The Phonetics-Phonology Interface and the Acquisition of Perseverant Underspecification

Mark Hale and Madelyn Kissock

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780199247455
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 The Phonetics-Phonology Interface and the Acquisition of Perseverant Underspecification

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology


Show Summary Details


This article investigates a particular type of underspecification: ‘perseverant’. It provides an example of a more common type of underspecification for purposes of contrast and then reviews two cases of perseverant underspecification, a Russian example discussed in Keating and the case of Marshallese vowels. The article then describes the details of a constraint ranking that would capture this underspecification in an adult grammar. Next, it addresses how an adult grammar of this type can be acquired. Some additional supporting data from Marshallese loanwords is reported. The case of Marshallese vowels is a rather more elaborate instance of perseverant underspecification and one that will highlight the questions which such underspecification cases raise for acquisition. The article turns to the question of the acquisition of underspecified forms in an Optimality–Theoretic framework. The Marshallese case reveals several shortcomings in Optimality Theory, as traditionally practised.

Keywords: perseverant underspecification; Marshallese vowels; adult grammar; Marshallese loanwords; Optimality Theory

Article.  7938 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.