Reduplication in Hawaiian: Variations on a theme of minimal word

John Alderete, Kayleigh MacMillan


The article explores a database of over 1600 reduplicated words in Hawaiian and gives the first comprehensive account of the empirical generalizations concerning reduplicant form and associated vowel length alternations. We argue that the observed output patterns and length alternations can be cogently analyzed by recognizing a minimal word target for reduplicant shape. Realizing a minimal word, or a single well-formed foot, is predicted by the integration of standard constraints on prosodic well-formedness and faithfulness constraints in Optimality Theory. We further show that all variant realizations of the reduplicant, and a myriad of exceptional patterns, can be accounted for by re-ordering only faithfulness constraints defined on distinct correspondence relations, documenting that one especially rich dataset can be analyzed with this limitation on constraint systems.

Keywords: stress, length, minimal word, reduplication, generalized templates, Optimality Theory, exceptional phonology, correspondence, phonology of length, Hawaiian, Austronesian

Downloads:  link to the articledata supplement with 1636 reduplicated words coded for 17 phonological and morphological variables, violation data supplement (OTWorkPlace files) 

Full citation: Alderete, John and Kayleigh MacMillan. 2015. Reduplication in Hawaiian: Variations on a theme of minimal word. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 33: 1-45.