Abstract

In a phonological saltation alternation, a segment or class “skips” a relatively similar category to surface as something less similar, as when /ɡ/ alternates with [x], skipping [k]. White (2013) and Hayes and White (2015) argue that saltation is unnatural—difficult to learn in the laboratory and diachronically unstable. They propose that the phonological grammar includes a learning bias against such unnatural patterns. White and Hayes further demonstrate that Harmonic Grammar (HG; Legendre, Miyata, and Smolensky 1990) cannot model typical saltation without nondefault mechanisms that would require extra steps in acquisition, making HG consistent with their proposed learning bias.

I identify deletion saltation as a distinct saltation subtype and show that HG, with faithfulness formalized in standard Correspondence Theory (CT; McCarthy and Prince 1995), can model this pattern. HG/CT thus predicts that deletion saltation, unlike typical (here called segment-scale) saltation, is natural. Other frameworks fail to distinguish the two saltation types—they can either model both types, or neither. Consequently, if future empirical work finds deletion saltation to be more natural than other saltation patterns, this would support weighted-constraint models such as HG over ranked-constraint models such as Optimality Theory (OT; Prince and Smolensky 1993, 2004); would support CT over the *MAP model of faithfulness (Zuraw 2013); and would support formalizing CT featural-faithfulness constraints in terms of IDENT constraints, binary features, or both.

This content is only available as a PDF.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview