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Licensing saturation: co-occurrence restrictions in structure

Kula, NC (2006) 'Licensing saturation: co-occurrence restrictions in structure.' Linguistic Analysis, 32 (3-4). pp. 366-406. ISSN 0098-9053


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Phonological co-occurrence restrictions as seen in Bantu Meinhof?s Law raise interesting questions for the nature of phonological domains and in particular, what restrictions apply in the definition of such phonological domains. Government Phonology is one framework that has gone some way in defining the boundaries of phonological domains by utilising the notion of licensing. A phonological domain thus has the formal definition under the licensing principle of Kaye [29] given in (1). (1) Licensing Principle: all positions within a phonological domain are licensed save one, the head. This paper will focus on Meinhof?s Law (ML) which has been described both as a voicing dissimilation (Meinhof [40]) and (nasal) assimilation (Herbert [21], Katamba and Hyman [28]) process. It is akin in nature to Japanese Rendaku (It� and Mester [25]) where the initial consonant in the second element of a compound is voiced, but this voicing is barred if another voiced segment is already present in the phonological domain. Whereas there is no restriction on the adjacency of the segments involved in Rendaku some notion of adjacency is called for in ML where only obstruents in a sequence of nasal+consonant clusters (henceforth NC?s or NC clusters) are affected by the rule. In its most general form, ML can be characterised as a process that disallows a sequence of two voiced obstruents within NC clusters, i.e. *NCvNC where both C?s are voiced. The goal of looking at ML in this paper is to more generally gain insights into the nature of phonological domains and to investigate whether, under the auspices of Government Phonology, we can relate the failure to sustain two voiced segments in ML, to a failure of licensing in a general way. For this purpose I will first present a characterisation of ML in Bantu and thereafter see what these data demand of the principle in (1), and the ramifications this has for licensing as a principle defining phonological domains in Government Phonology.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2015 10:51
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:29

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