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Cobb, Margaret (1997) Conditions on nuclear expressions in phonology. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis aims to provide a principled account of the distribution of 'tense'/'lax', and 'high/low' vowels in vowel harmony systems. It is based on the principles and parameters of Government Phonology in which variation is accounted for by possible combinations of parameter settings. To explain variation in 'tense/lax' and high/low' distribution, I exploit the interaction of the parametric aspects of three universal mechanisms: Licensing Constraints, Head-licensing (both Kaye (1993b)), and the Complexity Condition (Harris (1990a)). The type of language data this thesis seeks to account for has received some attention in the phonological literature, in terms of other frameworks as well as Government Phonology. These treatments are evaluated here. Two of the three main tools employed are recent inclusions in Government Phonology. The role of Licensing Constraints as parameters on element distribution is explored in the context of the principles and parameters drawn on in this thesis. Licensing Constraints have certain repercussions for other aspects of the theory. These are explored in detail. Licensing Constraints interact with Head-Licensing, a principle explaining 'ATR' distribution. Additionally, I claim that some aspects of Head-Licensing are subject to parametric variation. The possible combinations of parameter settings are presented, illustrated with a variety of language data. The Complexity Condition is claimed to apply parametrically in processes taking place at the level of nuclear projection. As Head-Licensing occurs at this level, some languages are expected to enforce the Complexity Condition. I examine cases where this takes place, and the variety of strategies employed by languages for its maintenance. Finally, I explore how the interaction of Licensing Constraints, Head- Licensing and the Complexity Condition might provide a unified account of harmony processes traditionally described in terms of 'raising', 'lowering', '+ATR' and '- ATR'. I evaluate, and propose analyses of some cases from the literature.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:28

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