Inter-tier Correspondence Theory

Lian-Hee Wee
2004
Inter-tier Correspondence Theory (ICT) is a theory of candidate structure. It is a response to phenomena in which both opaque and transparent derivational effects are simultaneously attested. The response that ICT provides rests upon the recognition that structural configurations are crucial in triggering alternations in the first place. By appealing to percolation, ICT assumes that each phonological output candidate is in fact a structural representation where non-terminal nodes reconstruct
more » ... odes reconstruct the information content of the constituent nodes. However, reconstruction may be imperfect. That outputs are structural is hardly novel, since GEN generates structures to given strings. Instead, it is the carriage of information in non-terminal nodes that is noteworthy. Under ICT, terminal nodes would be identical to the input string. Alternations no longer apply to strings but to constituencies as elements of the input string percolate upwards in their constituent structures. This is an important improvement because it directly addresses the fact that mere adjacency does not trigger alternation (many marked collocations are tolerated if the offending sequence are not within the same constituent). To be precise, GEN takes an input string and maps it to candidate structures of various percolative possibilities with the terminal nodes identical to the input string and non-terminal nodes corresponding to their subordinates in a multitude of ways. Thus, ICT directly captures the insights of the containment and correspondence approaches within optimality theory. There is nothing derivational about percolation when construed as correspondence between tiers. In fact, ICT views structural tiers as one would a multi-layered club sandwich. In making the sandwich, layers are ordered, but in eating, it hardly matters. The usefulness of ICT is illustrated through a study of tonological alternation patterns in Mandarin and Tianjin. These languages illustrate that simultaneous exhibition of any of 'feeding', 'bleeding', 'counterfeeding' and [...]
doi:10.7282/t3c82844 fatcat:xjzuplsfdbd2rptjmphljf2n4u