Sam Zukoff

Reduplication in Ponapean (and Tawala): Re-evaluating “Base-Dependence”

Ponapean (Pohnpeian; Micronesian, Rehg & Sohl 1981) and Tawala (Western Oceanic; Ezard 1997) display intricate phonologically-driven reduplicant-shape alternations that can be accounted for in Base-Reduplicant Correspondence Theory (BRCT; McCarthy & Prince 1995; see, e.g. Kennedy 2003 and Zukoff 2020 on Ponapean; Hicks Kennard 2004 on Tawala). Both languages’ reduplication patterns have been claimed to exhibit “base-dependence” (Inkelas & Zoll 2005), in that the alternations can only be explained with reference to the surface reduplicant+base string (Zukoff 2020 on Ponapean; Haugen & Hicks Kennard 2011 on Tawala). As such, these patterns should not be analyzable in Morphological Doubling Theory (Inkelas & Zoll 2005), which predicts the absence of such patterns.

In this talk, I will show that, while Ponapean’s reduplicant-shape alternations do constitute base-dependence, they in fact are amenable to MDT analysis. (The same state of affairs holds for Tawala, which will be included in an appendix.) By invoking independently argued-for technology relating to prosodic constituency, the BRCT analysis can be imported into MDT in a way that preserves its base-dependent character. I conclude that MDT’s claim that it cannot capture base-dependent reduplicant-shape alternations must be abandoned, and therefore that these types of patterns actually will not help us distinguish between MDT and other theories of reduplication after all.