Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 423–465 | Cite as

Locality and globality in phonological variation

  • Wendell A. Kimper


This paper explores the consequences of Harmonic Serialism (HS), a derivational variant of OT, for local and global phonological variation. Variation is local when each locus within a single form may vary independently, as in French schwa deletion. Variation is global when all loci within a single form must covary, as in labial (de)voicing in Warao. Within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT) with parallel evaluation, only global variation is predicted to exist. In this paper, I  show how implementing a multiple-rankings theory of phonological variation within HS accounts for both local and global variation.


Phonological variation Harmonic serialism 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, Stephen. 1974. The organization of phonology. New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Stephen. 1982. The analysis of French schwa. Language 58: 121–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andreasson, Helene. 2004. Une contrainte de fidélité flottante pour le traitment du schwa et du la liason dans le canton de Vaud. In Proceedings of pfc 3. Google Scholar
  4. Angoujard, Jean-Pierre. 2006. Phonologie déclarative. Paris: CNRS. Google Scholar
  5. Anttila, Arto. 1997. Deriving variation from grammar. In Variation, change and phonological theory, eds. Frans Hiskens, Roeland van Hout, and Leo Wetzels, 35–68. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  6. Anttila, Arto. 2007. Variation and optionality. In The Cambridge handbook of phonology, ed. Paul deLacy, 519–536. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chap. 22. Google Scholar
  7. Basbøll, Hans. 1981. Metrical theory and the French foot. In Phonologica 1980, eds. Wolfgang Dressler, Oskar Pfeiffer, and Jonn Rennison, 35–43. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft Innsbruck. Google Scholar
  8. Boersma, Paul. 1997. How we learn variation, optionality, and probability. In Proceedings of the Institute of Phonetic Sciences of the University of Amsterdam, Vol. 21, 43–58. ROA-221. Google Scholar
  9. Boersma, Paul, and Joe Pater. 2008. Convergence properties of a gradual learning algorithm for Harmonic Grammar. ROA 970. Google Scholar
  10. Coetzee, Andries. 2006. Variation as accessing “non-optimal” candidates. Phonology 23 (3): 337–385. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coetzee, Andries, and Joe Pater. 2008. The place of variation in phonological theory. ROA 946. Google Scholar
  12. Côté, Marie-Hèléne, and Geofferey Stewart Morrison. 2007. The nature of the schwa-zero alternation in French clitics: experimental and non-experimental evidence. Journal of French Language Studies 17: 159–186. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Lacy, Paul. 2006. Markedness: Reduction and preservation in phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dell, Fran cois. 1973. Les règles et les sons: Introduction à la phonologie générative. Paris: Hermann. Google Scholar
  15. Elfner, Emily. 2008. Prosody circumscription in Harmonic Serialism. Paper presented at HUMDRUM, Rutgers University. Google Scholar
  16. Elfner, Emily. 2009. Syllabification and stress-epenthesis interactions in Harmonic Serialism. ROA 1047. Google Scholar
  17. Eychenne, Julien. 2006. Aspects de la phonologie du schwa dans la Francais contemporain: optimalite, visibilite prosodique, gradience. PhD diss., Universite de Toulouse-Le Mirail. Google Scholar
  18. Goldwater, Sharon, and Mark Johnson. 2003. Learning OT constraint rankings using a maximum entropy model. In Proceedings of the workshop on variation within optimality theory, eds. Jennifer Spenader, Anders Eriksson, and Östen Dahl, 111–120. Stockholm: Stockholm University. Google Scholar
  19. Hayes, Bruce. 1995. Metrical stress theory: Principles and case studies. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Google Scholar
