This chapter centers on the formal framework for prominence-based licensing patterns. It contains the chief theoretical claims of this book. Three representations for prominence-based licensing of vowel properties are advocated: direct licensing, indirect licensing, and identity licensing. The generalized licensing constraint schema that is advanced has the capacity to drive each of these configurations. The analysis of licensing effects within and across languages is developed within Optimality Theory. Which particular licensing representation occurs in a language is determined by the interaction of licensing constraints with other constraints in the grammar. Generalized licensing constraints thereby capture a common factor that is active across prominence-based licensing patterns, despite differences in the specifics that the patterns display.
This chapter is organized as follows. §3.2 provides background on the concept of licensing in phonology. The three licensing configurations advanced in this work are introduced in §3.3. In §3.4 the licensing constraint schema is presented. §3.5 demonstrates primary interactions of licensing constraints with other constraints, with emphasis on assimilation scenarios. Morpheme-specific licensing effects are addressed in §3.6. A summary is provided in §3.7.
The concept of licensing
Prominence-based licensing of segmental properties, as pursued in this work, involves formal restrictions in which the well-formed occurrence of some segmental property is contingent upon its expression – in part or in full – in some particular prominent position.