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Positional Faithfulness for weak positions. Paroma Sanyal EFL- University. Positional Constraints. Strong and Weak positions. Positional Faithfulness. Positional Faithfulness is interpreted as positional faithfulness to a strong position

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positional faithfulness
Positional Faithfulness
  • Positional Faithfulness is interpreted as positional faithfulness to a strong position
  • Ident-Pos [F]: Segments in position (Pos) in the output sequence for the feature [F] should correspond to segments in position (Pos) for the feature [F] in the input sequence
  • Ident-Pos [F] >> Ident [F]
neutralization restricted to weak position
Neutralization restricted to weak position

Ident [F]/ Str




Ident [F]

positional augmentation
Positional Augmentation
  • Positional augmentation is a term coined by Cheryl Zoll to refer to refer to the markedness requirement of licensing more salient segmental material in strong positions.
  • This markedness when dominating constraint may result in a variety of faithfulness and markedness constraint violations.
jennifer smith 2002
Jennifer Smith (2002)


High-sonority peak

Zabiče Slovene (Crosswhite 1999);

MokshanMordwin (Kenstowicz 1994)


Dutch (Booij 1995), Western Arrernte

(Strehlow 1942; Davis 1988; Downing 1998)

Low-sonority onset

Pirahã (Everett & Everett 1984), Niuafo'ou

(Tsukamoto 1998; de Lacy 2000, 2001)

C [+rel]

Supra-laryngeal place

Chamicuro (Parker 2001)



YawelmaniYokuts (Newman 1944; Kuroda

1967; Kisseberth 1969; Archangeli 1984)



Arapaho (Salzmann 1956), GuhangIfugao

(Newell 1956, Landman 1999)

Low-sonority onset

Mongolian (Ramsey 1987), Kuman (Lynch

1983; Blevins 1994), Mbabaram (Dixon 1991),

Campidanian Sardinian (Bolognesi 1998)

positional constraints for weak positions
Positional Constraints for weak positions
  • Interaction of positional reduction or augmentation with another phonological process in a common context.
  • The “other” process may be phonologically or morphologically motivated.
  • The logical possibilities as well as natural language data available are complex and many. But….
guugu yimidhirr

Ist σ heavy

waaɽigan ‘moon’


guuɽumugu ‘meat hawk’

2ndσ heavy


gambuugu ‘head’

ḏamaaɽbina ‘magpie goose’

1stand 2nd σ heavy


muuluumul ‘dove’

daaɾaalŋan ‘kangaroo’

ɗiɽaayŋguɽ ‘old man’

morphological environment
Morphological environment
  • /maŋal-nda/ ma.ŋaal.nda ‘clay’
  • /wuluŋguɾ-nda/ wu.luŋ.guɾ.nda ‘lightning’

* wu.luŋ.guuɾ.nda

  • Vowel Harmony
  • No prominence induced augmentation or reduction
  • All vowels in all positions!
  • Initial /a/ resists any alternation
  • Final /a/ shows up as lexical variation
  • Initial /i/ shows lexical variation
  • Final /i/ is without any alternation
  • Strong and weak positions are not very different from each other in the context morphological and phonological processes
  • Strong positions prefer augmentation. This might be blocked by dominant faithfulness requirement in the language.
  • Weak positions prefer reduction. Again this might be blocked by dominant faithfulness requirement in the language.
  • Additionally strong positions do not prefer to undergo reduction and weak positions resist augmentation
some more interesting cases
Some more interesting cases
  • Dutch- Jennifer Smith
  • Obligatory onset in strong position




  • Shimakonde- Laura J.Downing

Stress controlled reduction

Vowel harmony