Surface Velar Palatalization in Polish
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This article investigates a palatalization process called Surface Velar Palatalization that turns /k g/ into [kj gj] before the front vowel e. What would appear to be a trivial rule, k g → kjgj/—ε, turns out to be a highly complex process. The complexity is caused by several independent factors. First, Surface Velar Palatalization, k g → kjgj, competes with Phonemic Velar Palatalization, k g → ʧ ʤ. Second, some but not all changes are restricted to derived environments. Third, some suffixes appear to be exceptions to one type of Palatalization but not to the other type. Fourth, /x/ behaves in an ambivalent way by undergoing one but not the other type of Palatalization. Fifth, Palatalization constraints interacting with segment inventory constraints yield different results in virtually the same contexts.
I argue that the complexity of Surface Velar Palatalization motivates derivational levels in Optimality Theory. Further, the condition of derived environments is expressed as a constraint that is ranked differently at different levels of evaluation.
A historical analysis of Surface Velar Palatalization tells the story of how the process came into being and operated for centuries in an unrestricted way. It subsequently became restricted to derived environments, which led to pronunciation reversals of the historical Duke of York type: gε → gjε → gε.*
KeywordsPolish phonology Derivational Optimality Theory Velar palatalization Derived environments Pronunciation reversals
This article investigates a palatalization process in Polish called Surface Velar Palatalization,1 which turns /k g/ into [kj gj] before the front vowel e. Aside from some cursory remarks in Gussmann (1980) and Rubach (1984), Surface Velar Palatalization has not been discussed in the generative literature to date, so the material is new.2 What would appear to be a trivial rule, k g → kjgj/—ε, turns out to be a highly complex but fully regular process. Accounting for Surface Velar Palatalization is therefore a challenge and a test of adequacy for phonological theory.
On the theoretical side, this paper is a contribution to Stratal Optimality Theory (Stratal OT, henceforth) in two ways. First, it provides a new argument for the distinction of levels or strata stemming from the hitherto unexplored role played by segment inventories. Second, it investigates derived environments in Palatalization and postulates that they are best captured as an OT constraint that can be ranked differently at different levels of derivation. Third, a historical study of Surface Velar Palatalization contributes to an understanding of the life cycle of a process that Stratal OT is designed to model.
Arguments for Stratal OT have typically been based on opacity (Kiparsky 2000; Bermúdez-Otero 1999; Rubach 2000a). The weak point of such arguments is that Standard Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 2004; McCarthy and Prince 1995) has developed a number of auxiliary theories that can handle opacity, including Output-Output Theory (Benua 1997), Sympathy Theory (McCarthy 1999) and OT-Candidate Chains (McCarthy 2007). The opacity argument for strata is weak because it reduces to the demonstration that Stratal OT can account for opacity by invoking one mechanism (strata/levels) while Standard OT uses several unrelated mechanisms, so is not homogeneous. The point of this paper is that strata/levels are motivated by different inventories, so the type of admissible segments at the stem level is different from the type of admissible segments at the word level and that, in turn, is different from the type of admissible segments at the postlexical level. Inventory arguments are important because they are not amenable to restatement in terms of OT auxiliary theories. Selecting Surface Velar Palatalization for making the inventory argument is a good choice because the process unveils massive differences in inventories at level 1, level 2 and level 3.
The second point of this paper—derived environments—brings up two issues: first, the issue of how derived environments (DE, henceforth) should be expressed formally and, second, the issue of the life cycle of a historical process. It is argued that the role of derived environments is best defined as a constraint that, like any OT constraint, can be ranked differently at different levels in Stratal OT. A historical analysis of Surface Velar Palatalization tells the story of how the process came into being and operated for centuries in an unrestricted way. It subsequently became restricted to derived environments, which led to pronunciation reversals of the historical Duke-of-York type: gε → gjε → gε.
This article is organized as follows. Section 1 introduces the relevant background facts of Polish phonology (Sect. 1.1) and the assumptions of Stratal OT (Sect. 1.2). Section 2 discusses Phonemic Velar Palatalization while Sect. 3 provides an OT analysis of Surface Velar Palatalization and related processes, making the point about segment inventory constraints and derived environments. Section 4 looks at a historical development of Surface Velar Palatalization from Old Polish, through Middle Polish, to Modern Polish. Section 5 summarizes the rankings of the constraints and their interaction. Section 6 concludes with a summary of the results. The Appendix extends the analysis to coronal and labial inputs and to i as the trigger of Palatalization.
This section prepares the ground for an analysis of Velar Palatalization. I begin with the presentation of descriptive facts of Polish phonology in the fragment that is relevant for this article. Subsequently, I introduce the assumptions of Stratal OT and the constraint apparatus for an analysis of Palatalization.
1.1 Descriptive background
Surface coronal and dorsal obstruents in Polish
C O R O N
D O R S
Hard versus soft consonants in Polish
brat [t] ‘brother’ – brat Janka [tj j] ‘Janek’s brother’:
palatalized dental stop
zobacz [ʧ] ‘see’ – zobacz je [ʧj j] ‘see them’:
palatalized postalveolar affricate
głos [s] ‘voice’ – głosIreny [sj i] ‘Irena’s voice’:
palatalized alveolar fricative
dasz [ʃ] ‘give’ – daszje [ʃj j] ‘you will give them’:
palatalized postalveolar fricative
krok [k] ‘step’ – krokIreny [kj i] ‘Irena’s step’:
duch [x] ‘spirit’ – duchIreny [xj i] ‘Irena’s spirit’:
ciało [ tɕa] ‘body’:
siano [ɕa] ‘hay’:
*[tɕ]: No hissing prepalatals, that is, *[tɕ ʥ ɕ ʑ].
*[ʧ]: No hushing postalveolars, that is, *[ʧj ʤj ʃj Ʒj ʧ ʤ ʃ Ʒ].
