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A challenge for Harmonic Serialism with Optimal Interleaving*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2014

Eulàlia Bonet*
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


This paper examines two related phenomena from Catalan that pose a challenge to a proposal in McCarthy (2012) that combines Harmonic Serialism (HS) with the theory of Optimal Interleaving (OI) of Wolf (2009). The first phenomenon, found with stems ending in a sibilant, is the selection of a marked masculine allomorph only before the plural morph, also a sibilant, which prevents an OCP violation. The second, phrasal, phenomenon is restricted to one dialect of Catalan: the plural morpheme is not realised in prenominal position only when it would surface between two consonants. It is shown that, with some crucial modifications on the way spell-out proceeds, HS/OI can account for the two phenomena when they occur separately, but when they co-occur within the same phrase, wrong predictions are made, due to the one-change-at-a-time basic property of HS. These problems do not arise in a parallel OT approach.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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I am grateful to Joan Mascaró for discussion of the issues raised in this paper and for having read earlier drafts of it. This work has also benefited greatly from the very detailed comments and questions posed by three anonymous reviewers. Financial support for this research was received from the Spanish Ministry of Education (grant FFI 2010-22181-CO3-01) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (research group 2009SGR1079).



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