English represents stress-sensitive consonant lenition systems, in which the onsets of stressed syllables (as well as word-initial consonants) tend to resist diachronic lenition, resulting in synchronic alternations between foot-initial and foot-internal variants. However, there is empirical evidence that a further distinction needs to be drawn between two subtypes of foot-internal positions: one which is weak proper, included within a bimoraic domain (corresponding to the “minimal foot” in prosodic approaches); and a less weak (“semi-weak”) position outside that minimal domain. Crucially, lenition outside the domain implies lenition within, and no cases of lenition in semi-weak only are on record. The paper uses the representations of Strict CV Phonology to capture the equivalence of two forms of the “minimal foot” (the CVCV sequence and the long-vowelled heavy syllable) and to connect this “bimoraicity” of the domain to the implications in consonant lenition, a benefit moraic theory does not offer. At the same time, it properly predicts the non-existence of the unattested lenition pattern.
Authors:Katalin Balogné Bérces and Patrick Honeybone
We place the healthy diversity of current (i.e., early 21st-century) phonological theory under scrutiny, and identify the four fundamental approaches that make it up: Rule-Based Phonology, Representation-Based Phonology, Constraint-Based Phonology, and Usage-Based Phonology. We then focus on the key aspects of and recent developments in Representation-Based Phonology: we separate out hybrid models and purely representational ones, we identify Government Phonology (GP) as the most popular form of the latter (and show that it is even present in what we call ‘GP-friendly’ analyses), and finally, we discuss and illustrate recent innovations in both subsegmental and prosodic structure in the two strands that we identify as ‘hyperhierarchical’ (or ‘vertical’) and ‘flat’ (or ‘horizontal’).