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102. Category-specific Effects

Jennifer L. Smith

Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Phonology

Key-Topics formal grammars

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184236.2011.00104.x


The lexical categories noun, verb , and adjective are traditionally distinguished by means of distributional (syntactic) and morphological criteria. But in some languages, lexical categories also have distinct phonological behavior. This point has been discussed by Cohen (1964) , Postal (1968) , Kenstowicz and Kisseberth (1977) , Smith (1997, 2001) , Myers (2000) , and Bobaljik (2008) , among others. However, the cross-linguistic typology of phonological differences among lexical categories has not received much systematic investigation. This chapter surveys category-specific phonological effects, identifying generalizations or patterns where possible. Noun/verb differences are discussed in §2, and the behavior of adjectives is examined in §3. Alternatives to allowing the phonological grammar to refer to category are discussed in §4, but none of them captures all category-specific effects. This section examines the basic distinction between nouns and verbs. (Adjectives, which seem to pattern as an intermediate category, are discussed in §3.) The examples are organized according to which category shows greater phonological privilege: nouns (§2.1, §2.2), verbs (§2.3), or neither (§2.4). Here, phonological privilege is understood to mean the ability to support a greater array of phonological contrasts ( chapter 2 : contrast ), whether this is manifested as a larger number ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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