Attractive as might seem the challenge to build a process or performance model that can account for every behavioural decision, there are a number of sound reasons to tackle first the still difficult (but hopefully manageable) task of developing a competence model; of trying to find the underlying system that informs and constrains (if it doesn't always actually govern) choice. (Spolsky 1988: 105)
This article aims at showing the predictability of phonological adaptation, segment preservation and deletion in borrowings. It is shown that ill-formed segments are preserved and adapted in the vast majority of cases; segment deletion occurs only when an ill-formed segment is embedded within a higher level ill-formed structure, such as the syllable. This conclusion is based on the study of 15,686 segmental and syllabic malformations found in 11,348 loanword forms from five different corpora of loanwords. The analysis, which is set within the Theory of Constraints and Repair Strategies, is illustrated with the data from a corpus of 545 French loanwords in Fula.
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