Morphological structure and phonological domains in Spanish denominal derivation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Spanish denominal derivation, the stem formative of the base typically disappears before the derivational suffix: e.g. man-o ‘hand’, man-az-a ‘hand.AUG’, *man-o-az-a. This pattern can be analysed in two ways: as driven by a morphotactic restriction, or as created by a morphophonological process of stem-final vowel deletion. Following James Harris, most generative linguists have consistently assumed the former; Stratal Optimality Theory, however, requires the latter, for otherwise the interaction between diphthongization and depalatalization gives rise to a stratification paradox. This paper adduces independent morphological evidence to confirm the existence of stem-final vowel deletion in Spanish, as predicted by Stratal Optimality Theory. Our data reveal a previously unrecognized contrast between pseudoplural nouns and nouns with athematic stems ending in /s/, and cast light on the relative rôles of suffixes and infixes in diminutive formation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptimality-theoretic studies in Spanish phonology
EditorsFernando Martinez-Gil, Sonia Colina
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameLinguistics Today
PublisherJohn Benjamins


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