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Andrei Munteanu
[anˈdrej munˈte̯anu]

[email protected]

Russian Homophony



Abstract:

It has long been observed that languages, either through introducing sound changes or inhibiting them, tend to preserve contrast. However, it is not clear if any instances of so-called homophony avoidance reported to date constitute an active synchronic restriction in the grammar. I present a novel instance of homophony avoidance in Russian nominals and, in a follow up expriment, I show that the trends observed in the corpus are only partially extended to nonce words. The particular asymmetry observed in the experimental results can only be reasonably attributed to a synchronic restriction against homophonous forms in the same paradigm, an argument in favor of a synchronic anti-homophony constraint.


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experiment items experiment results