Phonological Restructuring in Yidiny and its Theoretical Consequences

Published 1999:  in Ben Hermans and Marc van Oostendorp, eds., The Derivational Residue in Phonological Optimality Theory, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 175-205.

Bruce Hayes


Detailed study of data in Dixon’s (1977) grammar indicates that previous analyses of Yidiny have erred in supposing that the synchronic pattern of the language continues the historical pattern, whereby various nominal stems have their underlying final vowels deleted when no suffix follows. Instead, it appears that the system has undergone a radical reanalysis, whereby the suffixed forms are now projectable by general principles from the isolation forms. More precisely, a pattern of multiple predictability has developed: the form of suffixed allomorphs is largely predictable from the isolation allomorphs, but the older pattern, whereby isolation allomorphs can be predicted from the suffixed allomorphs, also persists.

From this descriptive result, two principal theoretical consequences are developed: (a) Yidiny possesses a fully-productive pattern of alternation that is not driven by phonotactic constraints; (b) there are more relations of predictability among surface forms in Yidiny than can be treated by the normal method, namely that of deriving all the surface allomorphs from a single underlying representation.

To develop an analysis compatible with these findings, two devices are invoked. First, it is suggested that the theoretical arsenal of Optimality Theory should be expanded to include “Anticorrespondence” constraints, which actively require alternation. They do so by specifying string mappings between the allomorphs of morphemes as they occur in various contexts. Second, I suggest tentatively that the underlying representation be abandoned as the means of characterizing cross-paradigm similarity, to be replaced by a combination of Paradigm Uniformity and Anticorrespondence constraints. Using these devices, an explicit analysis for Yidiny is proposed and tested.


Downloadable Files

Longer Version

This is a long version (about 65 pp.) of the paper, called "Anticorrespondence in Yidiny".

PDF Format [click here to obtain the free PDF reader]

Shorter Version

This version is about 32 pp. long, and is the pre-edited version of the published article.  The title of this version is "Phonological Restructuring in Yidiny and its Theoretical Consequences"

PDF format [click here to obtain the free PDF reader]



The tableaux for this article were machine-prepared, and are too bulky to go into the text other than as micro-illustrations. However, they may be downloaded (about 80 printed pages) and examined.

The tableaux are in the form of ASCII files. In principle, they can be viewed with any word processor. Crucially, you must use a non-proportionally spaced font like Courier, since the tableaux are aligned using empty spaces.

Violations appear as numerals rather than asterisk counts, and the pointing finger is ">".

Any constraint that is nowhere violated in a set of candidates is omitted. Horizontal lines separate constraint strata; even where a stratum contains no constraints that are violated (and hence printed).

The tableaux that have many candidates have very long lines. Schemes for printing these: use "landscape" page orientation, with narrow margins and a small font. I find that with 8 1/2" by 11" paper, half-inch margins, and landscape orientation, the tableaux will fit with 8 point type. The grand ranking chart that comes at the end. however, is pretty hard to print; you might have to just read it off the screen unless you can think of a better strategy.

There are four files, one for each of the basic output patterns that occur in free variation in Yidiny. You can download these by clicking on the label below, then on "Save As" under the File menu (at least, this is how it works in my copy of Netscape).

  1. "Standard", most statistically frequent outputs
  2. Outputs with suffix vowel copy
  3. Outputs with schwa insertion
  4. Outputs without epenthetic vowels

If anyone asks, I will try to prepare a Word version of these.  [ My email ]


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