Phonology: case studies

By Scott Myers and Megan Crowhurst
Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas

Derivational analysis of vowel deletion

The restriction on distribution (*V#V) defines a position where a vowel cannot occur. As in a neutralization distribution, the underlying representation of an alternating morpheme must include the restricted class of sounds. So in this case, the underlying representation must include the vowel: /kuβóna, umŋâ:na, umu:nɦu, aβa:nɦu, umugaβo, iɟitaβo, inɦéβe, iŋguɾuβe/. To derive the consonant-final alternant, then, we need to posit a rule that deletes the word-final vowel before a vowel:

V → ø / ___ # V

Underlying representation  /umu:nɦu muníni/   /umu:nɦu aku:ndá/ 
Vowel deletion -----  /umu:nɦ aku:ndá/ 
Surface representation  [umu:nɦumuníni]   [umu:nɦaku:ndá] 

OT analysis