In contrast to the consonantal system, the vocalic system of Polish is simple. It includes the high vowels [i ɨ u],3 the mid [ε ɔ] and the low [a].4 The only complication is that Polish has yers, the renowned Slavic vowels, which exhibit an alternation between e [ε] and zero, as in bez ‘lilac’ (nom.sg.) – bz+y (nom.pl.).
Analyzing yers is a perennial problem of Polish phonology. Rubach’s (2016) study of the yers has been carried out in the framework of Stratal OT, so it connects with the analysis pursued here in a seamless way.
bez [bεs] ‘meringue’ (gen.pl.)
bez+y [bεzɨ] (nom.pl.)
bez [bεs] ‘lilac’ (nom.sg.)
bz+y [bzɨ] (nom.pl.)
kier [kjεr] ‘hearts’ (nom.sg.)
kier+y [kjεrɨ] (nom.pl.)
kier [kjεr] (gen.pl.)
kr+y [krɨ] ‘icefloats’
1.2 Theoretical background: Derivational Optimality Theory
Derivational OT (Rubach 1997, 2011, 2016) is a version of Stratal OT (Kiparsky 1997, 2000, 2015; Bermúdez-Otero 1999, 2007, 2018). It is different from Stratal OT in one respect only: the assumption is that the grammar by default has four levels or strata. Stratal OT recognizes three levels/strata: the stem level, the word level and the postlexical level. Derivational OT adds a fourth level: the clitic level that is placed between the word level and the postlexical level.
The stem level encompasses the root and level 1 affixes. The word level enlarges the domain of analysis by adding level 2 affixes to the structures derived at the stem level. The determination which affixes are level 1 and which are level 2 is a language-specific matter. Similarly, languages may differ in their understanding of what constitutes a clitic structure. For example, Rubach (2016) argues that prefixes in Polish have the status of clitics,8 hence prefix plus word structures are analyzed at level 3. The postlexical level, level 4, covers the domain of the utterance, analyzing processes that apply across word boundaries. The input to level 1 is the underlying representation, the input to level 2 is the optimal output from level 1, the input to level 3 is the winner from level 2, and the winner from level 3 is the input to level 4. In effect then, the architecture of Derivational OT is cyclic because the derivation proceeds from smaller domains to progressively larger domains: stem → word → clitic phrase → utterance. There is an obvious and actually intended similarity between Derivational OT and Lexical Phonology (Kiparsky 1982; Booij and Rubach 1987). Like in Lexical Phonology, at each cycle constraints can look at the structure derived in the previous cycle. However, unlike in Lexical Phonology, there is no prohibition to change the representations derived in an earlier cycle. Constraints are the same at all levels but their ranking may be different. The principle of reranking minimalism (Rubach 2000b) makes sure that reranking of the constraints occurs only if required by compelling analytical need. In sum, the grammar is understood as a system of four levels that are connected serially. Each level constitutes an OT ‘miniphonology,’ which means that it has its own inputs and constraint ranking. The Standard OT’s principle of strict parallelism (simultaneous evaluation, no derivational steps) holds inside a level but not across levels since, as just explained, levels are ordered serially.
A consonant and a following high vowel must agree in [±back].
A consonant and a following mid vowel must agree in [±back].
A consonant and a following glide must agree in [±back].
[+back] on the consonant in the input must be preserved on
a correspondent of that consonant in the output.
[-back] on the consonant in the input must be preserved on
a correspondent of that consonant in the output.
[-back] on the vowel in the input must be preserved on a
correspondent of that vowel in the output.
[+back] on the vowel in the input must be preserved on a
correspondent of that vowel in the output.10
Palatalization as a strategy of conflict resolution is grounded in phonetics, both articulatory and acoustic. Kochetov (2016) points out that fronting and raising of the tongue body is in conflict with gestures that articulators need to execute to produce consonants with various places and manners of articulation. He further argues that the sequence of a consonant plus a front vowel or a glide is both acoustically and perceptually problematic “as front vowels tend to obscure phonetic cues to place of articulation and induce affrication, ultimately leading to perceptual confusion” (Kochetov 2016:4, see also Ohala 1978; Kawasaki 1982; Guion 1996).
a. Phonemic Velar
Palatalization k g x → ʧ ʤ ʃ /—ε
Example: ryk [k] ‘scream’ (N) – rycz+e+ć [ʧε] ‘to scream’
b. Surface Velar
Palatalization k g → kj gj /—ε
Example: cukier [kjε] ‘sugar’ (nom.sg.) – cukr+u [k] (gen.sg.)
In the case of PAL-e, the repair of the violation in [Cε] is implemented as Palatalization, schematically, //Cε// → [Cjε], rather than as Vowel Retraction. The reason is that Vowel Retraction acting on /ε/ as the input would derive schwa, ε → ə / C[+back]—, like we have i → ɨ / C[+back]—in the case of PAL-i (see above and Appendix). This action is blocked because schwa does not exist in Polish.
To conclude, PAL-e manifests itself in Polish as Palatalization, not as Vowel Retraction, a generalization that is expressed by the ranking of IDENT-V[-back] higher than PAL-e and IDENT-C[+back]. In what follows, I will not consider Vowel Retraction candidates such as [kə] from the input /kε/.13
2 Phonemic Velar Palatalization
k → ʧ
ryk [k] ‘scream’ (N)
rycz+e+ć [ʧε] ‘to scream’
tłuk+ą [k] ‘they break’
tłucz+esz [ʧε] ‘you break’
człowiek [k] ‘man’ (nom.sg.)
człowiecz+e [ʧε] (voc.sg.)
człowiecz+ek [ʧε] (dimin.)
człowiecz+eństw+o [ʧε] ‘humanity’
g → ʤ14
mózg [sk] ‘brain’
móżdż+ek [Ʒʤε] (dimin.)
miazg+a [zg] ‘pulp’
miażdż+en+ie [Ʒʤε] ‘crushing’
x → ʃ
słuch [x] ‘hearing’
słysz+e+ć [ʃε] ‘to hear’
dach [x] ‘roof’
dasz+ek [ʃε] (dimin.)
type of change
tε → tɕε
sε → ɕε
nε → ɲε
pε → pjε
mε → mjε
HARD [ʧ ʤ ʃ Ʒ] must be hard (that is, [+back]).
