1. Issues in Dutch devoicing: Positional faithfulness, positional markedness, and local conjunction

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The voice phenomena of Dutch are among the most complex and elusive described in the (theoretical) literature of the past few decades (Lombardi 1999, Wetzels & Mascaró 2001). This paper starts by giving a comprehensive overview of the pertinent facts, and then shows how theories such as the rule-based framework and nonlinear Principles and Parameter theory have struggled to come to grips with them. The point of the paper’s second half is a demonstration of how in Optimality Theory, Lombardi’s theory of voice is well equipped to cover Dutch, specifically its awkward language-specific phenomena of fricative devoicing and past tense progressive assimilation, assuming the mechanism of local conjunction (and, in fact, self-conjunction), involving the in itself uncontroversial *LAR (‘no voice (on an obstruent)’) constraint. Pace earlier accounts, the proposed analysis preserves the privativity of the feature [voice], and – within OT – the ‘positional faithfulness’ spirit of Lombardi’s approach to voice.


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