Giorgio Magri - atelier phonologie
59/61, rue Pouchet, Paris; salle 159
Giorgio Magri (SFL)
Idempotency and the faithfulness triangular inequality: some consequences of McCarthy's (2003) categoricity generalization
Abstract - Children manage to acquire some of the target phonology at an early stage when morphology is still lagging behind and little information on the underlying forms is therefore available (Hayes 2004). How is that possible? Many authors have suggested that, throughout this initial learning stage, the child pairs any training surface form with a corresponding identical, completely faithful underlying form (Prince and Tesar 2014). This learning strategy is computationally sound provided the target grammar is idempotent, namely it effectively does not repair phonotactically licit forms but let them surface faithfully. Which conditions guarantee idempotency? This talk addresses this question within two constraint-based phonological frameworks, OT and HG. Within both frameworks, idempotence is shown to be related to the condition that the faithfulness constraints measure the phonological distance between underlying and surface forms in compliance with a crucial axiom of the definition of distance, namely that any side of a triangle is shorter than the sum of the other two sides. In the case of OT, the connection between idempotency and the faithfulness triangular inequality is established through a proper formalization of McCarthy's (2003) categoricity generalization.