The co-existence of PAL-e and HARD in a single language creates an analytical problem for Standard OT. PAL-e requires agreement in [-back] between the consonant and [ε] while HARD bans [-back] stridents. The contradiction is solved by assuming that PAL-e and HARD operate on different levels of derivation, an analysis that is afforded by Derivational OT. Specifically, PAL-e, but not HARD, is active at level 1, so PAL-e is ranked high while HARD is bottom-ranked. At level 2, HARD is reranked above PAL-e, and, consequently, [ʧjε ʤjε ʃjε Ʒjε] must yield to [ʧε ʤε ʃε Ʒε], even though these outputs violate PAL-e.
*kj: Don’t be kj
*gj: Don’t be gj
*xj: Don’t be xj.
Posteriority (POSTER) Palatalized coronals must be posterior ([-anterior]).
Stridency (STRID) Palatalized coronals must be [+strident].
The node DORSAL on the input segment must be preserved
on a correspondent of that segment in the output.
- (16)Level 1 //kε// → /ʧjε/
Level 2 /ʧjε/ → [ʧε]
Level 1: *[tɕ] ≫ *[ʧj] versus Level 2: *[ʧj] ≫ *[tɕ]
[+anterior] on the input segment must be preserved
on a correspondent of that segment in the output.
[-strident] on the input segment must be preserved on
a correspondent of that segment in the output.
Level 1: IDENT[+anter], IDENT[-strid] ≫ POSTER, STRID versus
Level 2: POSTER, STRID ≫ IDENT[+anter], IDENT[-strid]
Level 1: *[tɕ] ≫*[ʧj] versus Level 2: *[ʧj] ≫ *[tɕ]
Level 2 /bratjε/ → [bratɕε]
kelner [kε] ‘waiter’
teść [tε] ‘father-in-law’
gem [gε] ‘game’
deszcz [dε] ‘rain’
chełp+i+ć się [xε] ‘boast’
ser [sε] ‘cheese’
berł+o [bε] ‘scepter’
pewien [pε] ‘sure’
wesoł+y [vε] ‘happy’
The third reason against building DE into particular PAL constraints stems from the observation that the same constraint in the same language can act as a DE generalization at one level but not at another level. This is what happens in the case of PAL-Glide. It is limited to DE at level 1 but not at level 2, where it applies morpheme-internally. I discuss this issue in Sect. 3.
DE-PAL: A [-back] consonant and a front vowel/glide must span a morpheme boundary.
//sεks+ε// → [sεkɕ+ε]
☞ c. sεkɕ+ε
//ɕεrp// = [ɕεrp] (no change)
☞ a. ɕεrp
Polish [ʑim+a] Russian [zjim+a] Ukrainian [zɨm+a]
//zjim+a//21 → [zɨm+a]
☞ c. zɨm+a
//zjim+i // → [zɨmj+i]
☞ c. zɨmj+i
In sum, DE effects in Palatalization are captured by DE-PAL, a new constraint. Evidence for level distinction and hence for Derivational OT is drawn from the ranking paradoxes displayed by the segment inventory constraints: *tɕ, *ʧj, POSTER and STRID.
3 Surface Velar Palatalization
//sεr// → [sεr]
☞ a. sεr
Masculine declensionLikewise (same examples):
Feminine and neuter declension
Foreign agentive –er
boks [s] ‘boxing’ – boks+er [s+εr] ‘boxer’
tost [t] ‘toast’ – tost+er [t+εr] ‘toaster’
skan [n] ‘scan’ – skan+er [n+εr] ‘scanner’
Surface Velar Palatalization: //k+ε// → [kj+ε] and //g+ε// → [gj+ε]
BUT no Surface Velar Palatalization with /x/
b. Masculine adjectives:
BUT no Surface Velar Palatalization with /x/:
c. Likewise feminine and neuter adjectives (same examples):
BUT no Surface Velar Palatalization with /x/
d. Foreign agentive –er
bank [k] ‘bank’ – bank+ier [kj+εr] ‘banker’
pomag+a+ć [g] ‘help’ – pomag+ier [gj+εr] ‘helper’
The suffixes -em (instr.sg.), -ego (masc. gen.sg.), -emu (masc. dat.sg.), -e (neuter nom.sg.), -ej (fem. gen.sg.), -e (nom.pl.), and the foreign agentive -er are level 2 suffixes. This means that they are not available for evaluation at level 1, which accounts for the absence of palatalization at level 1 in brat+em [t+εm] ‘brother’ (instr.sg.), tłust+ego [t+εgɔ] ‘greasy’ (gen.sg.), tłust+emu [t+εmu] (dat.sg.), tost+er [t+εr] ‘toaster’, and so forth.22
An objection can be raised that the assignment of affixes to different levels is arbitrary. This is true and it reflects different historical sources that merged in the evolution of the language. The point is that Derivational OT has the resources to give a formal account of differences in the behavior of various affixes.
A reviewer points out that Standard OT could account for the behavior of level 2 suffixes by resorting to indexed constraints (Pater 2008). This is true, for example, an Output–Output faithfulness constraint OO-IDENT-Dor could be co-indexed with the instr.sg. suffix //εm//. The drawback of this solution is that it opens the way to analyses in which potentially every affix could have a phonology of its own, which hugely weakens the restrictiveness of the theory. Derivational OT assigns the problematic suffixes to a level and they cannot choose to which constraints they wish to be available. I conclude that level assignment is a more restrictive mechanism than Standard OT’s indexed constraints and OO-faithfulness.
