Haitian presents a case of optional regressive nasal assimilation: /fami/ [fãmi] ‘family’. Vowels may optionally become nasal preceding a nasal consonant (VN). Curiously, this process systematically underapplies in the VN sequences corresponding to Vowel-Rhotic-Nasal sequences in French (VRN): [ʃãm] chambre ‘room’ vs. [ʃam] charme ‘charm’. Haitian is also famous for its non-optimizing phonologically conditioned allomorph selection, handled in previous analyses as an anti-markedness effect (Klein 2003) or as a morphologically specified vocabulary insertion (Bonet, Lloret, and Mascaró 2007): [tɛ-a] ‘the land’ vs. [ʃat-la] ‘the cat’. The Strict CV reanalysis of Haitian proposed here simplifies the phonological analysis of the language by eliminating both the counterfeeding and the allomorphy. In our analysis, etymological VRN and VR# have a different synchronic description; VRNs contain no underlying R, though VR#s do. Although VRNs have no underlying rhotic, they crucially do contain an empty CV. This empty syllable structure disrupts the locality between the nasal assimilation’s trigger and its target, generating the counterfeeding: /ʃam/ = [ʃãm] ‘room’ vs. /ʃaCVm/ = [ʃam] *[ʃãm] ‘charm’. On this view, the counterfeeding receives exactly the same explanation as the blocking in words like /palVmis/ [palmis] *[pãlmis] ‘palm tree’. This accounts for the counterfeeding. Turning to the allomorphy, only VR#s present synchronic R-zero alternations: [tɛ] ‘land’ vs. [ãteʀe] ‘to bury’. This synchronic alternation is explained as a contextual phonological condition on R (it must be prevocalic) and the underlying shape of the definite article (it begins with a floating consonant). The interplay between these factors generates the surface phenomenon without any allomorphy at all. Instead, it proposes a phonological solution for the surface variation in articles based on a single underlying form (see Nikiema 1999).

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