, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 197-224,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Feb 2009

Diverse repairs for multiple labial consonants

Abstract

The relationship between constraints on surface forms and operations that alter representations is of central interest in phonological theory. This squib presents a case of diverse “repairs” in response to a marked structure—labial … labial sequences—created by um-infixation in stems beginning with (or, in some cases, merely containing) labial consonants in Austronesian languages. We review several strategies, which for the most part do not cluster according to subfamilies: tolerance, gaps, loss of stem consonant, loss of infix nasality, stem dissimilation, infix dissimilation, prefixation, and non-realization of infix. The evidence indicates that avoidance of these sequences applies only within the root-and-infix domain, and only in derived environments. This diversity of repairs seems unexpected if changes should be perceptually minimal; we suggest possible explanations.