Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More on alignment constraints

It seems that "jurisdiction" can be syllabified in two ways: juris.diction or juri.sdiction (leaving aside the other two syllable boundaries). The first is what I thought to be my own pronunciation (as it turns out that's only the way I perceive my own pronunciation because I perceive the morpheme boundary between "juris" and "diction"), while the second is probably the common way people pronounce the word. The NoCoda constraint strikes again! Alignment constraints want us to align morpheme boundaries with syllable boundaries, and since "jurisdiction" comes from a combination of Latin juris (the genitive of jus, 'law') and dictio (from dicere, 'say, speak'), theoretically the syllable boundary should be between the "s" and the "d". However, the NoCoda constraint is ranked high enough in English that we would rather sacrifice alignment than have a coda in the preceding syllable. We also have a lower ranking Ident-IO(vc) (input and output segments should have the same value for [voice]) constraint, since we would rather say jur.i.stic.tion than attempt the unwieldy jur.i.sdic.tion.

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