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Optimality Theoretic Accounts of Child Word Truncation

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Abstract
The present study explores children's word truncation from the perspective of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993; McCarthy and Prince, 1994a), focusing on 'truncation of syllable conflation' (TSC) found in the child production of [bænə] for the target banána and [bun] for ballóon. Previous studies on early word truncation have revolved around 'truncation of syllable omission' (TSO). TSC has been regarded as a deviation from TSO and rarely discussed. It has long been observed both stressed and word-final syllables of the target are highly likely to be retained while non-final, unstressed syllables are prone to omission (e.g. tomato  [meto]). This observation does not hold true for TSC, where part of the word-initial unstressed syllable is produced (e.g. /b/ in banána [bænə]) while part of the stressed syllables is deleted (e.g. /n/ in banána [bænə]).
This study shows that TSC is a frequent phenomenon of child word productions. Of a total of 117 truncated productions by four children in Pater (1997), TSC accounts for 27%, while 62% amounts to TSO. Syllable conflation in fact occurs frequently in infants' word truncation: [poːkio] for Pinocchio (Allen and Hawkins, 1978); [baːnə] for banana and [bɔŋ] for belong (Smith, 1973); [peto] for potato (Kehoe and Stoel-Gammon, 1997b). TSC is significant in prosodic development since it can serve as evidence to back up the claim that children have some knowledge of the correct adult forms and they are aware of syllable structure from a very early age.
We observe that specific target words are subject to TSC: target words that are truncated through syllable conflation contain an intervocalic liquid (e.g. delicious  [dɪʃəs], garage  [ga:ʤ]), nasal (e.g. banana  [bænə]) or coronal stop /t/ (e.g. potato  [pedo]). We also show that some targets words like banana take different shapes of truncation according to children: some children produce [bænə] as TSC and others [nænə] as TSO. The major objective of the present study is to provide principled accounts of such variation as well as explanation of TSC. This is attained by an approach based on Optimality Theory (OT).
In order to construct an OT model of child phonology, assumptions are made: child grammars consist of the same universal constraints as adult phonology; the constraint hierarchy differs from child to child and across ages; the adult target word is the input form of child word. Under these assumptions, the issue of interpersonal variation in truncation is explained by different ranking of the same set of constraints. Developmental variation is also captured by the changing ranking of constraints over time.
Under the framework of OT, we account for the production of a trochaic foot, for which structural constraints PARSE-σ, FTBIN and ALIGNLEFT are employed, and the preservation of both stressed and word-final unstressed syllables (e.g. [méto] for tomáto, [ɛ́fɛnt] for élephant), for which we employ faithfulness constraints STRESS-FAITH and ANCHOR-RIGHTI-O. TSC is explicated by constraints on syllable onsets that militate against liquid and nasal onsets. Moreover, both TSC and TSO are explained in principled ways by the interaction of the same set of constraints on the output forms.
Author(s)
허성심
Issued Date
2011
Type
Dissertation
URI
http://dcoll.jejunu.ac.kr/jsp/common/DcLoOrgPer.jsp?sItemId=000000005326
Alternative Author(s)
Heo, Seong Sim
Affiliation
제주대학교
Department
대학원 영어영문학과
Advisor
이기숙
Table Of Contents
Abbreviation Keys …………………… iii
List of Constraints ……………………………………… iv
Abstract ……………………… v

Chapter 1 Preliminaries
1.1 Introduction ……………………………………… 1
1.2 Purpose of the study ………………………………… 5
1.3 Organization of the dissertation …………… 8
1.4 Introduction of the prosodic constituents …… 11

Chapter 2 Patterns of Child Word Truncation
2.1 Introduction ………………………… 20
2.2 Review of literature on truncation patterns …… 20
2.2.1 Truncation of disyllabic words ………………… 23
2.2.2 Truncation of multisyllabic words …… 27
2.3 Review of previous accounts of truncation ………… 32
2.3.1 Gerken's trochaic template ………… 33
2.3.2 Fikkert's circumscription theory ………… 40
2.3.3 Prosodic structure account ……………………… 45
2.3.4 Perceptual salience account ……………………… 52
2.4 Remaining issues and research questions … 56
2.4.1 Summary of previous accounts …………… 56
2.4.2 Remaining issues ……………………… 58

Chapter 3 Truncation of Syllable Conflation
3.1 Introduction ……………………………… 62
3.2 Data analysis ………………… 62
3.2.1 Database …………………… 63
3.2.2 Classification into TSO and TSC ………………… 64
3.2.3 Analysis of target words ……………………………… 74
3.3 Results and discussion …………………… 78
3.3.1 Summary and implication of TSC ………………… 78
3.3.2 Discussion …………………… 82
3.4 Scenarios of an account of TSC ………… 86

Chapter 4 Sonority-based Approach to Truncation
4.1 Introduction ……………… 89
4.2 Acoustic similarity of sonorant consonants to vowels ………………… 90
4.3 Sonority theory ……………………………… 94
4.3.1 Sonority and the perception of syllables ………… 95
4.3.2 Ladefoged's irregular sonority scale …………… 101
4.4 Account of TSC through sonority theory ……… 106
4.4.1 Assumptions ………………………… 106
4.4.2 Sonority profiles of garage, delicious and buffalo … 107
4.4.3 Unresolved problems ………………… 111
4.5 Elephant versus octopus ……………… 114
4.5.1 Resyllabification account revisited …………… 114
4.5.2 Sonority-based account …………………… 116
4.6 Summary and conclusion ……………… 119

Chapter 5 Optimality Theoretic Approach to Truncation
5.1 Introduction …………………………… 122
5.2 Overview of Optimality Theory ………………………… 123
5.2.1 Basic principles ………………………… 125
5.2.2 Interactions of markedness and faithfulness …… 128
5.3 Child OT grammar ………………………………… 131
5.3.1 Trochaic-foot production …………………… 133
5.3.2 Retention of the stressed and the word-final syllables ……… 135
5.4 Analysis of the onset choice ………… 148
5.4.1 Introduction …………………………………148
5.4.2 Onset markedness constraints 150
5.4.3 Contiguity constraint, I-CONTIG 157
5.4.4 Onset choice between two consonants 160
5.4.5 Rankings of constraints in truncation 173
5.4.6 Interpersonal and developmental variations 175
5.5 Conclusion ………………… 180

Chapter 6 Summary and Conclusion
6.1 Summary …………………182
6.2 Conclusion ………………………………… 186

References ………………………189
Appendix A: The English Vowel Chart 198
Appendix B: Truncations of WSW targets 199
Appendix C: Truncations of WS targets …………………201
Appendix D: Truncations of SWW targets …………203
Appendix E: Onset Choice in Truncations ……205


Acknowledgements ………………………………209
Degree
Doctor
Publisher
제주대학교 대학원
Citation
허성심. (2011). Optimality Theoretic Accounts of Child Word Truncation
Appears in Collections:
General Graduate School > English Language and Literature
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