From Elizabeth Hume (email@example.com)
Hume, Elizabeth. 2016. Phonological Markedness and its Relation to the Uncertainty of Words. Phonological Studies. Journal of the Phonology Society of Japan.
Abstract. The goal of this brief paper is to sketch out an alternative way of understanding phonological asymmetries, that is, markedness patterns. Building on Hall, Hume, Jaeger and Wedel (forthcoming), it is proposed that such patterns reflect modifications to the amount of redundancy in the signal in response to the uncertainty associated with the message being transmitted. Increases/decreases in redundancy are biased toward efficient and robust message transfer. The trade-off between these biases is in balance for some phonological-units-in-context within the message while not for others. The former are reflected in patterns that tend to recur with regularity cross-linguistically, traditionally referred to as unmarked sound patterns. The latter, marked patterns, are prone to change and are underrepresented typologically. This reconceptualization successfully predicts observed markedness patterns and, we suggest, provides a deeper understanding of why asymmetrical sound patterns exist.