Homophony Avoidance

...is homophony avoidance part of the synchronic grammar?

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Andrei Munteanu

IPA (Rom.): [anˈdrej munˈte̯anu]

email: andrei.munteanu at mail.utoronto.ca

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.

References:

  • Munteanu, Andrei (2021). Homophony Avoidance in the Grammar: Russian Nominal Allomorphy. Phonology 38(3).
  • Munteanu, Andrei (2019). Homophony Avoidance: An Experimental Approach. Talk at 16th Old World Conference in Phonology, January 16th, 2019, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.
  • Munteanu Andrei (2018). Homophony avoidance in Russian Masculine Nouns. Talk at Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology/Phonetics Workshop, March 24th, 2018, University of MacMaster at Hamilton, Canada.