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The typology of the distribution of Edge: the propensity for bipositionality

Abstract : We discuss the grammatical conditions that can be imposed between segmental content (features) and syllable structure (positions) and how a representational preference can influence diachronic development. The discussion centers on the co-distribution of two properties: occlusivity and bipositionality. The first is the phonological feature that induces occlusivity and reduces amplitude (|ʔ| that we will refer to as Edge(*)), the second is the autosegmental structural property of belonging to multiple positions (C.C). Edge(*) and bipositionality have a universal affinity but they are not reducible to each other. Instead, the inherent diachronic tendency to preserve Edge(*) in bipositional structures becomes grammaticalised through licensing conditions that dictate the alignment of the two properties. This can be expressed bidirectionally forming two major language types. Type A has the condition stated from the featural perspective (Edge(*) must be found in C.C). While, Type B comes from the other direction (C.C must contain Edge(*)). Crucially, the same structure is diachronically stable: (Edge(*)-C.C). What varies is the distribution of those properties elsewhere (given the direction of licensing condition). Type A excludes Edge(*) from {#__,V_V}, while Type B excludes C.Cs without Edge(*). Although there is variation on this point, there is a UG component, because there are no anti-Type A/B languages where Edge(*) repels bipositionality.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01415037
Contributor : Mohamed Lahrouchi <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 12, 2016 - 5:36:58 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 6:35:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 12:15:57 AM

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Shanti Ulfsbjorninn, Mohamed Lahrouchi. The typology of the distribution of Edge: the propensity for bipositionality. Papers in Historical Phonology, 2016, 1, ⟨10.2218/pihph.1.2016.1696⟩. ⟨halshs-01415037⟩

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