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Ling Fridays: Weber on Prosodic Structure in Blackfoot
December 9, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The synchrony and diachrony of prosodic structure in Blackfoot
Linguistics Fridays Colloquia talk
Natalie Weber, Yale University
Phonological processes are frequently limited to particular prosodic constituents arranged into a hierarchical prosodic structure (Hayes 1989; Nespor & Vogel 1986; Selkirk 1986, 2011). It is an open question how diachronic changes in prosodic structure condition reanalysis of phonological processes. This talk presents a case study of a pattern of epenthesis at consonant-initial morphological boundaries in Blackfoot (Algonquian). Using diachronic and synchronic arguments, I show that the unusual conditioning environment is best understood as the result of a change in prosodic structure within the polysynthetic word relative to the rest of the Algonquian family, which allowed an existing process of epenthesis to be reanalyzed. I end by considering ways that a theory of change in prosodic structure might constrain synchronic phonology.
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