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R. ARMIN MESTER, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This work investigates issues concerning the internal structure of melody elements and the proper treatment of melody association in reduplication within the framework of multitiered nonlinear phonology. The unifying idea is that multitiered representations not only increase the possibilities of multiple linking, but also extend the range and empirical coverage of general principles of phonologic theory (the Obligatory Contour Principle, the principle of Tier Conflation, and the Geminate Constraint). Chapter I discusses questions regarding the microstructure of melody elements. It is argued that if the feature contents of segments is universally represented on a number of separate tiers, which are each governed by the OCP, it becomes possible to give a simple and explanatory account of complex morpheme structure constraints and certain types of harmony processes. A parametrized theory of tier structure is developed which crucially posits dependency relations between tiers. In chapter II, the theory of dependent tier ordering proposed in chapter I is extended on the basis of a detailed investigation of the root structure constraints found in the Western Austronesian language Javanese. Attention is paid to the empirical status of the Javanese root constraints, and statistical tools are employed to show the validity of the generalizations. Chapter III turns to the theory of reduplication and focuses on the proper treatment of melody association in reduplication. Building on earlier nonconcatenative approaches to reduplication, it is claimed that reduplicative templates are skeletal morphemes simultaneous with the root skeleton. The melody units are therefore multiply associated with two simultaneous skeleta which are linearized by the principle of Tier Conflation. This theory offers a natural account for many of the special characteristics of reduplicative constructions and their hitherto problematic interaction with phonological rules.

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Recommended Citation

MESTER, R. ARMIN, "STUDIES IN TIER STRUCTURE" (1986). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8701200.