Update – this paper will appear in Phonology in 2018. The final manuscript version is available here: https://works.bepress.com/joe_pater/34/. Comments are still welcome, and those on the earlier version by Jardine and McCollum are still applicable.
Pater, Joe. 2016. Substance matters: A reply to Jardine (2016). Ms, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Abstract. Jardine (2016) points out an interesting shared formal property of two types of phonological pattern, termed “Unbounded Plateauing” and “Sour Grapes”: for a given segment, whether or not it undergoes a featural change can only be determined by examining a potentially unbounded string both before, and after that segment. In this short paper, I point out that Jardine’s tonal Sour Grapes example, Copperbelt Bemba unbounded tonal spreading (Kula and Bickmore 2015), is in crucial respects unlike the hypothetical pattern that Bakovic (2000: 217ff.), Wilson (2003), McCarthy (2011) and others have pointed out is generally unattested in unbounded spreading. It appears that “true” Sour Grapes is just as much unattested for tone as it is for other features. The generalizations that only “apparent” Sour Grapes is attested, and that it is attested only for tone, can be captured by OT, but not by Formal Language Theory as presented in Jardine (2016).