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Title: Against synchronic chain shifting
Author: Neasom, N. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 1676
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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In a synchronic chain shift, some underlying form /A/ is realized on the surface as a distinct surface form [B]. Simultaneously, underlying instances of /B/ are realized as a further distinct form [C]. This has traditionally been viewed as problematic; if /B/ cannot surface faithfully, then underlying /A/ should map to [C]. I argue that the A → B → C nature of synchronic chain shifts is not genuinely problematic. There is nothing substantive uniting the class of processes that exhibit an A → B → C mapping. I begin by showing that whilst there are several theories that model synchronic chain shifting, there is no genuine consensus on how the term is to be defined. I compare chain shifts in synchrony to shifts in diachrony and acquisition, concluding that in both cases there are few genuine similarities. Next, I present a detailed survey of putative synchronic chain shifts. Building on a collection compiled by Elliott Moreton (2004a), I revise and update information on existing entries and add new examples. Using examples from the survey as case studies, I argue that there are no coherent groups of shifts above the level of the segment. Furthermore, whilst there are coherent classes of processes at the level of the segment, the forces that motivate them are indifferent to whether they result in a chain shift. Finally, I present the results of a pilot Artificial Grammar Learning experiment. The experiment gives no reason to suppose that chain shifts are any more or less learnable than similar, non-chain shift patterns. I conclude that there is nothing uniting the set of putative synchronic chain shifts. If we are to treat these effects as genuinely synchronic, effects featuring A → B → C mappings are better explained using more general principles of the phonological grammar.
Supervisor: Harris, J. ; Nevins, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available