How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 15:29:00 -0500 From: Michael Barrie Subject: Japanese Morphophonemics: Markedness and Word Structure
AUTHORS: Ito, Junko; Mester, Armin TITLE: Japanese Morphophonemics SUBTITLE: Markedness and Word Structure SERIES: Linguistic Inquiry Monographs 42 PUBLISHER: MIT Press YEAR: 2003
Michael Barrie, Manami Hirayama, Sara Mackenzie and Kenji Oda, University of Toronto
Ito and Mester (2003) (hereafter I&M) provide a comprehensive analysis of the phonology of voicing in Japanese. Their analysis focuses on the well- known morphophonological process known as rendaku (or sequential voicing) in which the initial segment of the second member of a compound is voiced:
(1) a. /kaki/ 'persimmon' -> hosi-gaki 'dried persimmon' b. /tana/ 'shelf' -> hon-dana 'book shelf'
There are two kinds of restrictions observed with regard to the phenomenon: One is that the process cannot occur when the second member already contains a voiced obstruent ---this restriction is widely known as "Lyman's Law."
The other restriction is that the process applies only to the native vocabularies and some of the vocabularies of old loanwords from Chinese. Thus, the recent loans from Western languages do not show rendaku:
Both restrictions are taken up by I&M and analyzed using constraint conjunction and differentiation of faithfulness constraints according to particular strata of the Japanese lexicon.
Chapter 1 outlines the structure of the book, listing both the empirical domain of investigation and the theoretical issues which are addressed throughout. In terms of empirical phenomena, this monograph considers the morpheme structure constraint that allows only a single voiced obstruent to occur within native roots and rendaku and the interaction of these phenomena as seen in Lyman's Law, illustrated in (2) above. Other areas considered in the text include diachronic variation and lexical stratification. Theoretical issues that will be considered throughout the book, including self-conjunction of markedness constraints and the use of faithfulness constraints which make reference to particular lexical strata are introduced in this chapter.
Chapter 2 provides theoretical and empirical foundations for the rest of the book. First, I&M question the validity of autosegmental Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP) analyses of dissimilative effects. I&M propose that dissimilative effects should instead be analyzed as a case of crossing a markedness threshold; that is, a grammar finds it undesirable to violate a markedness constraint twice in a certain domain while it tolerates a single violation. In order to express the notion of threshold while preserving the strict ranking system of OT, I&M employ the mechanism of local constraint conjunction.
The second purpose of chapter 2 is to introduce a markedness threshold analysis of the morpheme structure constraint barring multiple voiced obstruents from occurring in Japanese roots. I&M provide data showing that no Yamato (native) morpheme contains more than one voiced obstruent although voicing itself is contrastive in the language. The observation that voicing is contrastive in Japanese generally indicates that the constraint prohibiting the occurrence of voiced obstruents, which I&M call NO-D, is ranked below the IDENT constraint requiring faithfulness to input values of [voice]. However, I&M take the ban on multiple voiced obstruents in native morphemes as evidence that the self-conjoined version of NO-D (NO-D^2) dominates IDENT, providing the ranking NO-D^2 >> IDENT >> NO-D. Finally, I&M point out that multiple voicing restriction of Japanese is not exceptionless but that the multiple voicing restriction is easily violated by foreign and ideophonic items. I&M state that this does not reflect a historical fact about Japanese phonology, but rather indicates that certain synchronic phonological restrictions are active only in some strata of the Japanese lexicon.
Chapter 3 extends the self-conjoined markedness analysis of OCP effects to a wider range of phenomena. These include dissimilative degemination in Latin, Amharic and Japanese as well as deaccentuation in Japanese compounds. In all cases, I&M argue that the autosegmental OCP is ill- equipped to handle these phenomena. In the degemination cases, an autosegmental analysis is not available due to the common assumption that the OCP is active only within the level of segmental features and does not apply to prosodic properties such as length. The markedness threshold approach advocated by I&M, on the other hand, can be extended to these cases straightforwardly through the use of a self-conjoined markedness constraint *Geminate^2. This chapter also includes a discussion of some theoretical implications of constraint conjunction, both problematic and promising discussing, in particular, Spaelti's (1997) Universal Conjoined Constraint Ranking Hypothesis.
Chapter 4 discusses the morphological and phonological aspects of rendaku upon which I&M formulate their analysis. After explaining how OCP effects are captured by self-conjoined markedness constraints which outrank relevant faithfulness constraints in the previous chapters, I&M apply this approach to rendaku voicing. They argue first that rendaku voicing is the result of a voicing morpheme that links the two sub-components of the compound, and that this morpheme is preserved in rendaku compounds by a constraint that requires this morpheme to be realized. They then discuss various morphological considerations for rendaku, such as the difference between word compounds and root compounds, and why rendaku is active only in the former. With the morphological facts out of the way, the authors implement their proposal described above (self-conjoined faithfulness constraints and compound morphemes) into an OT analysis of rendaku, accounting for the effects of Lyman's Law.
