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Tuesday, April 24 • 9:00am - 9:20am
A Comparative Analysis Of French And Portuguese Phonologies Using Optimality Theory

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French and Portuguese both belong to the Romance language family, which is typically defined as the languages that have evolved from the Latin left over by the Roman conquest. At first glance, these two languages may seem wildly dissimilar, as both French and Portuguese are regarded as being rather phonologically different not only from one another, but also from Italian, Spanish, and Latin. However, taking a deeper look at these two languages shows that they may in fact be more similar than imagined. Both French and Portuguese do interesting things to avoid (or emphasize, in some cases) hiatus, or the break between two vowels that have come together as parts of separate syllables (like in the English word cooperate). In order to investigate the phenomenon of hiatus as it occurs in these two separate phonological systems, I have employed a linguistic theory known as Optimality Theory (OT). OT is a linguistic model that proposes the observed forms of language arise from the optimal satisfaction of conflicting universal linguistic constraints. By way of OT, it is possible to conduct a comparative analysis of the phonologies of French and Portuguese, and to see just how similar (or dissimilar) these two languages actually are. I am making use of the comparative analysis of French and Portuguese to test the universality of constraints proposed in individual accounts of French and Portuguese hiatus repairs, which is an important step to reach a better understanding of not only French and Portuguese, but also the universality of constraints functioning within the context of OT.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am PDT
012 Whiteside Hall

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