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Headedness and licensing constraints in the phonotactics of (Old) French

Abstract : This paper addresses the question of the evolution k → t and g → d from Latin to (Old) French. Briefly stated, k,g become t,d when followed by a front (syncopated) vowel plus a rhotic consonant , and preceded by a consonant (e.g. Lat. vinc(e)re > OFr. veintre). Of particular interest is the case of k which is expected to become ʦ (→ s) in the vicinity of a front vowel. The reason why k does not undergo palatalization in forms like vintre lies in the phonotactics of (Old) French. This language disallows any occurrence of sibilant+rhotic, although it complies with the sonority profile of a branching onset. Stated informally within the Government Phonology framework, this means that a sibilant cannot license a rhotic consonant in French. The loss of the front vowel in forms like vincere results in an illicit *ʦr or *sr, which is reinterpreted as tr, leading to veintre.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02072431
Contributor : Mohamed Lahrouchi <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 1, 2019 - 11:16:37 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 3:37:01 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02072431, version 1

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Mohamed Lahrouchi. Headedness and licensing constraints in the phonotactics of (Old) French. Phonological Theory Agora, The Balance Between Universals and Variation in Grammar, Mar 2019, Nice, France. ⟨halshs-02072431⟩

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