Chapter 5 discusses the issue of domains in the patterning of OCP effects and voicing alternations in Japanese. I&M first address generally the domains of conjoined and self-conjoined constraints. They introduce the concept of Minimal Shared Domain as the local domain of a conjunction. The domains of self-conjunction are discussed for the analysis of dissimilation in rendaku, which involves the self-conjoined markedness constraint on voiced obstruents, No-D^2. Looking at diachronic change, I&M show that more than one domain is possible for dissimilation; prosodic, specifically the Prosodic Word (PW), in Old Japanese and grammatical/lexical, specifically the morpheme, in Modern Japanese. Moreover, they analyze this variation as the result of diachronic reranking of the PW-domain version of No-D^2 in the hierarchy when the hierarchy also has the morpheme-domain version of No-D^2. Furthermore, they consider a prediction made for the conceivable rendaku-type voicing patterns. The possible patterns can all arise from the hierarchy developed in their analysis, while the hierarchy successfully excludes an unattested and impossible pattern. They argue that because their analysis can necessarily prevent the impossible pattern in this way, their approach is superior to others that put the base on linear precedence relations.
Chapter 6 asks for a mechanism that can account for the fact that certain constraints are operative in certain vocabulary groups but not in others: what does a grammar look like that can generate such lexical variation? The key is the FAITH stratification model: an individual grammar fixes a particular markedness hierarchy and the stratum-specific faithfulness constraints insert themselves in the hierarchy in different places. I&M start off with the general typological markedness law, or implicational relationship, found in language inventories as a place where the proposed model can explain the variation. They also illustrate the same model with patterns stratified sociolinguistically by different registers. With particular focus on Japanese, the stratum variation in voicing is discussed. The authors demonstrate that the faithfulness model can explain the lexicon-internal variation as a kind of faithfulness variation; here the faithfulness constraints are from the family of IDENT, specified for designated lexical strata, and inserted at specific points in the hierarchy.
The empirical foundation of chapter 7 concerns faithfulness in voicing as it applies to rendaku voicing; however, I&M use the discussion here to comment more deeply on the issue of faithfulness in OT in general. The first section concerns the use of the faithfulness constraint IDENT [VOI] which the authors take to apply only to obstruents. They then ask whether IDENT [VOI] is asymmetric in the sense that voicing of a voiceless segment is equally as punishable as devoicing of a voiced segment. I&M provide data from Old Japanese to show that devoicing of a voiced segment constitutes a more serious violation than the inverse scenario. They explore the possibility that IDENT [VOI] can be split into IDENT [+VOI], which outranks the more general IDENT [VOI], not the expected polar opposite constraint IDENT [-VOI]. I&M conclude, however, that symmetric IDENT is superior (i.e., referring to both positively and negatively valued features). To capture the asymmetric faithfulness facts, they propose that IDENT constraints must be conjoined with markedness constraints.
Chapter 8 addresses the pattern of rendaku found in complex compounds (complex compounds defined as compounds which contain compounds as members). I&M begin with the observation that in left-branching compounds rendaku applies iteratively, voicing the initial segment of each member. For example, /hosi/ 'dried', /kaki/ 'persimmon', /tukuri/ 'making', when combined are realized as [hosigakizukuri] showing rendaku voicing on both /kaki/ and /tukuri/. In right-branching compounds, however, rendaku voicing does not apply at the juncture between the subcompound and the additional constituent. For example, /hatu/ 'first', /kao/ 'face', /awase/ meeting', when joined in a compound are realized as [hatukaoawase] without rendaku voicing on the initial /k/ of /kao/. I&M seek an account of these facts that does not require reference to syntactic information such as direction of branching.
First, they show that an analysis relying on output-output constraints, while initially appealing, is unworkable. They propose an alternative analysis which makes reference to prosodic structure. They note that the compounds in which rendaku applies regularly differ from the compounds in which rendaku is suppressed at the major constituent juncture in that the former are always a single accentual domain whereas the latter may contain two accents and are hence considered to be two prosodic words. They then derive the pattern of rendaku from self-conjunction of the constraint ANCHOR-L. This constraint penalizes multiple violations of a constraint requiring the left edge of a grammatical word to correspond to the left edge of a prosodic word. Appropriate ranking of this constraint requires right-branching compounds to be parsed as two prosodic words whereas left- branching compounds can be parsed as a single prosodic word without violating this self-conjoined constraint. An additional markedness constraint militating against voiced obstruents at the beginning of a prosodic word is required to derive the pattern of rendaku. This analysis is followed by some general consideration of the role of positional faithfulness constraints and positional markedness constraints in OT. I&M argue that, although the two types of constraints are equal in many circumstances, the positional markedness approach is superior in this case.
