, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 151-178

Inflectional paradigms have a base: evidence from s-Dissimilation in Southern German dialects

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Abstract

In many varieties of Southern German the contrast between /s/ and / \(\int\) / is neutralized to \([\int]\) before /p t/ anywhere within a word (e.g. \(Post \,[{\rm po}\int t]\) ‘mail’), but neutralization does not occur before inflectional suffixes (e.e. küss-t [kyst] ‘kiss (3 SG)’). It will be argued that the underapplication of neutralization before inflectional suffixes is an example of a Paradigm Uniformity effect: Neutralization is blocked from applying to the final /s/ of a stem so that it will retain a constant shape in a paradigm. Underapplication in examples like [kyst] follows from a requirement that the stem in a derived word be identical to the unaffixed base. By contrast, the German data will be shown to be problematic for the Optimal Paradigms model (McCarthy 2005), since this approach does not allow for a base in inflectional paradigms.