B. Storme (SFL) Phonologically-conditioned cyclicity in Standard French
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The phonology of derivatives can be regular (i.e. it obeys the language’s phonotactics) or cyclic (i.e. the derivative bears resemblance to its derivational base beyond what is predicted by the language’s phonotactics). This talk reports preliminary evidence for a pattern of phonologically-conditioned cyclicity in Standard French (SF), where the realization of a mid vowel as close-mid or open-mid in the final syllable of a derivative’s stem (e.g. ê in fêt-ard ‘partier’ from fête ‘party’) is cyclic when a schwa can or must occur between the stem and the suffix (e.g. coqu-(e)-let [kɔk(ə)le] ‘hen-DIM ’ from coq [kɔk] ‘hen’) but regular otherwise (e.g. fêt-(*e)-ard [fetar] ‘partier’ from fête [fɛt] ‘party’). The evidence is preliminary because only the data of 4 among the 10 participants who participated in the acoustic study (from Paris, age: 20-30) have been fully analyzed yet. The model with phonologically-conditioned cyclicity was found to provide the best fit to the acoustic data as compared to a fully phonotactic model, a fully cyclic model, and a model with morphologically-conditioned cyclicity (derivation vs. inflection). The vowel of the suffix is also shown to affect the realization of the stem mid vowel, in accordance with previous results on V-to-V coarticulation in Standard French (Nguyen and Fagyal 2008). All in all, the results of this study (if confirmed when all participants are considered) add to the body of evidence suggesting that preschwa syllables have a special status in French (Durand 1976, Selkirk 1978).