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On the theory of Lexical Phonology*

  • Ellen M. Kaisse (a1) and Patricia A. Shaw (a2)

The theory of Lexical Phonology, which forms one of the themes of this volume, was developed by Paul Kiparsky and K. P. Mohanan and first introduced in monographs appearing in the early 1980s (Kiparsky 1982a, b; Mohanan 1982). The number of phonologists that have begun to work within or in response to the theory in the short time since its appearance is worthy of remark. One reason that Lexical Phonology has sparked so much interest must surely be that it supplies new tools for analysis and new ways of approaching recalcitrant problems. But another part of its appeal lies in the way it comes as a natural outgrowth of and response to so many of the major trends in phonology and morphology in the last 15 years. Our purpose in writing this introduction is to trace the history of some ideas that come together in Lexical Phonology and to provide the reader with an overview of the model itself. In this we shall be covering some already well-trodden ground, for Kiparsky, Mohanan, and many of their colleagues and students have included eloquent introductions to Lexical Phonology within their articles. However, we trust that readers of the Phonology Yearbook will find it useful to have in hand an exposition of the different facets of the model and the recent challenges and modifications it has undergone. And while our intentions are more pedagogical than critical, we shall from time to time point out difficulties inherent in some or all versions of the model.

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