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Shaping Phonology$
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Diane Brentari and Jackson L. Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226562452

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226562599.001.0001

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French Liaison in the Light of Corpus Phonology: From Lexical Information to Patterns of Usage Variation

French Liaison in the Light of Corpus Phonology: From Lexical Information to Patterns of Usage Variation

Chapter:
(p.278) Thirteen French Liaison in the Light of Corpus Phonology: From Lexical Information to Patterns of Usage Variation
Source:
Shaping Phonology
Author(s):

Bernard Laks

Basilio Calderone

Chiara Celata

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226562599.003.0013

Based on the PFC corpus (Phonologie du Français Contemporain) and a dataset of 27,788 liaison sites, we show that the phenomenology of French liaison, far from being captured by a phonological process stricto sensu, is regulated by the lexical information carried by the liaison consonant. The principles according to which a small amount of high-frequency and syntactically bound left words produce obligatory liaison do not account for the large periphery of variable liaison, which in turn is subject to lexical constraints and can be the locus of diachronic and socio-stylistic variation. Many of the liaison words occurring with the highest token frequency in the corpus can also be produced with non-realized liaison, thus pertaining to the large periphery of variable liaisons. It is then argued that liaison in itself is stored as a variable process.

Keywords:   French liaison, corpus phonology, variation, PFC

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