Indexed Morphemes and Locality Conditions on Polish Yer Deletion

Jarosz, Gaja. May 2018. Indexed Morphemes and Locality Conditions on Polish Yer Deletion. 26th Manchester Phonology Meeting. Manchester, England.


Traditional analyses treat Polish yers, alternating vowels ([bɛz] ~[bzɨ] ‘lilac’), as exceptional segments that differ underlyingly from their non-alternating counterparts ([bɛz]~[bɛzɨ] ‘meringue’; Rubach 1986, Szpyra 1992). Gouskova (2012) reanalyzes Russian yers relying on indexed constraints (Kraska-Szlenk 1995, Pater 2000) and the whole morpheme exception hypothesis, positing that exceptionality is a property of morphemes, not segments. Rubach (2013, 2016) argues that the whole-morpheme approach is untenable since Gouskova’s analysis, which relies on an indexed context-free *MID constraint to trigger deletion in yer morphemes, fails to extend to Polish due to difficulties restricting deletion to observed contexts.

Contra Rubach, the present paper argues that a parallel, whole morpheme indexed constraint analysis is possible for Polish if yer morphemes undergo a deletion process driven by a context-sensitive markedness constraint *ɛCV (see also Rubach 2016) indexed to triggering morphemes AND the indexed constraint violations are evaluated locally. Morpheme-level exceptionality succeeds, and indeed is desirable for Polish, because the locus of alternation is entirely predictable (see Gouskova 2012 on Russian). Locality conditions on the activity of indexed morphemes derive the apparent underapplication of yer deletion (in so-called ‘yer chains’), which in traditional analyses is analyzed as an opaque bleeding-counterbleeding interaction.

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