Dept. of Linguistics and Cognitive Science.

University of Delaware

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Newark, DE 19716

heinz@udel.edu

Home Dissertation Committee Abstract Stress Typology

Dissertation [pdf] (1.5MB) (for 2-sided printing better to use this pdf)

Edward
P.Stabler and Kie Zuraw, advisors.

Members: Bruce Hayes, Stott Parker, Colin Wilson

This result is obtained by studying the hypothesis spaces different
formulations of locality in phonology naturally define in the realm of regular
languages, that is, those patterns describable with finite state
machines. Locality expressed as contiguity (adjacency) restrictions provides
the basis for n-gram-based patterns which describe phonotactic patterns over
contiguous segments. Locality expressed as precedence---where distance between
segments is not measured at all---defines a hypothesis space for long distance
agreement patterns. Finally, both of these formulations of locality are shown
to be subsumed by a more general formulation---that each relevant phonological
environment is defined `locally' and is unique---which I call
*neighborhood-distinctness*.

In addition to patterns over contiguous and non-contiguous segments, it is
shown that all stress patterns described in recent comprehensive typologies
are, for small neighborhoods, neighborhood-distinct. In fact, it is shown
that 414 out of the 422 languages in the typologies have stress
patterns which are neighborhood-distinct for even smaller neighborhoods called
`1-1'. Furthermore, it is shown that significant classes of logically possible
unattested patterns do not. Thus, 1-1 neighborhood-distinctness is
hypothesized to be a *universal* property of phonotactic patterns, a
hypothesis confirmed for all but a few stress patterns which merit further
study.

It is shown that there are learners which provably learn these hypothesis spaces in the sense of Gold (1967) and which exemplify two general classes of learners : string extension and state merging. Thus the results obtained hereprovide techniques which allow other hypothesis spaces possibly relevant to phonology, or other cognitive domains, to be explored. Also, the hypothesis spaces and learning procedures developed here provide a basis which can be enriched with additional, substantive phonological structure. Finally, this basis is readily transferable into a variety of statistical learning procedures.

The stress typology is online here.

The finite state acceptors in the database are designed to be used
with the **fsa** program which is available
here.

*Last updated: Aug 20, 2008*