysis of guttural
assimilation in Arabic as a phonological process. Guerssel proposes that
the phenomenon in question is dictated by the principles of non-
concatenative morphology.

Guttural assimilation is the term applied to the process of /i/
becoming /a/ when standing next to a guttural (uvulars, pharyngeals,
glottals). Oddly enough, this process fails to apply in the majority of
cases. It is observed in the imperfect active of Form I exclusively, i.e.
in one out of 60 possible patterns. The phonological status of this
phenomenon is thus highly questionable. After a short sketch of the
general theory of apophony, an apophonic path taking zero to /i/, /i/
to /a/, /a/ to /u/ and /u/ to /u/, as laid out in Guerssel & Lowenstamm
(1996), the basic mechanisms of constructing Arabic verbs are discussed.
Each triliteral root belongs to one out of four classes, characterised by
an (unassociated) thematic vowel: i, a, u or zero. The derivation of the
categories of voice and aspect proceeds along a kind of flow-chart, where
the triliteral root with an /a/ in the first nuclear position
(e.g. /fat_q/) serves as the input. Simple association of the thematic
vowel to the second nuclear position yields the active perfect ([fataq]),
while the passive perfect is derived by applying apophony the the input
([futiq]). By prefixation and further application of apophony to the
thematic vowel the corresponding imperfect forms can be created: [ja-ftuq]
for the active, [ju-ftaq] for the passive. Verbs where the thematic vowel
is zero are special, however. Since there is no thematic vowel to be
associated to the root, a phonological process of a-insertion takes place
to make sure the output is well-formed. This gives us an active perfect
such as [kasar] (from the morphological output /kas_r/ which is the same
as the input). The passive perfect is derived in the normal way, i.e.
apophony takes /kas_r/ to [kusir]. When the second or third literal is a
guttural, however, the output is different: An input such as /xad_9/ [9 =
voiced pharyngeal, M.A.P.] surfaces as [xada9] in the perfect and [ja-
xda9] in the imperfect. Guerssel's elegant proposal is that all gutturals
contain the element A in their internal make-up and that this A spreads to
the adjacent empty position. In other words, the second [a] in [xada9] is
not due to the phonological process of a-insertion but to a morphological
operation whereby an root is associated with its thematic vowel. Since the
root xd9 lacks a thematic vowel, morphology makes use of the A-element
contained in the guttural. Since the result is a well-formed string
([xada9]), it can surface as such and also serve as the input for the
imperfect formation. Since the second [a] of [xada9] is linked to both a
vocalic and a consonantal slot, it is immune to apophony and we thus
derive [ja-xda9].

"On a certain notion of 'occurrence': the source of metrical structure,
and of much more" Jean-Roger Vergnaud (pp 599--632)
Vergnaud's article demonstrates that the correspondence between metrical
grids and beats is inherent in the formal definition of the metrical grid.
His formal account involves a model of metrical structure which relies
upon the notion of "occurrences" of units, in much the same sense as in
syntax. In other words, Vergnaud attempts to sketch out a strong parallel
between the behaviour of phonological and syntactic units. The notion of
occurrence calls for a distinction between two kinds of properties of
entities: those properties that identify the type of an entity and those
that identify an instance of that type. The properties defining an object
are intrinsic to that object, while those that define the instance are not
and can be freely associated with all objects. The properties defining the
instance in a sense function as a contextual feature that represents the
object's ability to combine with other objects. As a consequence of that,
the phonological string is split up, it is really a pairing of two
strings. An immediate consequence of this is the recursivity of linguistic

The definition of stress we end up with is the following: A stressed unit
is one that cannot be interpreted as a context for another unit. This is
the traditional interpretation of primary stress as a mark of juncture.
The occurrence feature of a stressed position is left "dangling". Vergnaud
suggests that this might lead to an anticipatory gesture. Such
anticipation is an important component of phonological strings. This
approach to the properties of metrical theory has far-reaching
consequences for syntax, too, Vergnaud concludes. More generally, it may
lead to an understanding of the general principles that govern the
ordering of categories across linguistic levels.


As said before, this volume will become indispensable for anyone working
in the framework of Government Phonology. The contributions are
interesting, stimulating to read and highly relevant for current issues in
the theory. Basically any topic that has ever been important in the theory
is addressed in at least one of the articles. Many ideas that have been
around for quite a while are extended, improved or formulated more
precisely. The more than 600 pages of text also pave the way for
interesting developments in the future: loads of interesting questions are
raised and intriguing solutions have come into sight. It is well to be
expected that this book will spawn a flurry of further research.

To take but one example, the discussion on Standard Government Phonology
vs. Strict CV has been going on for a number of years. While the
contribution by Ploch questions the scientific status of Strict CV (and
also major parts of the Standard Theory), the article by Rennison &
Neubarth and the one by Lowenstamm attempt to find a solution for one of
the major challenges for Strict CV, namely branching nuclei. This adds new
spice to the discussion and will certainly be of importance for a number
of years to come.

The list of contributors is basically a "who is who in Government
Phonology" -- nearly all of the articles are written by major proponents
of the theory, spanning Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa.

The book should also be accessible to people whose background in
Government Phonology is not that strong. The articles are well written,
fully indexed and have an extremely large reference section.

To sum up in a nutshell, this book it a cutting-edge contribution to the
theory of Government Phonology, or rather to phonological theory in
general. Due to the enormous number of current issues covered and the
innovative approaches, it should hold pride of place in any phonologist's


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Clark, Robin and Ian Roberts. 1993. A computational model of language
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Dresher, B. Elan & Jonathan Kaye. 1990. A computational model for metrical
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Haworth, Emmanuelle. 1994. The trouble with French glides. SOAS Working
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Kaye, Jonathan. 1992. Do you believe in magic? The story of s+C-sequences.
SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics and Phonetics 2: 293--313.

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Lowenstamm, Jean. 1996. CV as the only syllable type. In: Jacques Durand &
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Ristad, Eric S. 1990. A constructive complexity thesis for natural
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van der Hulst, Harry & Nancy Ritter. 1998. Kammu minor syllables in Head-
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Markus A. Pöchtrager is a PhD student of general linguistics at the
University of Vienna. His main interests are phonological theory, in
particular Government Phonology (and variants/predecessors thereof). At
the moment he is finishing up his doctoral dissertation on the structure
of phonological length in Finnish, Estonian and German; this also involves
a simplification of the element calculus of Government Phonology, in
particular getting rid of the so-called stop element.

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