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Frequency influences on rule application within and across words

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This paper argues that application of phonological processes is partly sensitive to distributional factors such as frequency, and partly governed by what we standardly think of as the grammar by exploring three case studies of such dual conditioning in Tagalog. Tapping shows that morphology can override frequency: prefixed words show frequency-influenced variation, but suffixed words must undergo the rule, and compoundreduplicated words rarely do. Vowel height shows that basereduplicant identity could override frequency; compound reduplicated words show frequency-influenced variation, but (asymmetrical) base-reduplicant identity overrides this variation. No frequency effects are found for vowel height in suffixed words; there is variation among loans, but it seems to be conditioned by phonological factors only, consistent with the analysis of suffixed words that was given to account for the tapping facts that morphology overrides frequency. In nasal substitution, phonological factors make frequency effects invisible except in a restricted group of cases. In sum, the application of phonological processes can be sensitive to frequency, and morphology and phonology can override frequency.
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Keywords: Tagalog; dual; frequency; morphological variation; nasal substitution; reduplication

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • This publication consists of the proceedings of the main session and any parasessions from the annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society.
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