Level 1: *kj *gj *xj ≫ PAL-e ≫ *SOFT-Lab, *SOFT-Coron
Level 2: *SOFT-Lab, *SOFT-Coron, *xj ≫ PAL-e ≫ *kj *gj
Level 2 /krɔk+εm/ → [krɔkj+εm]
Level 2 /pas+εm/ = [pas+εm] (no change)
☞ a. pas+εm
Level 2 /lɔsj+ε/ → [lɔɕ+ε]
poker [kε] ‘poker’
legend+a [gε] ‘legend’
kelner [kε] ‘waiter’
geograf+ia [gε] ‘geography’
kefir [kε] ‘kefir’
geometr+ia [gε] ‘geometry’
hokej [kε] ‘hockey’
gest [gε] ‘gesture’
i. Level 2 /pɔkεr/ = [pɔkεr] (no change)
☞ a. pɔkεr
ii. Level 2 /rɔk+εm/ → [rɔkj+εm]
☞ b. rɔkj+εm
kiedy [kjεdɨ] = //kjεdɨ// ‘when’
zgiełk [zgjεwk] = //zgjεwk// ‘turmoil’
kierat [kjεrat] = //kjεrat// ‘treadmill’
giemz+a [gjεmz+a] = //gjεmz+a// ‘chamois’
kier [kjεr] = //kjεr// ‘hearts’
giermek [gjεrmεk] = //gjεrmεk// ‘page’
Level 2 /kjεdɨ/ = [kjεdɨ] (no change)
The action of PAL-Glide is limited to derived environments at level 1 but not at level 2, which shows that it would be ill-advised to write the DE restriction into the statement of PAL-Glide itself. The correct analysis treats the DE restriction as a constraint that I have dubbed DE-PAL. The ranking DE-PAL ≫ PAL-Glide postulated for level 1 restricts PAL-Glide to derived environments26 while the reranking to PAL-Glide ≫ DE-PAL postulated for level 2 lifts this restriction. The details of the analysis ensue below.
Feminine and neuter nouns
Yers trigger Surface Velar Palatalization: k g → kj gj /—E
Russian łager ‘camp’ → Polish łagier [gjεr], a yer as [ε] alternates with zero in łagr+y (nom.pl.)
English single → Polish singiel [gjεl] ‘single person’, a yer as [ε] alternates with zero in singl+e (nom.pl.)
Level 2 /kEp/ → [kjεp]
☞ b. kjEp
Level 2 /kEp+a/ → [kp+a]
If Surface Velar Palatalization was done at level 1, hence prior to Yer Deletion, it would be necessary to postulate a Depalatalization constraint to depalatalize the stops at level 2. That is, //kEp+a// → /kjEp+a/ at level 1 and /kjEp+a/ → /kjp+a/ → [kpa] at level 2. The Depalatalization step and the Depalatalization constraint are not necessary if Surface Velar Palatalization is executed at level 2, as proposed in this paper.
Level 1: k g x → ʧ ʤ ʃ/ — E, as shown in (47)
Level 2: k g → kj gj / — E, as shown in (42)
Level 1: //bɔk+EK+a// → /bɔʧj+Ek+a/
Level 2: /bɔʧj+Ek+a / → [bɔʧka]
It should also be noted that PAL-Glide is constrained by DE-PAL at level 1, that is, its jurisdiction is limited to derived environments, as in bocz+ek, //bɔk+EK// → /bɔʧj+Ek/. It is imperative that morpheme-internal structure is not within the reach of PAL-Glide because morphemes such as kiep //kEp// ‘fool’ and cukier //ʦukEr// ‘sugar’ must escape the //k// → /ʧj/ Palatalization and must emerge unscathed from level 1: /kEp/, not */ʧjEp/ and /ʦukEr/, not */ʦuʧjEr/. At level 2, on the other hand, the objective is reversed: PAL-Glide must be able to look into morphemes: /kEp/ → /kjEp/ and /ʦukEr/ → /ʦukjEr/.
The range of inputs to PAL-Glide is different at level 1 and level 2. At level 1, PAL-Glide affects not only //k g// but also //x//, as seen in (47): //bɔk+Ek// → /bɔʧjEk/ ‘side’ (dimin.) and //dax+Ek// → /daʃjEk/ ‘roof’ (dimin.). At level 2, PAL-Glide applies to //k g//, but not to //x//, as shown by cukier [ʦukjεr] ‘sugar’, with soft [kj] but wicher [vjixεr] ‘gale’, with hard [x].
PAL-e at level 3: clitics
Tak powiedział+em [w+εm] ‘I said so’ OR Tak+em [tak+εm] powiedział ‘So I said’ (clitic movement)
przed+egzaminacyjny [d+ε] ‘pre-examination’, not *[ʥ+ε] or *[dj+ε]
przed egzaminem [d ε] ‘before the examination’, not *[ʥ+ε] or *[dj+ε], that is, no Palatalization of any kind
PAL-e at level 4: sentences
krok Ewy [krɔk εvɨ] ‘Eva’s step’, not *[krɔʧ εvɨ] or *[krɔkj εvɨ],
that is, no Palatalization of any kind
Level 2: PAL-e ≫ IDENT-C[+back]27
Level 3 (and Level 4): IDENT-C[+back] ≫ PAL-e
a. PAL-Glide at level 3
b. PAL-Glide at level 4
przed+jedzeniowy [dj+j] ‘pre-eating’
sklep Janka [pj j] ‘Janek’s store’
przed jedzeniem [dj+j] ‘before eating’
skecz Janka [ʧj j] ‘Janek’s sketch’
krok jej [kj j] ‘her step’
krok Janka [kj j] ‘Janek’s step’
duch jej [xj j] ‘her spirit’
duchJanka [xj j] ‘Janek’s spirit’
brat jej [tj j] ‘her brother’
brat Janka [tj j] ‘Janek’s brother’
skecz jej [ʧj j] ‘her sketch’
sklep jej [pj j] ‘her store’
Level 2: *SOFT-Lab, *SOFT-Coron, *xj ≫ PAL-Glide ≫ IDENT-C[+back]
Levels 3 and 4: PAL-Glide ≫ *SOFT-Lab, *SOFT-Coron, *xj, IDENT- C[+back]
In the following section, I look at PAL-e from a historical perspective, focusing on k g → kjgj, the effects of Surface Velar Palatalization.
