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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spell-out of phonological domains : the case of Slovenian Božič, Jurij


Novo mesto Slovenian, a South Slavic language, exhibits a process of unstressed /i/-deletion that appears to be construction-specific: it applies in verbs and participles, but not in other word classes, such as nouns or adjectives under identical phonotactic conditions. This thesis proposes a phonological analysis of this deletion process, which determines that the masculine plural exponent /-i/ may attach to a participial stem, as in [ptc]-/i/, and undergo deletion under specific phonotactic conditions, but it may also attach to a nominal or adjectival stem, as in [adj]-/i/, where it is preserved in the same phonotactic conditions in which it deletes with participles. This process of construction-specific vowel deletion cannot be derived by the standard approaches to construction-specific phonology, such as Cophonology Theory (Orgun 1996; Inkelas et al. 1997; Inkelas & Zoll 2007; Inkelas 2008, 2011), or the grammar with phonological levels (Cyclic/Word/Phrase level) as in Embick (2013), which stems from Halle & Vergnaud (1987) and effectively mirrors Lexical Phonology (Kiparsky 1982a,b; Mohanan 1986). The problem is rooted in the way these approaches define phonological domains. A system with the fixed distinction between Cyclic and Word levels is shown to be inadequate. This thesis subscribes to the research program laid out in Marvin (2002), Marantz (2007), Samuels (2009), Piggott & Travis (2013) and Newell & Piggott (2014), which seeks to interpret the phasal cyclicity of syntax (Chomsky 2001, 2008) as a locality boundary that defines phonological domains. It is shown that a simple generalization on the /i/-deletion facts can be formulated by making reference to phases as phonological spell- out domains. In addition, this thesis proposes a tentative formal solution to the problem of deriving the deletion of the masculine plural /-i/: since the deletion effect is specified in the stem to which the /-i/ attaches, it is proposed that the phonological grammar stores phonology-specification in a buffer, which may persist to the end of the spell-out domain as set by the phase. Through this, the stem-specified deletion phonology effects the masculine plural suffix /-i/.

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