Vocalic adjustments under positional markedness in Catalan and other Romance languages*

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While in a wide range of phonological theories preservation under prominence is a well noticed effect, there are few explanations for the accumulation of prominent properties in a particular position. Both tendencies, however, as well as their interaction, are particularly suited to formal expression within Optimality Theory. The aim of this paper is to show that the word-initial position is a site of vowel preservation (Positional Faithfulness) and a point of attraction of salient features (Positional Markedness). The focus is on the less familiar effect of get-together prominent elements in order to shed new light on several vocalic adjustments that have been unsatisfactorily explained in the traditional literature of Romance languages. Key Words: Vowel change; epenthesis; prominence; Positional Faithfulness; Positional Markedness; Optimality Theory; Catalan; Romance languages.


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