4 A historical perspective
This section pursues the history of Surface Velar Palatalization from Old Polish (10th–15th c.), through Middle Polish (16th–18th c.) to Modern Polish (19th c. – present). Of interest are the concatenations of k, g and e, occurring inside morphemes and across morpheme boundaries.
kieł ‘cuspid’ (nom.sg.) – kł+y [nom.pl.), where kieł was pronounced [kεł],
//kEł//28 → [kεł] by Yer Vocalization
okn+o ‘window’(nom.sg.) – okien (gen.pl.), where okien was pronounced
[ɔkεn], //ɔkEn// → [ɔkεn] by Yer Vocalization ogień ‘fire’ – ogn+ie (nom.pl.), where ogień was pronounced [ɔgεɲ],
//ɔgEɲ// → [ɔgεɲ] by Yer Vocalization (Stieber 1973:68)
język ‘tongue’ (nom.sg.) – język+em [k+εm] (instr.sg.)
drug+ego [g+εgɔ] ‘second’ (masc. gen.sg.)
nyebyesk+emu [k+εmu] ‘blue’(masc. dat.sg.)
słodk+ey [k+εj] ‘sweet’ (fem. gen.sg.)
wissok+e [k+ε] ‘tall’ (fem./neuter nom.pl.)
język ‘tongue’ (nom.sg.) – język+iem [kj+εm] (instr.sg.)30
drug+iego [gj+εgɔ] ‘second’ (masc. gen.sg.)
niebiesk+iemu [kj+εmu] ‘blue’ (masc. dat.sg.)
słodk+iej [kj+εj] ‘sweet’ (fem. gen.sg.)
wysok+ie [kj+ε] ‘tall’ (fem./neuter nom.pl.)
*kj *gj ≫ PAL-e
PAL-e ≫ *kj *gj
i. Old Polish /kεdɨ/ = [kεdɨ] (no change)
☞ a. kεdɨ
ii. Middle Polish /kεdɨ/ → [kjεdɨ] (Surface Velar Palatalization)
☞ b. kjεdɨ
kies+a, [kjεsa] ‘purse’, a 17th c. borrowing from Turkish kese
kieln+ia [kjεlɲa] ‘trowel’, a 16th c. borowing from German Kelle
kaszkiet [kaʃkjεt] ‘cap’, an 18th c. borrowing from French casquette
giemz+a [gjεmza] ‘chamois’, a 16th c. borrowing from German Gemse
giermek [gjεrmεk] ‘page’, a 15th c. borrowing from Hungarian gyermek
Kryński’s spelling ( 1903 :308)
The pronunciation of the foreign [kε gε] as [kjε gjε] shows that PAL-e applies productively not only at morpheme boundaries, as in krok+iem ‘step’ (instr. sg.) and rog+iem ‘horn’ (instr. sg.) but also inside morphemes. To achieve this result, PAL-e must outrank DE-PAL, so that the derived environment restriction has no force.32
New borrowings (later than 1950)
a. hard [kε]:
dysk dżokej ‘disc jockey’
kebab ‘type of hamburger’
b. hard [gε]
getry ‘long socks’
Edynburg ‘Edinburgh’ – Edenburg+iem [gj+εm] (instr.sg.)
Sherlock Holmes – Sherlock+iem [kj+εm] Holmsem (instr.sg.)
kiedy //kεdɨ// is restructured as //kjεdɨ//
kier+owa+ć //kεr// → //kjεr// ‘move in a direction’
pakiet //pakεt// → //pakjεt// ‘packet’
giermek //gεrmεk// → //gjεrmεk// ‘page’
giemz+a //gεmz+a// → //gjεmz+a// ‘chamois’
higien+a //xigεn+a// → //xigjεn+a// ‘hygiene’
Pronunciation reversals do not constitute a problem for a theory that distinguishes between underlying and surface representations. Looking at legenda as an example, the Latin legenda enters Polish with //gε// because [gε] is the surface representation in the 16th c., [lεgεnd+a] = //lεgεnd+a//. The pronunciation [lεgjεnda] is an effect of Surface Velar Palatalization, a rule that develops in the 16th/17th c. Since the derivation g → gj is fully predictable from Surface Velar Palatalization, the underlying representation is underspecified for Palatalization, //lεgεnd+a//. In the 20th c. Surface Velar Palatalization changes status and becomes restricted to derived environments. Consequently, it can no longer affect morpheme-internal //gε// and hence legenda starts surfacing as [lεgεnda], with hard [gε]. Some words such as giermek [gjεrmεk] ‘page’ and kiedy [kjεdɨ] ‘when’ restructured their underlying representations from //gε// and /kε// to //gjε// and //kjε//, respectively, because there were no alternations between [kj gj] and [k g]. The restructuring process was lexically diffused and proceeded in an item-by-item manner, so, for example, the restructuring occurred in giermek //gjεrmεk// ‘page’ but not in legenda //lεgεnd+a// ‘legend’. When, in the 20th c., Surface Velar Palatalization lost jurisdiction over morpheme-internal structures, underlying representations emerged as surface representations, yielding [gjεrmεk] and [lεgεnda], respectively.
