Saltation and the P-map

by Bruce Hayes (UCLA) and James White (University College London)

Provisionally accepted in Phonology

This page permits downloading of the journal-submitted version as well as supplemental files.


We define a saltatory phonological alternation as one in which sound A is converted to C, leaping over a phonetically intermediate sound B. For example, in Campidanian Sardinian, intervocalic [p] is realized as [<beta>] -- leaping over [b], which does not alternate. Based on experimental evidence, we argue that saltatory alternation is a marked phenomenon, in the sense that a UG bias causes language learners to disprefer it. However, despite its marked status, saltation does arise from time to time in the world's phonologies; we survey the diachronic origins of saltation and suggest that it is never introduced as a sound change, but arises only incidentally from a variety of historical accidents. Lastly, we propose a new approach to the formal analysis of saltation, based on Zuraw's (2007, 2013) idea of *Map constraints and Steriade's (2001, 2008) notion of the P-map. Under our proposal, saltation is predicted to be disfavored, since by definition it is not P-map-compliant. We argue that this approach can account for the psycholinguistic evidence for learning bias and is more restrictive than previous proposals.


Supplementary materials

These are related to our full-scale analysis of Campidanian saltation.  The pdf file is a set of illustrative tableaux; and the plain text file is a tab-delimited text file for OTSoft.