Emergence of the Unmarked in Ponapean Nasal Substitution

by Philip Spaelti


The Micronesian language Ponapean replaces certain consonants in clusters with a corresponding nasal. The occurrence of this phenomenon with coronals is restricted in two ways not seen with non-coronals: a limitation on the context to reduplication, and an identity requirement on the consonants of the cluster. Both of these restrictions are explained as the interaction of coronal unmarkedness with the Emergence of the Unmarked constraint ranking schema.

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