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Edges and asymmetries in phonology and morphology


While symmetry has often been characterized as a central property of human language, there are a wide variety of asymmetries that emerge in prominent positions ((cf. Beckman 1999, Becker 2009, Becker et alii. 2012, Topintzi 2010). Beckman (1999) argues that in prominent positions, featural contrasts are rarely neutralized, and treats this fact with a theory of positional faithfulness couched within Optimality Theory. In this project we focus on a set of phenomena found in languages spoken in Brazil (Portuguese and indigenous languages) that present neutralization, lenition, and phonological transparency in prominent positions. This project is based on the initial hypothesis that prominent positions may prefer marked structures (Zoll 1997), which in turn may involve neutralization and lenition, and therefore are not only based on resisting neutralization. The central question of this research, therefore, explores which architectures of the grammar and its interface are best-suited to studying markedness and its positional distribution. We specifically investigate whether grammar proceeds in a serial computation (in cyclic derivations, as characterized by a Turing machine) or instead in a representational architecture. While this topic has been previously treated in grammatical theory, there is still no definitive consensus on this issue (cf. Embick 2010), and moreover, more recent proposals have even considered the possibility of a hybrid architecture (cf. Trommer 2002). We aim to treat these questions within a multidisciplinary approach, integrating the methodology of behavioral experiments, acoustic analysis, and computational modeling in concert with theoretical development. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Por la supervivencia de los idiomas indígenas 
Toward the survival of indigenous languages 
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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PLINIO A. BARBOSA; PAULA BENASSI PAPA; BRUNO ANDRADE SILVA; NATASHA MOURÃO. Harmonia vocálica e coarticulação vogal a vogal em duas variedades do português brasileiro. DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada, v. 35, n. 2 2019-04-15.
BECKER, MICHAEL; NEVINS, ANDREW; SANDALO, FILOMENA; RIZZATO, ERICK. The Acquisition Path of [w]-final Plurals in Brazilian Portuguese. JOURNAL OF PORTUGUESE LINGUISTICS, v. 17, 2018. Web of Science Citations: 2.

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