  20. Hayes, Bruce, and Aditi Lahiri. 1991. Bengali intonational phonology. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 9 (1): 47–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Itô, Junko. 1986. Syllable theory in prosodic phonology. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  22. Jäger, Gerhard, and Anette Rosenbach. 2006. Maximum entropy models and stochastic Optimality Theory. Linguistics 44 (5): 937–971. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jesney, Karen. 2007. The locus of variation in weighted constraint grammars. Presented at the workshop on variation, gradience and frequency in phonology, Stanford, CA. Google Scholar
  24. Jesney, Karen. 2009. Positional faithfulness, non-locality, and the Harmonic Serialism solution. In Proceedings of the 39th meeting of the north east linguistics society (nels 39), eds. Suzi Lima, Kevin Mullin, and Brian Smith. Poster presented at the 39th Meeting of the Northeast Linguistics Society. Google Scholar
  25. Kager, René. 1997. Rhythmic vowel deletion in Optimality Theory. In Derivations and constraints in phonology, 463–499. London: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  26. Kaplan, Aaron. 2008. Noniterativity is an emergent property of grammar. PhD diss., University of California, Santa Cruz. Google Scholar
  27. Kaye, Jonathan. 1982. Harmony processes in Vata. In Project sur les langues Kru, eds. Jonathan Kaye, Hilda Koopman, and Dominique Sportiche, 60–151. Montreal: University of Quebec at Montreal. Google Scholar
  28. Kenstowicz, Michael. 1996. Quality-sensitive stress. Revista di Linguistica 9 (1): 157–188. Google Scholar
  29. Khan, Sameer ud Dowla. 2007. Phrasing and focus in Bengali. Poster presented at the international congress of phonetic sciences satellite workshop on intonational phonology: Understudied or fieldwork languages, Saarbrücken, 5 August. Google Scholar
  30. Khanjian, Hrayr. 2008. Stress dependent vowel reduction in Armenian. Paper presented at UMMM3. Google Scholar
  31. Kiparsky, Paul. 1985. Some consequences of Lexical Phonology. Phonology Yearbook 2: 83–138. Google Scholar
  32. Kiparsky, Paul. 2000. Opacity and cyclicity. The Linguistic Review 17: 351–367. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kratzer, Angelika, and Elisabeth Selkirk. 2007. Phase theory and prosodic spellout: The case of verbs. The Linguistic Review 24: 93–135. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lamontagne, Greg. 1996. Relativized contiguity, part 1: Contiguity and syllable prosody. ROA150. Google Scholar
  35. Liphola, Marcelino M. 2001. Aspects of phonology and morphology of Shimakonde. PhD diss., The Ohio State University. Google Scholar
  36. Mascaró, Joan. 2008. Phonological and morphological effects of asymmetrical DP concord. Colloquium presented at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  37. McCarthy, John. 2000. Harmonic Serialism and parallelism. In Proceedings of NELS 30, ed. Masako Hirotani, 501–524. Amherst: GLSA Publications. Google Scholar
  38. McCarthy, John. 2003. Sympathy, cumulativity, and the Duke-of-York gambit. In The syllable in Optimality Theory, 23–76. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McCarthy, John. 2007a. Hidden generalizations: Phonological opacity in optimality theory. London: Equinox Publishing. Google Scholar
  40. McCarthy, John. 2007b. Restraint of analysis. In Freedom of analysis, eds. Sylvia Blaho, Patrick Bye, and Martin Krämer, 203–231. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Google Scholar
  41. McCarthy, John. 2008a. The gradual path to cluster simplification. Phonology 25 (2): 271–319. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McCarthy, John. 2008b. The serial interaction of stress and syncope. Natural Language and Linguistc Theory 26 (3): 499–546. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McCarthy, John, and Alan Prince. 1994. The emergence of the unmarked: Optimality in prosodic morphology. In Proceedings of NELS 24, ed. Mercè Gonzàles, 333–379. Amherst: GLSA. Google Scholar
  44. Nagy, Naomi, and William Reynolds. 1997. Optimality Theory and variable word-final deletion in Faetar. Language Variation and Change 9 (1): 37–55. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Noske, Roland. 1993. A theory of syllabification and segmental alternation. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Osborn, Henry. 1966. Warao I: Phonology and morphophonemics. International Journal of American Linguistics 32: 108–123. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pater, Joe. 2007. Local Harmonic Serialism. Handout: Revised excerpts for workshop presentations at CASTL, Tromsø, March 27–28, 2007. Google Scholar