These pronunciation reversals highlight a new theoretical point. Namely, they show that reversals are possible in the absence of alternations. Kiparsky’s (1973) conclusion that reversals may occur only in instances of alternation is therefore too restrictive.35
The story of ke, ge is relevant for the understanding of the life cycle of a process (Baudouin de Courtenay 1894; Hyman 1976; Bermúdez-Otero 1999, 2007, 2013; Kiparsky 2013). The idea of the life cycle is that a phonological process starts in phonetics and, when phonologized, begins to climb up the strata of Derivational/Stratal OT, beginning with the postlexical stratum (Bermúdez-Otero 2013). At late stages in the life cycle, the process is morphologized, stops being productive and finally expires. The story of ke, ge makes two additions to this understanding of the life cycle. First, a process may begin at level 2 rather than at level 4.36 Second, evolution of a process goes through the stage at which it develops a DE restriction. At that stage, the process is still extremely regular and exceptionless, as exemplified by Surface Velar Palatalization, but its jurisdiction has narrowed down to derived environments.
A further point that the story of ke, ge brings out is the characterization of Palatalization in terms of PAL constraints. The DE restriction has affected PAL-e but not PAL-Glide and PAL-i (see the Appendix below), which continue to apply morpheme-internally as in //kEp// → /kjEp/ ‘fool’ (and /kjEp/ → [kjεp] at level 3), //dialekt// → [djjalεkt] ‘dialect’. This difference in the behavior of PAL-e and PAL-Glide (as well as PAL-i) shows that PAL-e is an independent generalization that should not be collapsed with the other PAL constraints.
Finally, the development of //kj gj// as underlying segments is an example of phonologization in the sense of Kiparsky (2013). The observation is that secondary split is effected here not through the destruction of the environment but through the change of status of the process from across-the-board-application to derived environments.
5 Summary of interactions
Level 1 ranking
IDENT-C[-back] ≫ *kj *gj *xj, IDENT-V[-back], DE-PAL ≫ PAL-e, PAL-Glide ≫ IDENT-C[+back], *SOFT-Coron, *SOFT-Lab, IDENT[+anter], IDENT[-strid] ≫ POSTER, STRID, HARD, IDENT-Dor, *tɕ ≫ *ʧj
- (70)Level 2
Level 3 ranking
IDENT-C[-back], IDENT-Dor, IDENT[+anter], IDENT[-strid], IDENT-V[-back], PAL-Glide ≫ *SOFT-Coron, *SOFT-Lab, *kj, *gj, *xj, HARD, POSTER, STRID, *tɕ, *ʧj, DE-PAL, IDENT-C[+back] ≫ PAL-e
For the fragment of Polish phonology discussed in this article, levels 3 (clitic level) and 4 (postlexical sentence level) have the same ranking, so (73) is true for both of these levels.
The interactions summarized in this section are illustrated by a sample derivation that I take through all four levels. The example is the following fragment of a sentence: Z jej soczkiem jutro... [zj jεj sɔʧkjεmj jutrɔ] ‘with her juice (dimin.) tomorrow...’, where z ‘with’ and jej ‘her’ are proclitics, soczk+iem is the instr.sg. of socz+ek, the diminutive of sok ‘juice’, and jutro ‘tomorrow’ is an adverb. The noun [sɔʧkj+εm] contains the instr.sg. ending //εm//, which is a level 2 suffix. The level 1 input is therefore socz+ek //sɔk+Ek// ‘juice’ (dimin.). The diminutive suffix has a yer, compare the [ε] – zero alternation in socz+ek [sɔʧ+εk] (nom.sg.) – socz+k+u [sɔʧ+k+u] (gen.sg.).
Level 1 //sɔk+Ek// → /sɔʧj+Ek/
*kj *gj *xj
Level 2 /sɔʧj+Ek+εm/ → [sɔʧjkjεm]
Level 3 /z jεj sɔʧkjεm / → [zj jεj sɔʧkjεm]
a. z jεj sɔʧkjεm
b. zj jεj sɔʧkεm
c. zj jεj sɔʧkjεm
d. ʑjεj sɔʧkjεm
Level 4 /zj jεj sɔʧkjεm jutrɔ/ → [zj jεj sɔʧkjεmj jutrɔ]
a. zj jεj sɔʧkjεm jutrɔ
b. zj jεj sɔʧkjεmj jutrɔ
Palatalization of velars in Modern Polish takes on two different guises: k g x →ʧ ʤ ʃ and k g → kjgj. In both cases the drivers are PAL-e and PAL-Glide. The effects, [ʧ ʤ] and [kj gj], respectively, are incompatible and cannot be derived in a strictly parallel manner postulated by Standard OT. They can, however, be accommodated by Derivational/Stratal OT that incorporates derivational levels. The distinction of levels is motivated further by segment inventory constraints that lead to ranking paradoxes on a massive scale in Standard OT.
A diachronic look at Surface Velar Palatalization shows the life cycle of the process. The analysis makes two points: first, a phonological process may enter the language by starting at level 2 rather than at level 4 and, second, a typical stage in the evolution of the process is the stage at which we see a restriction to derived environments. These are best modeled by postulating a separate constraint, DE-PAL, that is satisfied by structures spanning a morpheme boundary. In such analysis, it is unproblematic that the derived environment generalization may behave differently in different domains, that is, at different levels. DE-PAL makes correct predictions not only for an analysis of Polish, which exhibits Palatalization, but also for an analysis of Ukrainian, which exhibits Vowel Retraction, the reverse of Palatalization.
