Japanese mimetic palatalization revisited: implications for conflicting directionality

John Alderete, Alexei Kochetov

Abstract: This article re-examines ‘conflicting directionality ’ in Japanese mimetic words, a distributional pattern in which palatalisation is preferentially realised on the rightmost of two coronal consonants, but on the leftmost consonant in a word without coronals. Analysis of the original dictionary evidence given in support of this generalisation and an exhaustive search of the Japanese mimetic stratum reveal both several counterexamples to conflicting directionality and the fact that the datasets are far too small to support linguistic generalisation. The theoretical assumptions employed to account for Japanese mimetic palatalisation are thus re-examined, with a focus on clarifying the predictions for future valid examples of conflicting directionality.

Keywords: palatalization, Japanese, mimetics, edge effects, conflicting directionality, process morphology

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Full citation: 2009. Alderete, John and Alexei Kochetov. Japanese mimetic palatalization revisited: implications for conflicting directionality.  Phonology 26: 369-388.