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A faithfulness conspiracy

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Abstract

Children frequently reduce marked target structures to unmarked outputs. However, multiple reduction strategies are often available, and pinpointing a principle that unifies them can be difficult. This paper examines several markedness-reducing processes in Amahl&#8217;s developing phonology (Smith 1973), showing that seemingly unrelated repairs actually had a coherent objective: to avoid the accumulation of multiple repairs. This finding is significant on two levels: first, the pattern challenges analyses that rely on ranked constraints, in which violations cannot accumulate across constraints; second, it appears that multiple phonological processes (unfaithful by definition) conspire to preserve faithfulness. This pattern is defined as a <i>faithfulness conspiracy</i>, and the concept is fleshed out with other examples from Amahl&#8217;s development as well as cases from fully-developed languages.

References

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