Speaker awareness of non-local ejective phonotactics in Cochabamba Quechua

Gillian Gallagher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper presents evidence that speakers of Cochabamba Quechua are aware of non-local restrictions on ejectives in their language. A repetition task was run to investigate the synchronic status of two restrictions in Quechua: the co-occurrence restriction on ejectives, which prohibits roots with two ejectives (e.g., *[k'ap'i]), and the ordering restriction on ejectives, which prohibits roots with an initial plain stop and a medial ejective (e.g., *[kap'i]). Medial ejectives are generally attested in the language, but only occur in roots with an initial fricative or sonorant (e.g., [mat'i] 'forehead'). Native Quechua speakers were asked to repeat a mixture of real and nonsense words with medial ejectives, where the nonsense words were either phonotactically legal but unattested roots or phonotactically illegal roots that violated either the co-occurrence restriction or the ordering restriction. Medial ejectives are accurately repeated significantly more often in nonce roots where the medial ejective is phonotactically legal than when it is illegal. There is variation among subjects as to whether accuracy differs greatly between the co-occurrence and ordering category targets. Additionally, there is variation in how roots that violate the ordering restriction are repaired: both de-ejectivization, e.g., target [kap'i] produced as [kapi], and movement of ejection, e.g., target [kap'i] produced as [k'api] are common. This variation in repair strategy has implications for the formal analysis of the restriction, which must predict all well-attested repairs.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1067-1099
    Number of pages33
    JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Nov 2013


    • Co-occurrence
    • Ejectives
    • Experimental phonology-productivity
    • Phonotactics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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