Acquisition of extended prosodic words in Greek via consonant harmony
The present research examines the use of consonant harmony in the longitudinal data of four Greek-speaking children with typical development and how it facilitates language acquisition in an environment that is not well studied with this process in child speech from a phonological perspective. In particular, it is used for prosodic reasons and in order for children to acquire extended prosodic words. Properties of consonant harmony such as the domain, direction and degree of assimilation are also examined. Our data are couched in Optimality Theory framework (Prince & Smolensky, 1993) and more specifically, they are based on Pater & Werle’s (2001, 2003) proposal, who consider this process as agreement between consonants. This proposal can account for harmonies with full assimilation and change of place in targets only. However, children’s tokens present variation to the degree of assimilation and the number of distinctive features that change in target. So, we also rely on Multiple Parallel Grammars model (Revithiadou & Tzakosta, 2004), which in combination with the proposal of Pater & Werle’s (2001, 2003), can adequately account for the additional and variable properties of consonant harmony presented in children’s extended prosodic words.
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