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Locality Domains and Phonological c-Command over Strings

Graf, Thomas

Abstract A lot of recent work in computational phonology seeks to pinpoint the complexity of phonotactic dependencies from a formal perspective. Numerous mathematical classes have been proposed, but Graf (2017) subsumes them all under the umbrella of interval-based strictly piecewise dependencies (IBSP). IBSP treats all phonological structures as strings that are subject to non-local constraints. Every local dependency is reanalyzed as a non-local constraint that is restricted to a locality domain of bounded size. If all phonotactic dependencies are IBSP, then we should only encounter phenomena that are either local or non-local, but not both. I show that this prediction is not borne out: several attested phenomena combine local and non-local information. However, a more relaxed notion of locality domains allows IBSP to produce these patterns while avoiding overgeneration. The make-up of these relaxed locality domains bears a striking resemblance to c-command in syntax, supporting the idea that phonology and syntax may be closely related on a computational level.

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@inproceedings{Graf18NELS,
    author = {Graf, Thomas},
    title = {Locality Domains and Phonological c-Command Over Strings},
    year = {2018},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of {NELS} 2017},
    url = {http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004080},
    note = {To appear},
}

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