Consider a constraint (align -ap left) that gives a violation for every letter that shifts affix -ap one place to the right.

Candidates: ap.teb.rut (0 violations), lap.teb.rut (1 violation), slab.teb.rut (2 violations), pa.teb.rut (?)

How many violations would the 4th candidate receive if there is no -ap fixation present in it? It doesn't make sense to me if it doesn't receive any violations since it doesn't have an -ap fixation at all, but it does violate the constraint, I wouldn't be able to point out where exactly.

Thanks for your help!

1 Answer 1


Alignment is defined in McCarthy & Prince 'Prosodic Morphology I' as

In  ALIGN(GCat,  GEdge,  PCat,  PEdge),  the  GEdge  of  any  GCat  must  coincide  with PEdge of some PCat, where
GCat ≡ Grammatical Category, among which are the morphological categories
MCat ≡ Root, Stem, Morphological Word, Prefix, Suffix, etc.
PCat ≡ Prosodic Category ≡ μ, σ, Ft, PrWd, PhPhrase, etc.
MEdge, PEdge = Left, Right

In 'Generalized Alignment' it is similarly defined as

Align(Cat1, Edge1, Cat2, Edge2) =
∀ Cat1 ∃ Cat2 such that Edge1 of Cat1 and Edge2 of Cat2 coincide.
Where Cat1, Cat2 ∈ PCat ∪ GCat
Edge1, Edge2 ∈ {Right, Left}

If the constraint says "any X aligns to some Y", there is no violation if there is no X, but there is a violation if Y is lacking: it depends on the order in the constraint (Cat1 vs Cat2).

The case you mention is the same as Tagalog infixation, where in GE they state the constraint as Align([um],L,Stem,L), so if um is lacking, there is no violation. Given the choice of *[sulat] and [sumulat], the former does not violate the alignment constraint. However, there is a higher-ranked constraint requiring um to be present in that grammatical context ("actor focus", as I understand), so *[sulat] is ruled out as an actor focus form.

In your example, assuming that the root in question is /tebrut/, this raises a different complication: why don't you get /um-sulat/ → [musulat] in order to satisfy *Coda and Ons? Metathesis violates Linearity, and since there is no morpheme-internal metathesis, Linearity is apparently undominated.

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