Is Phonological Consonant Epenthesis Possible? A Series of Artificial Grammar Learning Experiments
Rebecca Morley
September 2017

Consonant epenthesis is typically assumed to be part of the basic repertoire of phonological gram- mars. This implies that there exists some set of linguistic data that entails the selection of epenthesis as the best analysis. However, a series of artificial grammar learning experiments found no evidence that learners ever selected an epenthesis analysis. Instead, strong phonetic and morphological biases were revealed, along with individual variation in how learners generalized and regularized their input. These results, in combination with previous work, suggest that synchronic consonant epenthesis may only emerge very rarely, from a gradual accumulation of changes over time. It is argued that the theoretical status of epenthesis must be reconsidered in light of these results, and that analysis of the sufficient learning conditions, and the diachronic developments necessary to produce those conditions, are of central importance to synchronic theory generally.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003354
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: unpublished
keywords: consonant epenthesis; artificial grammar; phonetics; morphology; diachrony; rule inversion, phonology
previous versions: v1 [March 2017]
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