Kawahara (2016): The orthographic characterization of rendaku and Lyman’s Law

The orthographic characterization of rendaku and Lyman’s Law
Shigeto Kawahara
April 2016
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002935)

Rendaku is a process in Japanese by which the first consonant of a second member of a compound becomes voiced (e.g., /oo/ + /tako/ → /oo+dako/ ‘big octopus’). Lyman’s Law blocks rendaku when the second member already contains a voiced obstruent (/oo/ + /tokage/ → */oo+dokage/, /oo+tokage/ ‘big lizard’). Lyman’s Law, as a constraint which prohibits a morpheme with two voiced obstruents, is also known to trigger devoicing of geminates in loanwords (e.g. /beddo/ → /betto/ ‘bed’). Rendaku and Lyman’s Law have been very well studied in the past phonological literature. Inspired by recent work that shows the interplay between orthographic factors and grammatical factors in shaping our phonological behaviors, this paper proposes a rather radical alternative interpretation of rendaku and Lyman’s Law. Concretely, I argue that they operate over Japanese orthography. Rendaku is a process to assign dakuten diacritics, and Lyman’s Law prohibits morphemes with two diacritics. The paper shows that various properties of rendaku and Lyman’s Law follow from this proposal.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002935
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/002935)
Published in: Under review
keywords: rendaku, lyman’s law, japanese, orthotactics, devoicing, opacity, underspecification, phonology