[BATURAY-MERAL & VAN OOSTENDORP] The Mystery of phonological exceptions

The Mystery of phonological exceptions: The pointed empty nucleus account

Semra Baturay-Meral
Marc van Oostendorp

(reviewers: Sofia Alexei, Tomaso Balsemin)

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Abstract : Missing details in phonology may cause certain intra-linguistic variations to be labelled as exceptions. A further and in-depth look at the data may raise our awareness as to the unnoticed generalizations about these exceptions. In the present study, we aim to reveal a new type of empty nucleus: the Pointed Empty Nucleus (PON), the existence of which is hidden in so-called exceptions to the word-final phonotactic restrictions among languages such as Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Malayalam and Turkish. Accordingly, we claim that these exceptions are not really exceptions because they respect the restrictions of the relevant language thanks to the PON. In addition, we propose that the PON also theoretically explains certain other intriguing issues in phonology, such as the existence of the adjacent empty nuclei, as well as heavy consonant clusters in some languages like Polish and English, without any complex licensing formulations or stipulative domain accounts. In addition, the sCC clusters are naturally accounted for by the PON, which eliminates Magic Licensing from phonological theory. The syllabic consonants, a mysterious topic of phonology, is also reanalyzed by means of the PON account.

Baturay-Meral, Semra & van Oostendorp, Marc. 2023. “The Mystery of phonological exceptions: the pointed empty nucleus account”. Radical: A Journal of Phonology, 3, 280-345.