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Syllable Markedness And Misperception: It's A Two-Way Street

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Chapter Summary

The typology of syllables, while providing clues concerning language transmission, is irrelevant to the study of linguistic competence, in general, and the grammatical theory of syllable structure, in particular. The disagreement between the two accounts centers on two key issues. The research described in this chapter addresses both issues by examining the universal restrictions on the structure of onset clusters. It shows that the typological preference for blif-type syllables is synchronically active and it extends even to syllables that are unattested in one's language: marked syllables are systematically misperceived relative to less marked syllables. The chapter describes two novel experiments demonstrating that the misperception of marked syllables reflects preferences that are internal to the faculty of language. The results reported suggests that universal markedness restrictions are synchronically active in the grammars of all speakers, and are causally linked to perceptibility.

Keywords: blif; marked syllables

10.1163/ej.9789004187405.i-464.111
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