EXPRESS[P] in expressive phonology: analysis of a nicknaming pattern using ‘princess’ in Japanese
Gakuji Kumagai
January 2023

Recent studies have shown that sound-symbolic patterns can be modelled using phonological theory. The purpose of the current study is to describe a new Japanese nicknaming pattern, pime-yobi, wherein [h] alternates with [p] to express cuteness, and to model it using maximum entropy harmonic grammar. The current study, building on the analysis of Alderete & Kochetov (2017), proposes a sound-symbolic EXPRESS[P] constraint that requires output forms to contain [p]. The results of two experiments show that the sound-symbolic effect of [p] associated with the image of cuteness is present in a cumulative manner, and the pime-yobi nicknaming exhibits intra- and inter-speaker variation in terms of acceptability and cuteness. Based on these results, the current theoretical analysis shows that the EXPRESS[P] constraint displays counting cumulativity, and the weight of this constraint varies both across different speakers and with the same speaker.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007065
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Phonology
keywords: nicknaming, variation, cumulativity, sound symbolism, maximum entropy harmonic grammar, phonology
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