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The Coda Mirror v2 (but not exactly 2.0)


This talk proposes a development of the Coda Mirror (Ségéral & Scheer 2001). The motivation for the amendment comes from the word-final situation: we show that the four-way typology that follows from the parameterization of the lateral abilities of FEN on the basis of free combinability of Government and Licensing (Scheer 2004) is inadequate because it overgenerates. There is no empirical response for FEN that can license but not govern, or for FEN that can govern but not license. In addition, a "nightmare situation" is created for word-final consonants when they are governed, but not licensed. This predicts "extra-weak" consonants, an ampirical situation that does not appear to exist.
The only parametric variation found concerns the word-final consonant, which may either be "extrasyllabic" or not. Being "extrasyllabic" means that it is intervocalic, i.e. governed and licensed in terms of the CM v1, while being "non-extrasyllabic" identifies the consonant as a true coda, i.e. a consonant that is neither governed nor licensed. The parametric variation regarding the lateral abilites of FEN is thus binary: either FEN are good lateral actors (i.e. can govern and license), or they are not (i.e. can do neither).
Another aspect of the word-final situation is that it cannot be true that the parameterized lateral abilities of FEN are distributed by morphology ("morphology switches the governing/licensing ability of FEN on or off"). This is because government and licensing is the actual computation that the phonological module carries out, and intermodular communication is of course unable to bear on computational properties: it can only modify the *application* of computation (morphology cannot decide to add a rule to the phonological grammar). Hence the parametric variation regarding the lateral abilities of FEN must be true parameters, i.e. hard-wired as all other parameters. This follows Kaye's (1990) original management of FEN and the associated parametric variation.
Finally, we ask the question why the right edge of the word, rather than the left edge, is special in phonology: why do phonologists always talk about the last, rather than about the first nucleus in a domain? And why is there parametric variation associated to last, but not to first (empty) nuclei? We propose that this is because the string is parsed from right to left: lateral relations are only regressive. Hence the FEN is actually phase-initial. And there is no way for the computation of the string to proceed if the lateral abilities of the FEN are not defined: the lateral abilities of all other constituents depend on the action of the FEN. If the phase-initial nucleus is filled, things are set and no variation is possible. In case it is empty, though, its lateral abilities need to be defined: the lateral actorship of empty nuclei is defined exclusively by the lateral relations that they are subject to - FEN however are subject to nothing at all.
The modification of the domain-final picture has also consequences on the domain-internal situation, where the CM v1 also produces the "nightmare situation". We show this can be done away with if the domain-final solution is generalized: Governmant and Licensing cannot act independently of one another; rather, they obey a hierarchy that determines their behaviour when they could in principle apply simultaneously.

Government over Licensing
1. no constituent can be governed and licensed at the same time.
2. In case a constituent can potentially be subject to both lateral forces, it will be governed.

We show that while this system maintains all effects of the CM v1, it offers two advantages:
1. conceptual: no consonant is exposed to schizophrenia anymore, i.e. simultaneously governed and licensed. This was the case of intervocalic consonants in the CM v1. Intervocalic consonants now are only governed.
2. empirical: a definition of "vowel in closed vs. open syllable" that makes sense is produced. Vowels in open syllables are licensed (hence their distributional latitude is maximal), while vowels in closed syllables are not (hence inventories are dfective etc.).

Finally, an associated prediction is that of the two weak positions, intervocalic consonants (which are governed but unlicensed) are weaker than coda consonants (which are neither governed nor licensed).