Labrune (2014) argues that Japanese /r/ is structurally empty. This reply points out that the phonological characteristics of /r/ which are discussed by Labrune (2014) come with many systematic exceptions, and hence they are better modeled by violable constraints. To illustrate how violable constraints accommodate such systematic exceptions, alternative analyses based onOptimality Theory (Prince&Smolensky, 2004) are presented. This reply also points out that the three constraints on /r/ that are discussed by Labrune (2014) are in fact not specific to /r/, and therefore, motivating structural emptiness based on these patterns would face a problem of not being able to distinguish /r/ from other segments. Based on these considerations, this reply concludes that /r/ (and other segments) in Japanese should have segmental contents.
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