Testing OCP-labial effect on Japanese rendaku
Gakuji Kumagai
November 2017

Japanese rendaku is a morphophonological phenomenon in which a morpheme-initial voiceless obstruent becomes voiced when it is the non-initial member of a compound. There are a number of factors that inhibit rendaku. A well-known factor is a voiced obstruent: Rendaku does not apply if the second member of compounds contains a voiced obstruent (i.e. Lyman’s Law, or OCP (-son, voice)). This paper focuses on another factor to block rendaku. Although /h/ usually becomes labial [b] when rendaku applies (e.g., hako ‘box’ + hune ‘ship’ → hakobune ‘ark’), the rendaku application of /h/ is blocked if the following consonant is labial [m] (e.g., suna ‘sand’ + hama ‘beach’ → sunahama ‘sand beach’/*sunabama). One hypothesis about this rendaku blocking is that, if /h/ became labial [b], it would beget a sequence of homorganic consonants [b...m], which would violate a putative OCP-labial effect. The current paper is the first report of an experiment that examined whether this restriction applies productively to nonce words that contain labial consonants. The results show that 1) the OCP- labial effect can be generalized in rendaku; 2) it works locally rather than non-locally; and 3) the applicability of rendaku is gradient: The more similar two consonants are, the more strongly they are disfavored. To account for this gradient effect, I argue that the process involves two OCP-labial constraints: OCP (labial) and OCP (labial, -continuant).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003290
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Revision submitted, Glossa
keywords: japanese; rendaku; ocp-labial effect; phonology
previous versions: v2 [May 2017]
v1 [January 2017]
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