Derivational levels or strata show certain general characteristics. Levels 1 and 2, both of which are lexical (stem domain and word domain, respectively) are the locus of morphophonemic generalizations. Level 1 and level 2 are dramatically different, which is reflected in the number of constraint rerankings between these two levels. As we move to level 3, the reranking of constraints diminishes significantly and, in the fragment of Polish phonology discussed here, it drops to zero at the transition between the postlexical levels:42 the clitic level and the sentence level. The postlexical levels exhibit Palatalization of the surface (allophonic) type: consonants become [-back] but their original manner and place of articulation are retained, so k → kj is a typical postlexical process while k → ʧ, with its change of place (velar → posterior coronal) and manner of articulation (stop → affricate) is a typical lexical process. When, in addition to the postlexical levels, k → kj occurs also at a lexical level, as it does in Polish (level 2), it is a transparent process in the sense that the trigger of Palatalization is present in the surface representation, as in cukier [ʦukjεr] ‘sugar’. The k → ʧ process is not restricted in this way, so we see [ʧ] in both the transparent alternation in bok ‘side’– bocz+ek [bɔʧεk] (dimin., nom.sg.) and in the opaque alternation in bok – bocz+ka [bɔʧka] (dimin., gen.sg.).
To conclude, the differences between levels are so substantial that it is fair to say that each level constitutes a separate grammar with its own inputs, evaluations, outputs, constraint ranking and inventories of admissible segments. The Derivational OT’s claim is that there are four such grammars and that they are linked serially. An analysis of Surface Velar Palatalization has tested the derivational model and reaffirmed that it is adequate.
The literature (beginning with Steele 1973) has extensive discussion of palatalization of velars before /i/: k g x → kjgjxj, since this is a classic, totally exceptionless allophonic rule. In contrast, the context of /ε/ is problematic because it appears to be ridden with exceptions, morphological conditions, and so forth. This might be the reason why Surface Velar Palatalization triggered by /ε/ has been neglected in the literature.
For the status of [ɨ] as the underlying segment, see Rydzewski (2017).
It is unclear if the nasal vowels spelled ę and ą should be analyzed as deriving from strings of an oral vowel and a nasal consonant or whether they should be regarded as underlying segments. See Rubach (1984).
The term ‘full vowel’ refers to any vowel that is linked to a mora.
I use double slashes for underlying representations, single slashes from intermediate representations at levels 2 and 3, and square brackets for surface representations.
This claim is not as radical as it might appear to be because prefixes in Slavic languages come historically from prepositions.
Rubach (2000a, 2003 and 2017), who postulated these constraints, argues that it would be empirically incorrect to postulate one general PAL constraint. For example, Ukrainian has Palatalization before [i] but not before [ε] and [j] (Bilodid 1969). I argue in this paper that in a single language, Polish, Palatalization may have different triggers at different levels of derivation. Specifically, PAL-e is active at levels 1 and 2 but inert at levels 3 and 4 while PAL-Glide and PAL-i are active at all levels. Chen (1973) argues that there is an entailment relation between Palatalization rules specified for particular environments, whereby Palatalization before a low vowel entails Palatalization before a mid vowel and Palatalization before a mid vowel entails Palatalization before a high vowel.
This system of IDENT constraints predicts four responses to, for example, PAL-i. If the input is /Ci/, then, as noted, there are two repairs: Palatalization, Ci → Cji, and Vowel Retraction, Ci → Cɨ. If the input is /Cjɨ/, then, there are two other repairs: Depalatalization, Cjɨ → Cɨ, and Vowel Fronting, Cjɨ → Cji. All of these repairs are attested, albeit not all in a single language. See Rubach (2000a, 2007 and 2017) for discussion.
In response to a reviewer’s question, PAL-i is discussed in the Appendix.
This rule is known in the generative literature as First Velar Palatalization (Steele 1973; Gussmann 1980; Rubach 1984, and others). I introduce the data under a different name to emphasize the fact that the analysis using OT as the framework departs in fundamental ways from the rule-based analyses found in the literature. As the name First Velar Palatalization suggests, there is also Second Velar Palatalization, which fronts posteriors to dentals in morphologically specified contexts (see Rubach 1984 for a comprehensive analysis).
The candidate [kɔ] would violate IDENT[±round], an undominated constraint in Polish.
This follows from Prince and Smolensky’s (2004) *LAB, *DOR ≫ *CORON that they proposed as the default ranking from the point of view of language typology.
This candidate is eliminated by IDENT-V[-back] or, alternatively, as mentioned earlier, by the segment inventory constraint *ə (no schwa).
The ranking HARD ≫ IDENT-V[-back] is based on Vowel Retraction, /i/ → [ɨ] after hard stridents; see the Appendix.
DE-PAL is a separate constraint. It is not a clone of any specific PAL constraint because PAL constraints refer to specific triggers (PAL-e, PAL-i and so forth) while DE-PAL checks for the string ‘palatalized consonant and front vowel,’ regardless of the source of the palatalized consonant.
The evidence is diachronic because in Modern Ukrainian the historical //zji// has probably restructured as //zɨ//.
It is unclear if the z is palatalized in the underlying representation. However, the argument stands also if the underlying representation is //zim+a// with hard //z//. The effect of DE-PAL is then different in an irrelevant way: DE-PAL blocks Palatalization instead of enforcing Depalatalization.
The distinction between level 1 and level 2 affixes has a time-honored tradition in generative phonology. The idea is attributed to Siegel (1974). It played an important role in Lexical Phonology and was imported into OT by Benua (1997). The novelty of the analysis is that this distinction is applied to Polish, a solution that has never been proposed before.
The spell-out operation, /sj/ → [ɕ], is effected at level 2; recall (20)–(21) in Sect. 2.
The spell-out operation shown in (21) (the rankings POSTERIOR ≫ IDENT[+anter] and *[ʧj] ≫ *[tɕ]), induces the change /sj/ → [ɕ].
