The orthographic characterization of rendaku and Lyman’s Law
Shigeto Kawahara
September 2017

affected by orthography, and phonological constraints can refer to them. The specific case study comes from a morphophonological alternation in Japanese, rendaku. Rendaku is a process by which the first consonant of the second member of a compound becomes voiced (e.g., /oo/ + /tako/ => [oo+dako] "big octopus"). Lyman's Law blocks rendaku when the second member already contains a voiced obstruent (/oo/ + /tokage/ => *[oo+dokage], [oo+tokage] "big lizard"). Lyman's Law, as a constraint which prohibits a morpheme with two voiced obstruents, is also known to trigger devoicing of geminates in loanwords (e.g. /beddo/ => [betto] "bed"). Rendaku and Lyman's Law have been extensively studied in the past phonological literature. Inspired by recent work that shows the interplay between orthographic factors and grammatical factors in shaping our phonological behaviors, this paper proposes that rendaku and Lyman's Law actually operate on Japanese orthography. Rendaku is a process that assigns dakuten diacritics, and Lyman's Law prohibits morphemes with two diacritics. The paper shows that a set of properties of rendaku and Lyman's Law follow from this proposal. However, since some aspects of rendaku and Lyman's Law are undoubtedly phonological, the ultimate conclusion is that it is most fruitful to recognize a model of phonology in which it has access to orthographic information. Several consequences of the current proposal are discussed.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002935
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Glossa
keywords: rendaku, lyman's law, japanese, orthotactics, devoicing, opacity, underspecification, phonology
previous versions: v4 [September 2017]
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