Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Asymmetries in the acquisition of consonant clusters

Della Chambless, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The research carried out in this dissertation is based upon the well-documented connection between crosslinguistic phonology and phonological acquisition. It takes as a starting point several syllable-based (universal) constraints and formulates predictions regarding intermediate stages of consonant cluster acquisition. These stages are characterized by asymmetries of both segmental and contextual natures. Not only do such constraints allow us to predict developmental orders (e.g. a cluster of a certain type or in a certain position is predicted to emerge prior to another), but they should also have an effect on which repairs are chosen (i.e. which consonant is retained and which is deleted). The experimental design utilized here includes manipulations of word position, cluster type, stress, and vowel quality. Results provide evidence for sonority constraints, constraints regarding the interaction between stress and syllable weight, and positional faithfulness constraints in intermediate stages of consonant cluster acquisition.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Chambless, Della, "Asymmetries in the acquisition of consonant clusters" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3242377.