Cyclicity and non-cyclicity in Maltese: Local ordering of phonology and morphology in OT-CC
Matthew Wolf
June 2012

Stress in Maltese provides some of the foundational arguments for the cycle in phonology (Brame 1974). One piece of evidence for the cycle in Maltese occurs in perfective verbs with pronominal (object-marking) suffixes. Here, syncope of vowels in unstressed, non-final open syllables underapplies in manner which suggests that, prior to object suffixation, there is a cycle of stress on the stem (plus the subject suffix, if any). Odden (1990, 1993) points out a paradoxical exception to this pattern: vowel-final (third weak radical) verbs with object suffixes fail to show this evidence of an inner-cycle stress. In this paper I propose an analysis of the asymmetry between C-final and V-final stems cast within Optimal Interleaving (OI: Wolf 2008), a theory of phonology-morphology interaction situated within McCarthy's (2007) OT with Candidate Chains. The analysis relies crucially on the fact that extrinsic ordering in OT-CC is enforced via pairwise ordering requirements (the PREC constraints) which are violable and potentially conflicting: normally Maltese requires that stress be assigned prior to object suffixation, but this is over-ridden with V-final stems by a requirement that stress assignment take place after (pre-suffixal) vowel lengthening. It has previously been noted (Wilson 2006; Wolf 2009, 2010) that OT-CC is able to produce such transitivity paradoxes in ordering, echoing in certain ways Anderson's (1969, 1974) theory of Local Ordering, which also treats ordering as a pairwise relation. The Maltese facts suggest that this ability is desirable in a theory of phonology-morphology ordering relations.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001319
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in volume on Harmonic Serialism and Harmonic Grammar edited by John McCarthy and Joe Pater
keywords: maltese, cyclicity, local ordering, stress, syncope, candidate chains, optimal interleaving, ot-cc, oi, morphology, phonology
previous versions: v2 [October 2011]
v1 [August 2011]
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