Rendaku and Identity Avoidance

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Recent experimental studies of rendaku show that when rendaku results in adjacent identical CV moras, rendaku is inhibited. However, these experiments have only tested the Identity Avoidance effect at the CV moraic level. The current study tests whether Identity Avoidance at the consonantal level affects the applicability of rendaku. This paper shows that Japanese speakers avoid creating identical consonants in adjacent moras, although this effect is weaker than moraic Identity Avoidance. In addition to this new discovery, this paper has several theoretical implications: (1) a restriction that is operative in many other languages is also operative in Japanese, revealing an intriguing cross-linguistic parallel, (2) Identity Avoidance at different phonological levels can coexist within a single language, and (3) the strength of the avoidance effect positively correlates with the degree of similarity.


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