The basic types of lenition environments (‘initial’, ‘intervocalic’, ‘final’) need to be separately evaluated as they differ along parameters like word position (e.g., pre-consonantal vs. final codas) or stress relations. This paper argues that we need to recognise an additional such parameter: the length of the vowel preceding an intervocalic consonant. We show that a number of phenomena from varieties of English and German show lenition patterns which draw a distinction between reflexes found in post-short (vc) and post-long (vvc) environments. The theoretical consequence of our observations is that phonological theory needs to be able to account for the post-short vs. post-long distinction in the form of a parametrically-determined representational difference.
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’).