Integrating sound symbolism with core grammar: The case of expressive palatalization

John Alderete

Alexei Kochetov


Fifty cases of sound-symbolic expressive palatalization were collected in a typological survey of babytalk registers, diminutive constructions, and other sound symbolic systems. Analysis of the typological trends and language-particular examples reveals important differences between expressive palatalization and phonologically motivated palatalization. To account for expressive palatalization, we propose a novel set of Express(X) constraints in Optimality Theory. The integration of the Express(X) constraints with the rest of phonology is shown to explain the typological differences between expressive and phonological palatalization, account for the phonological extension of expressive palatalization, and constitute a general theoretical framework for sound symbolic phonological patterns.

Keywords: sound symbolism, palatalization, expressive phonology and morphology, typology, Optimality Theory

Downloads:  PDF of the full article, spreadsheet with typology sorted by natural class, OTWorkPlace files illustrating the factorial typology, factbook with descriptions of 50 cases of expressive palatalization

Full citation: Alderete, John and Alexei Kochetov. 2017. Integrating sound symbolism with core grammar: The case of expressive palatalization. Language 93: 731-766.