15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)
Phonological alternations often serve to modify forms so that they respect a phonotactic restriction that applies across the language. For example, the voicing alternation in the English plural produces word-final sequences that respect the general ban against a voiceless obstruent followed by a voiced one. Since Chomsky and Halle (1968), it has been assumed that an adequate theory of phonology should capture the connection between phonotactics and alternations by deriving them using a shared mechanism. There is, however, no psycholinguistic evidence that speakers actually do use a single mechanism to encode phonotactics and alternations. In this study, we used an artificial language learning experiment to test whether an alternation that meets a phonotactic target is easier to learn than one that does not. The initial results suggest that phonotactic knowledge does aid in the acquisition of alternations.
Bibliographic reference. Pater, Joe / Tessier, Anne-Michelle (2003): "Phonotactic knowledge and the acquisition of alternations", In ICPhS-15, 1177-1180.