A faithfulness ranking projected from a perceptibility scale: The case of [+ voice] in japanese

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Within the framework of optimality theory (Prince & Smolensky 2004), Steriade (2001a,b) proposes the P-map hypothesis, whose fundamental tenet is that the rankings of faithfulness constraints are grounded in perceptual-similarity rankings. This article provides empirical support for this hypothesis. In Japanese loanword phonology, a voiced geminate, but not a singleton, devotees to dissimilate from another voiced obstruent within a single stem. Based on this observation, I argue that the [+ voice] feature is protected by two different faithfulness constraints, IDENT(+ voi) Sing and IDENT(+ voi) Gem, and they are ranked as IDENT(+ voi) Sing » IDENT(+ voi) Gem in Japanese. I further argue that this ranking is grounded in the relative perceptibility of [+ voice] in singletons and geminates, and this claim is experimentally supported. The general theoretical implication is that phonetic perceptibility can directly influence patterns in a phonological grammar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-574
Number of pages39
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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