Publication Date

January 2000

Journal or Book Title

Optimality Theory: Syntax, Phonology, and Acquisition


Morphological processes are often sensitive to the prosodic structure of their inputs. Phenomena like these have been analyzed under the rubric of operational Prosodic Circumscription by McCarthy & Prince 1990.

This article re-examines certain of the principal cases supporting positive prosodic circumscription, arguing that they can be better explained as effects of prosodic faithfulness within Optimality Theory using Correspondence. Two main types of circumscription-as-faithfulness are discussed: (i) Circumscriptional effects emerging from faithfulness to the edges or heads of prosodic constituents (Yidiny, Rotuman, Cupeño, Berber). (ii) Circumscriptional effects emerging from faithfulness to moras and mora-segment associations (Arabic broken plural).

Circumscription-as-faithfulness complements the results obtained in re-analyzing infixation within OT (Prince & Smolensky 1991, 1993; McCarthy & Prince 1993ab) and it supports the explanatory goals of the theory of Prosodic Morphology.