email: andrei.munteanu at mail.utoronto.ca
Sample Experiment Illustration
illustration credit: Alexandr Gerassimov
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, 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.