Haitian has optional regressive nasal assimilation in a vowel-nasal (VN) context: /fami/ [fãmi] ‘family’. It is found also in recent loan-words in contexts where the source lacks phonetic nasalization. This process systematically underapplies in VNs that correspond to vowel- rhotic-nasal (VRN) sequences in French: [ʃãm] chambre ‘room’ vs. [ʃam] charme ‘charm’. We claim that etymological VRN and VR# have a different synchronic description: VRNs have no R, but VR#s do. VRNs crucially contain an empty CV that disrupts the locality between the trigger/target of nasal assimilation, hence the counterfeeding: /ʃam/ = [ʃãm] ‘room’ vs. /ʃaCVm/ = [ʃam] / *[ʃãm] ‘charm’. According to this analysis, only VR#s have synchronic R: [tε] ‘land’ vs. [ã-teʀ-e] ‘to land’. VR# forms interact with the morphology in interesting ways. Haitian has a case of nonoptimizing phonologically conditioned allomorph selection (PCA), /-a/ after V and /-la/ after C: [lapli-a] ‘the rain’ vs. [ʃat-la] ‘the cat’. However, here VR# forms create opaque and nonoptimizing R-less forms: [tε-a] / *[tε-ʀa] ‘the land’ (cf. [ã-teʀ-e] ‘to land’). This is solved with underlying floating consonants and a prevocalic phonological condition on R. PCA selection is eliminated since the surface variants are generated phonologically from unique underlying forms.

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