Edited by Danièle Torck and W. Leo Wetzels
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 303] 2009
► pp. 111–126
Towards a formal account of a contrast maintaining phonetically motivated sound change
This paper proposes an OT account of diachronic and synchronic Romance lenition based on the theory of Comparative Markedness. The analysis, contrary to previous analyses, allows for a straightforward description of synchronic allophonic lenition processes where voicing and spirantization take place simultaneously without loss of contrast. The comparative markedness analysis of lenition not only allows for a parallel OT description of counter-feeding opacity in synchronic Gran Canarian, Corsican and Sardinian lenition, but moreover makes understandable why sound change should start out in a counter-feeding fashion.