This monograph is an important addition to the literature on rendaku in Japanese. It offers a vast empirical coverage of the phenomenon with abundant examples throughout the text and an extensive appendix. From a theoretical perspective, this monograph makes important contributions to the study of constraint conjunction and lexical stratification within OT. As a whole, the authors offer a plausible analysis of rendaku, offering several advantages over previous approaches.
The book offers a cohesive and comprehensive analysis of lexical stratification, as described above. This analysis is particularly attractive given its ability to relate stratal distinctions to implicational hierarchies and its ability to account for some groups of apparent exceptions to exceptions, as in the case of Common Sino-Japanese words that undergo rendaku. Also, the difference in rendaku strategies between modern Japanese and Old Japanese is accounted for by a simple constraint re-ranking - a desirable solution.
Nevertheless, we have a few concerns with the analysis and its presentation. First, the historical facts are explained by a constraint re- ranking in which the markedness constraint No-D^2_w is demoted in Modern Japanese (p. 111ff). This analysis requires further scrutiny from a broader discussion of issues of diachronic change in OT, particularly in light of claims that diachronic change tends to involve demotion of faithfulness rather than markedness constraints (Hayes, 2004 and Uffmann, 2003).
Second, it is necessary to explain explicitly what limits the application of constraint conjunction. I&M's analysis as a whole relies heavily on the notion in various ways (e.g., self-conjoined markedness constraints for the analysis of dissimilation and markedness thresholds, conjunction of markedness and faithfulness constraints to account for asymmetric effects of voicing and devoicing, and multiply conjoined constraints in their analysis of degemination in Amharic). I&M acknowledge the potential problems in learnability and restrictiveness that constraint conjunction may lead to. They state that distinguishing reasonable from unreasonable conjoined constraints 'cannot be relegated to the syntax of conjunction' but rather is an is an issue of 'phonological substance and phonetic groundedness' (p. 24). While we agree on intuitive grounds with such an idea, we are left unsatisfied as little discussion of phonetic substance or formal restrictions on the well-formedness of simple constraints is provided. Furthermore, I&M mention (p. 265 endnote #23) that no convincing evidence for No-D^3 has been found, although it is formally derivable, as NO-D^2&NO-D. While the observation is generally agreeable, it is left unanswered how such a restriction is naturally deduced from the theory.
Lastly, we would like to mention the learnability issue related to the proposed faithfulness-based stratal model. In the proposed model, the burden of the explanation for lexical-class-specific application of certain rules, such as rendaku, is upon the positioning of class-specific faithfulness constraints to the fixed hierarchy of antagonistic markedness constraints. This implies that each lexical item has a 'tag' that indicates the stratum it belongs to in order to be properly evaluated. This is indeed true of any model of grammar that refers to lexical strata. But this may cast a question with regard to learnability: how learnable is this kind of grammar? The question about learnability is not addressed in I&M's discussion. Of course this is not a problem particularly for the analysis that I&M provide, and the organization of the lexicon is a controversial topic (see Tateishi 2002, for example, for a summary).
In conclusion, this monograph is invaluable both empirically and theoretically. Empirically I&M continue to set the standards of what must be accounted for in the phonology of voicing in Japanese. Theoretically the book is a major contribution to Optimality Theory. Thus, it is highly recommended to a variety of people who wish to have a descriptive foundation of Japanese morphophonology and wish to pursue developments in phonological theory within the framework of OT.
Hayes, Bruce (2004) Phonological acquisition in optimality theory: the early stages. Ms. University of California. [Also published in Kager, Rene, Pater, Joe, and Zonneveld, Wim (eds.) Fixing priorities: Constraints in phonological acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.]
Spaelti, Philip (1997) Dimensions of reduplication in multi-pattern reduplication. Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Tateishi, Koichi (2002) Bunpoo no itibu to shiteno goisoo no zehi (Lexical strata as a part of grammar), Onsei Kenkyu (Journal of the Phonetic Society of Japan) 6, 34-43.
Uffmann, Christian (2003) Markedness, faithfulness, and creolization: The retention of the unmarked. In Ingo Plag (ed.), The phonology and morphology of creole languages. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 3-23.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWERS
Michael Barrie, Manami Hirayama, Sara Mackenzie and Kenji Oda are all graduate students at the University of Toronto. They formed a small reading group where they discussed this monograph and they all have an interest in the phonology of East Asian languages.