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Canadian Raising, Opacity, and Rephonemicization

  • William J. Idsardi (a1)


Canadian Raising—the phonetic changes in vowel quality and quantity in the diphthongs /ai/ and/ au/ before voiceless consonants—has been of considerable importance to phonological theories ever since Joos (1975). The opaque interaction of Canadian Raising and flapping in words such as writer consitutes one of the main arguments for rule ordering in phonology (Chomsky and Halle 1968; Chambers 1975). Recently, Mielke, Armstrong, and Hume (2003) have challenged Joos’s phonemic splitting analysis and have argued that Canadian Raising, rather than being a productive phonological process, is a static lexicalized generalization implemented as a choice between allomorphic variants. A rebuttal to this allomorphic analysis is offered based on evidence that, for some speakers, Canadian Raising productively applies in novel morphological contexts, in language games, and in the phrasal phonology, none of which are amenable to an allomorphic analysis.


Le Canadian Raising—qui implique des changements phonétiques qualitatifs et quantitatifs dans la voyelle des diphtongues /ai/ and /au/ devant les consonnes non-voisées—a suscité un intérêt particulier pour les théories phonologiques depuis Joos (1975). L’intéraction complexe du Canadian Raising et du battement dans des mots comme writer a constitué un des principaux arguments pour l’ordonnance des règles en phonologie (Chomsky et Halle 1968; Chambers 1975). Récemment, Mielke, Armstrong et Hume (2003) remettent en question l’analyse de Joos selon laquelle ce phénomène impliquerait une scission phonémique. Les auteurs argumentent que le Canadian Raising n’est pas un processus phonologique productif, mais revêt plutôt le statut d’une généralisation lexicalisée et statique qui constitue un choix parmi plusieurs variantes allomorphiques. Cette analyse allomorphique est ici réfutée sur la base de données indiquant que, pour certains locuteurs, le Canadian Raising s’applique de façon productive dans de nouveaux contextes morphologiques, dans les jeux de langue, et aussi dans la phonologie phrastique; aucun de ces contextes ne se prête à une analyse en termes d’allomorphie.



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Canadian Raising, Opacity, and Rephonemicization

  • William J. Idsardi (a1)


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