Dissertation Defence Jeroen Breteler

A foot-based typology of tonal reassociation: Perspectives from synchrony and learnability

30May2018 14:00


On 30 May next, Jeroen Breteler will defend his doctoral thesis. For a short abstract, see below.


Tonal reassociation is a phonological phenomenon where a lexical tone surfaces in positions that the tone did not occupy underlyingly. Linguistic theory must answer why reassociation occurs and how surface targets are determined. In addition, it must account for the crosslinguistic variation in tonal reassociation patterns.
This dissertation develops an analytical framework for tonal reassociation based on the interaction between tone and foot structure. Feet function as licensors for tone, driving and restraining tonal reassociation. Two case studies motivate this framework: one of ternary spread-and-shift in Saghala, and one of quantity-sensitive ternary tone spread in Copperbelt Bemba.
A third study investigates the typology predicted by the foot-based approach. The approach accounts for much or all of the considered variation, but also shows overgeneration. The fourth study accounts for this overgeneration by considering the learnability of analyses for reassociation patterns. Attested patterns are learnable, and more easily so than unattested ones, if learners consider production and comprehension errors in tandem.


prof. dr. P.P.Boersma,  ACLC and prof. dr. R.W.J. Kager, UU

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Published by  ACLC