Congratulations to Heather Newell and Glyne Piggott, whose paper “Interactions at the syntax-phonology interface: Evidence from Ojibwe” was just published by Lingua. You can download the full paper here.
This paper provides evidence that word-internal syntax can play a crucial role in the determination of phonological well-formedness. The focus is on an apparent paradox in Ojibwe; the language both avoids and tolerates vowels in hiatus. Adopting the theory of Distributed Morphology, we argue that VV sequences are avoided within domains that are realizations of syntactic phases, based on the theory of cyclic derivation proposed by Chomsky, 2001 and Chomsky, 2008 and others. In contrast, when a VV sequence spans the boundary between phases, it is tolerated. The apparent paradox is a consequence of the fact that the elements outside the spell-out of a phase cannot be evaluated to determine the well-formedness of prosodic entities like syllables, feet and prosodic words. Derivation by phase and Distributed Morphology also provide insights into two strategies for avoiding vowels in hiatus within a phase-domain; vowel loss applies to combinations of vocabulary items inserted in the same phase, while consonant epenthesis applies to items inserted in different phases but merged phonologically after insertion. The conditions under which consonant epenthesis occurs provide support for post-syntactic movement at the PF interface, triggered entirely by phonological factors.