  48. Pater, Joe. 2008a. Lexically conditioned variation in Harmonic Grammar. Presented at OCP-5, Toulouse-Le Mirail. Google Scholar
  49. Pater, Joe. 2008b. Serial Harmonic Grammar. Handout from University of Southern California Colloquium. Google Scholar
  50. Pearce, Mary. 2006. Evidence against voicing spread in Kera. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 18: 345–355. Google Scholar
  51. Prince, Alan. 1985. Improving tree theory. Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 11: 471–490. Google Scholar
  52. Prince, Alan. 1991. Quantitative consequences of rhythmic organization. Ms, Brandeis University. Google Scholar
  53. Prince, Alan. 2000. Comparative tableaux. New Brunswick: Rutgers University. ROA-376. Google Scholar
  54. Prince, Alan, and Paul Smolensky. 1993/2004. Optimality theory: Constraint interaction in generative phonology. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar
  55. Pruitt, Kathryn. 2008. Iterative foot optimization and locality in stress systems. University of Massachusetts, Amherst. ROA-999. Google Scholar
  56. Reynolds, William. 1994. Variation and phonological theory. PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania. Google Scholar
  57. Riggle, Jason. 2006. Infixing reduplication in Pima and its theoretical consequences. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24: 857–891. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Riggle, Jason, and Colin Wilson. 2005. Local optionality. In Proceedings of NELS 35. Amherst: GLSA. Google Scholar
  59. Rose, Sharon, and Rachel Walker. 2004. A typology of consonant agreement as correspondence. Language 80 (3): 475–531. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Samek-Lodovici, Vieri, and Alan Prince. 2002. Fundamental properties of harmonic bounding. Technical report, RuCCS-TR-71. Google Scholar
  61. Schuh, Russell. 2002. Palatalization in West Chadic. Studies in African Linguistics 31: 97–128. Google Scholar
  62. Selkirk, Elisabeth. 1978. The French foot: On the status of “mute” e. Studies in French Linguistics 1: 24–28. Google Scholar
  63. Selkirk, Elisabeth. 1980. Prosodic domains in phonology. In Sanskrit revisited. eds. Mark Aronoff and Mary-Louise Kean, 107–129. Saratoga: Anma Libri. Google Scholar
  64. Selkirk, Elisabeth. 1995. The prosodic structure of function words. In Papers in Optimality Theory, eds. Jill Beckman, Laura Walsh Dickey, and Suzanne Urbanczyk, 439–70. Amherst: GLSA. Google Scholar
  65. Selkirk, Elisabeth, and Koichi Tateishi. 1988. Constraints on minor phrase formation in Japanese. In CLS 24, part one: The general session, eds. Lynn McLeod, Gary Larson, and Diane Brentari, 316–339. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. Google Scholar
  66. Steriade, Donca. 1988. Reduplication and syllable transfer in Sanskrit and elsewhere. Phonology 5: 73–155. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Steriade, Donca, and Cécile Fougeron. 1997. Does deletion of French schwa lead to neutralization of lexical distinctions? In Euro-speech 1997, proceedings of the 5th European conference on speech communication and technology, University of Patras, Vol. 7, 943–947. Google Scholar
  68. Truckenbrodt, Hubert. 2002. Variation in p-phrasing in Bengali. In Linguistic variation yearbook, eds. Pierre Pica and Johan Rooryck, Vol. 2, 259–303. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  69. Vaux, Bert. 2003. Why the phonological component must be serial and rule-based. Paper presented at the 77th Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Google Scholar
  70. Walker, Douglas C. 1993. Schwa and /œ/ in French. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 38 (3): 43–64. Google Scholar
  71. Wolf, Matthew. 2008. Optimal interleaving: Serial phonology-morphology interaction in a constraint-based model. PhD diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics, 226 South CollegeUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

Personalised recommendations