This thesis aims to examine the concept of phonological opacity and reconceptualise it. A large part of the discourse on the subject is focused on theory-specific issues and how to best model opaque data within a particular framework, with little to no literature on metatheoretical questions surrounding the phenomenon. Phonological opacity has posed one of the biggest challenges for modern phonological theories such as Optimality Theory. Its modeling, however, is straightforward in rule-based frameworks. This thesis aims to provide a somewhat less theory-bound analysis of the concept (and related ideas) and examine what features seem to be required for successful modeling of opaque data. It will be proposed that an acknowledgement of the diachronic dimension is key to make sense of the phenomenon. Moreover it will be suggested that thinking of opacity as a subset of exceptionality, as is done in historical linguistics, is a fruitful line of inquiry, one that was largely foreclosed by the radical separation of synchrony and diachrony in the Post-Bloomfieldian tradition. Case studies will be presented that provide an empirical basis for the evaluation of these assertions. This leads into a discussion of the kind of evidence that might be regarded as equally valid across framework, followed by a pilot study that illustrates the type of external evidence that could be brought to bear on theoretical debates.
Unpublished and poorly formatted MA thesis - peruse at your own risk.
Recommended citation: Copot (2018) “Fauxpacity: an analogical reanalysis of phonological opacity and evidence in favour”. MA Thesis.