Paradoxical paradigms! Evidence from Lebanese Arabic phonology

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Examinations of Optimal Paradigms (McCarthy, 2005) suggest that only phonological outputs of inflectional paradigms obey Optimal Paradigm constraints, whereby each member of a given paradigm strives to resemble the phonological structure of each other member of that paradigm. Words that are derived from “base” words, on the other hand, are claimed to obey Base-Output constraints which require all members of the paradigm to conform to the structure of one member selected as a Base. In this study, we examine Lebanese Arabic paradigms of sound regular, sound geminate, weak hollow, and weak defective verbs. Lebanese Arabic verbal paradigms show that while Base-Output constraints do play a role in determining the phonological structure of related words derived from a base, Optimal Paradigm constraints also participate in such morphology. The outcome is paradoxical paradigms in which members strive to resemble a Base while at the same time trying to resemble each other phonologically.


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