Asymmetries in the representation of categorical phonotactics

Gillian Gallagher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A comparison of speakers’ treatment of two categorically unattested phonotactic structures in Cochabamba Quechua reveals a stronger grammatical prohibition on roots with pairs of ejectives, *[k’ap’u], than on roots with a plain stop followed by an ejective, *[kap’u]. While the distribution of ejectives can be stated as a single restriction on ejectives preceded by stops (ejective or plain), *[−cont, −son][cg], speakers show evidence of having learned an additional constraint that penalizes cooccurring ejectives more harshly, *[cg][cg]. An inductive learning bias in favor of constraints with the algebraic structure of *[cg][cg] is hypothesized (Marcus 2001, Berent et al. 2002, Berent et al. 2012), allowing such constraints to be preferred by learners over constraints like *[−cont, −son][+cg], which penalize sequences of unrelated feature matrices.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)557-590
    Number of pages34
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 2016


    • Analytic bias
    • Learning
    • Obligatory contour principle
    • Phonetic grounding
    • Quechua

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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