UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 9 (1997)

Melodic structure in a nasal-voice paradox


This paper addresses the apparently paradoxical behaviour of nasals in Yamato Japanese, where voice is active for nasals in postnasal voicing but inactive in Rendaku (Itô et al 1995). In order to explain this paradox, I propose that the two primes conventionally used to denote nasality and voicing are identical, and that the difference is determined by the notion of headship: the headed prime contributes voicing, and its headless counterpart manifests itself as nasality. These proposals are presented within the context of Element Theory (Kaye et al. 1985; Harris & Lindsey 1995), where output representations are redundancy-free, refer only to privative primes, and are fully interpretable.

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