The role of alignment in morphology and prosody : the case of Polish
This dissertation investigates the role of alignment in morphology and phonology and its implications for the theory of Generalised Alignment (McCarthy & Prince 1993) via a close examination of Polish data. An issue of great theoretical interest is the asymmetry between Left and Right Alignment. Left Alignment enjoys a privileged treatment in prosody and morphology. In prosody, LEFT alignment is obeyed even in languages with right oriented primary stress: left alignment is crucial in the assignment of secondary stress. A similar asymmetry applies to ANCHORING. A detailed study of truncation reveals that Left Anchoring is preferred over Right Anchoring. The source of this asymmetry is sought in left-to-right processing (Hay 2002). I argue, against Nelson (2003), that in spite of this preference, RIGHT Anchoring cannot be replaced by other Anchor constraints, such as Anchoring to head foot. Another issue addressed in this dissertation is the type of material that can be aligned. I concentrate on segmental feature spreading (palatalisation and voicing) across morpheme boundaries. Palatalisation does not spread across prefix/stem boundaries and obeys Align (Feature, Stem). Voicing is immune to Alignment and spreads across the whole obstruent cluster. This asymmetry is grounded in articulation. Spreading of palatalisation involves an additional tongue movement towards the hard palate. De/voicing involves a complete readjustment of the glottis, which is more difficult to control than the palatalising tongue movement. Lastly, I show that primary and secondary stresses can be sensitive to different prosodic domains in a single grammar. In Polish, primary stress aligns with the Morphosyntactic Word, while secondary stress aligns with the Prosodic Word. Further, I investigate the mode of violation of the alignment constraints and I argue, contra (McCarthy 2003) that violation of constraints cannot be categorical.