PAL-Glide at level 1 palatalizes, for example, //t// and //n// in czyst+y ‘clean’ – czyśc+iec [tɕ+εʦ] ‘purgatory’ and wygnan+y ‘banished’ (passive participle) – wygnan+iec ‘outcast’, the morpheme -iec //Eʦ// has a yer, compare the gen.sg. forms czyść+c+a and wygnań+c+a.
At level 2, IDENT-C[+back] is below both PAL-e and PAL-Glide to enable them to derive [kj] in words such as krok+iem ‘step’ (instr.sg.) and kiep ‘fool’ (nom.sg.): /krɔk+εm/ → [krɔkjεm] and /kEp/ → /kjEp/ (and further → [kjεp] at level 3).
In Early Old Polish the nom.sg. and the gen.pl. had a back yer as an ending. Before the 11th century, the yer was a regular vowel, probably a high lax vowel. After the 11th c., yers either deleted or lowered to [ε]. I sidestep the issue of how inflectional yers should be analyzed in Old Polish.
This is generally true, not only for the [kj gj] that would have been derived in the context of e. The other potential source of phonetic [kj gj] would be PAL-i, but until the 16th c. [k g] could not be followed by [i], for example, today’s gibk+i [gjipkji] ‘bending’ was gybk+y [gɨpkɨ]; see Stieber (1973) for discussion.
The spellings kie and gie denote the pronunciation [kjε] and [gjε], respectively.
This was true for level 2. At level 1, PAL-e and PAL-Glide were restricted to derived environments already in Old Polish and this restriction has never been lifted.
It is not clear when the restructuring occurred, but it is only now when PAL-e cannot apply morpheme-internally that the restructuring becomes evident.
It is difficult to establish at which point exactly the [gjε] pronunciation started occurring. What we know as a fact is that in 1903 [gjε] was attested. Most probably, the [gjε] pronunciation existed already in the 16th/17th c. because this is the time when Surface Velar Palatalization entered Polish as a rule.
Kiparsky (1968, 1973) has argued that the loss of Final Devoicing in Yiddish resulted in the pronunciation of the morpheme weg ‘away’ as [vεk] but the morpheme Weg ‘way’ as [vεg]. The difference is ascribed to the fact that weg [vεk] ‘away’ never had any alternant with [g] while Weg [vεk] ‘way’ had the allomorph [vεg] occurring in inflected forms such as Weg+e [vεg+ə] (pl.), so in the noun there was an alternation between [k] and [g].
Evidence for postlexical processes is notoriously difficult to find in historical phonology, but some insight can be gleaned from the inspection of modern languages. As far as I know, no Slavic language has Palatalization before e across word boundaries. This is true also for Russian that in general has robust Palatalization triggered by e in derived and non-derived environments.
The /ε/ is part of a level 2 suffix.
IDENT-C[-back] must be below HARD to permit Hardening: /ʧj ʤj ʃj/ → [ʧ ʤ ʃ].
The ranking *SOFT-Coron ≫ IDENT-V[-back] is motivated by Vowel Retraction, i → ɨ after a hard coronal; see the evaluation of Tirol → Tyrol in (87) below.
Also before [i]; see the Appendix.
Yer Deletion is inactive at level 1 due to MAX ≫ Yer Del.
This is true for the fragment of Polish phonology analyzed here; it is unlikely to be true for the complete system of the constraints active in Polish phonology.
The velars palatalize in a surface manner: /k g x/ → [kj gj xj]; see the analysis of hak+i ‘hook’ (nom.pl.) below.
POSTER and STRID are outranked by IDENT[+anter] and IDENT[-strid], which is not shown in (79). In fact, POSTER and STRID can be bottom-ranked at level 1.
As noted in Sect. 1.1, this jurisdiction follows from the fact that [±anter] and [±strid] are dependents of the CORONAL node.
Recall from the introductory section that both Palatalization and Vowel Retraction satisfy PAL-i.
Actually, I know of one case of alternation. It is the word ekspedy+cj+a [dɨ] ‘expedition’ – ekspedi+owa+ć [djj] ‘send promptly’. The [j] in the verb is part of the root because the suffix is -owa+ć, as shown by plan ‘plan’ – plan+owa+ć ‘to plan’. The [j] in ekspedi+owa+ć must come from //i// as //i// and not //ɨ// is the source of Gliding: i → j /—V. Therefore, the underlying representation of ekspedi+owa+ć is //εkspεdi+ɔva+tɕ//. Consequently, the underlying representation of ekspedy+cj+a [εkspεdɨ+ʦjj+a] must also have //i//. The surface [ɨ] in ekspedy+cj+a [εkspεdɨ+ʦjj+a] is derived by Retraction: i → ɨ after a hard coronal.
Also, an alternation may arise if two forms of a borrowing coexist: one is a foreign citation form and the other is an assimilated form. This is what we find with maksim+um [i] ‘maximum’ – maksym+al+n+y [sɨ] ‘maximal’. The former has retained the Latin [i] and the Latin stress pattern (stress on a while the native Polish stress is penultimate). On the other hand, the adjective maksym+ al+n+y (the bolded vowel carries stress) has assimilated to the native pattern by adding the Polish adjectivizing morpheme -n and the inflectional ending -y. (Stress is also native as it falls on the penultimate syllable.) Unsurprisingly, the assimilated form shows [ɨ], an effect of Retraction: si → sɨ. The same effect typically occurs in the noun maksim+um once stress moves to the penultimate syllable, thereby exhibiting the native pattern: [ma’ksɨmum].
Unlike PAL-i, IDENT-V[-back] is dominated at level 2: as shown in (87), it is ranked below *SOFT-Coron.
I would like to thank three anonymous NLLT reviewers and Michael Kenstowicz for their discussion and criticism, which have led to considerable improvement of both the content and the presentation of my analysis. However, let me add that the responsibility for this paper is solely mine.
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