Opacity in Tiberian Hebrew: Morphology, not Phonology release_tlnk2tj56rhgjennnb5bo6qqcy

by Antony D. Green

Published .



The phenomenon of phonological opacity has been the subject of much debate in recent years, with scholars opposed to the Optimality Theory (OT) research program arguing that opacity proves OT must be false, while the solutions proposed within OT, such as sympathy theory and stratal OT , have proved to be unsatisfying to many OT proponents, who have found these proposals to be inconsistent with the parallelist approach to phonological processes otherwise characteristic of OT. In this paper I reexamine one of the best known cases of opacity, that found in three processes of Tiberian Hebrew (TH), and argue that these processes only appear to be opaque, because previous analyses have treated them as pure phonology, rather than as an interaction between phonology and morphology. Once it is recognized that certain words of TH are lexically marked to end with a syllabic trochee, and that the goal of paradigm uniformity exerts grammatical pressure on phonology, the three processes no longer present a problem to parallelist OT. The results suggest the possibility that all crosslinguistic instances of apparent opacity can be explained in terms of the phonology-morphology interface and that purely phonological opacity does not exist. If this claim is true, then parallelist OT can be defended against its detractors without the need for additional mechanisms like sympathy theory and stratal OT.
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