UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Welsh Mutation and Strict Modularity

Breit, Florian; (2019) Welsh Mutation and Strict Modularity. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

[img] Text
Thesis (colour).pdf
Access restricted to UCL open access staff until 1 January 2021.

Download (3MB)

Abstract

The generative view of the language faculty is premised on the modularity of mind. In its most restrictive form, strict modularity, this predicts that phonological processes cannot be sensitive to syntactic information and vice versa. Initial Consonant Mutation in languages such as Welsh appear to falsify the strict modularity hypothesis in relation to the morphosyntax–phonology interface. This is because mutation involves the triggering of a phonologically regular process in a morphosyntactically determined environment. Consider the Welsh data in (1): (1) /kaθ/ ‘cat’ (a) [i χaθ] ‘her cat’ (b) [i kaθ] ‘his cat’ The plosive–fricative alternation in (1) cannot be purely phonological in nature, because the phonological environment in (1a) and (1b) is identical. The only differentiating factor is the gender of the possessive pronoun. This is problematic because it appears as though the phonology must make reference to information proper to morphosyntax. Virtually all preceding accounts of Welsh mutation violate strict modularity. These accounts employ ad-hoc diacritics to mark mutation environments in the morphosyntax. In most accounts, the diacritics are assumed to persist across the interface into phonology, where they can trigger phonological processes. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the diacritics trigger some form of suppletion on the mutation target. However, approaches in the latter category also necessarily appeal to phonology in a manner not compatible with strict modularity. In this thesis I propose a new model of Welsh mutation, combining the floating feature approach of Lieber (1983) with phonologically conditioned allomorphy within a Distributed Morphology framework. I show that Welsh mutation can be accounted for successfully in this way without violating strict modularity. The account is more restrictive and makes better predictions, in particular predicting that variation is trigger-dependent. I develop the first in-depth analysis of items that are exceptionally immutable, proposing that they begin with an empty CV-sequence, a structure independently motivated by weight in Welsh and initial sC(C)-sequences in Irish.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Welsh Mutation and Strict Modularity
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087726
Downloads since deposit
2Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item