The phonotactics of word-initial clusters in Romance

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This contribution tackles the subject of consonant cluster phonotactics in word-initial position, focusing particularly on Romance. It calls attention to the presence of languages where clusters of obstruents, usually displaying a heterosyllabic behaviour crosslinguistically, are accommodated in word-initial position in languages that consistently repair sonority reversals. These languages represent a challenge for phonological theory since they do not fit into the binary phonotactic typology predicted by all generative theories dealing with the word-initial position, which set apart languages allowing only sonority raising tautosyllabic clusters from languages that potentially may accommodate any kind of non-tautosyllabic clusters. The possibility that, as opposed to sonority reversals, obstruent clusters may be tautosyllabic or monosegmental should be allowed in order for the theory to reach full empirical coverage. This contribution presents some arguments in favour of such a stance.


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