Japanese geminate devoicing once again: Insights from Information Theory
Shigeto Kawahara
May 2016

This paper is about devoicing of voiced obstruent geminates found in Japanese loanword phonology. Nishimura (2003) discovered that voiced geminates can optionally devoice when they co-occur with another voiced obstruent (e.g. /beddo/ → [betto] "bed" and /doggu/ → [dokku] "dog"). I myself proposed an Optimality Theoretic (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004) analysis of this devoicing in Kawahara (2006), based on the P-map theory (Steriade, 2001/2008), which attempted to explain the phonological pattern from the phonetic properties of voiced geminates in Japanese. In that analysis, however, phonetic properties of voiced geminates in Japanese were given, rather than explained, and those were exploited to explain the phonological pattern. In this paper, I sketch an alternative explanation of this geminate devoicing pattern based on Information Theory (Shannon, 1948), which demonstrably explains both the phonetic and phonological patterns of voiced geminates.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002904
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of FAJL 8
keywords: japanese, geminate, devoicing, ocp, information theory, entropy, phonetic implementation, phonology
previous versions: v2 [March 2016]
v1 [March 2016]
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