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Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching$
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Jeff MacSwan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027892

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027892.001.0001

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Some Consequences of Language Design: Codeswitching and the PF Interface

Some Consequences of Language Design: Codeswitching and the PF Interface

(p.185) 8 Some Consequences of Language Design: Codeswitching and the PF Interface
Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching

Jeff MacSwan

Sonia Colina

The MIT Press

As an empirical evaluation of the MacSwan’s (1999) PF Disjunction Theorem, reformulated here in Optimality Theoretic terms as the PF Interface Condition, this paper investigates the question of whether bilinguals mix phonologies in codeswitching contexts under two conditions: (a) when relevant phonological constraint rankings introduce a ranking paradox crosslinguistically; and (b) when they do not. Two experiments were conducted. Experiment 1 tested whether Spanish intervocalic approximant (traditionally fricative) allophones of /b, d, g/ would occur in codeswitching contexts when situated between an English vowel and a Spanish vowel at word boundaries (e.g., Hablamos de mi ghost yesterday). Experiment 2 evaluated whether a word-initial English segment may serve as a trigger for Spanish /s/-voicing (e.g., mis ghosts) which shares its internal ranking with English. In Experiment 1 the Spanish process was not triggered on English words. In Experiment 2, a word-initial English voiced consonant was found to trigger voicing assimi-lation in Spanish. Results indicate that phonological processes accept triggers from another language at word boundaries, but do not modify structure crosslinguistically: Spanish phonological processes cannot be triggered to modify English segments. This generalization is true regardless of whether the specific process involves a ranking paradox (as in Experiment 1) or not (as in Experiment 2). Results support the conclusion that phonological rankings are contained within discretely represented phonological systems, and crosslinguistic differences among constraint rankings relevant to specific phonological processes are sufficient to constitute a ranking paradox for the purpose of the PF Interface Condition when the same constraints are ranked differently

Keywords:   Codeswitching, Phonology, Optimality Theory, Borrowing, Spanish

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