I have a question when reading the paper Kisseberth(1970). It’s about when rules can be collapsed. My question is about "adjacent rules". I don't quite understand what "ordered before" and "ordered after" means.

The author says that for rules to be collapsed, not only the structure environment should be similar, the rules also need to be adjacently ordered.

‘That is, if two rules such as (4) and (5) are to be collapsed by standard notational conventions, there must not be some other rule which is ordered after (4) but before (5), or after (5) but before (4). According to the standard theory, the existence of such a rule blocks the collapsing of (4) and (5) into (6) - whatever the degree of structural similarity may be.’

(4)V -> ∅/__ V

(5)V -> ∅/VC[-long]CV

(6)V -> ∅/{ __V


Thanks for help in advance!

  • 1
    The author does indeed say this; what is your question? – Draconis Sep 2 '19 at 0:28
  • Ops forgot to post my question...My question is about "adjacent rules", I don't quite understand what that means. – Erda Sep 2 '19 at 0:30
  • What does "ordered before" and "ordered after" means? – Erda Sep 2 '19 at 0:31
  • 1
    You should edit that into the question! – Draconis Sep 2 '19 at 0:32
  • I just did that. Thx for reminding! – Erda Sep 2 '19 at 0:34

One of the basic ideas in SPE-style phonology (which is the theory that's being used here) is that there's a long list of rules, which are applied in a "chain". The first rule in the chain takes the underlying form as input and produces an intermediate form as output, the second one takes that intermediate form as its input, and so on and so forth.

Rule X is "ordered before" rule Y if X comes before Y in the chain. Similarly, Y is "ordered after" X if Y comes after X in the chain. This is especially important for cases of "rule feeding". For example, imagine a rule that turns y into i, and another rule that turns i into e. In one order, ly turns into le; in the opposite order, ly turns into li. (Can you see why?)

Similarly, two rules are "adjacent" if they come next to each other in the chain. This is really only important for the purpose of collapsing rules: taking two similar rules and turning them into a single, more comprehensive rule.

  • Oh! I see! I didn't know this basic idea in SPE... "For example, imagine a rule that turns y into i, and another rule that turns i into e. In one order, ly turns into le; in the opposite order, ly turns into li." If the order of the rules is y->i, i->e. Then ly turns into le. If the order is i->e, y->i, the first rule will not be applied to ly, but only the second one. The second one turns ly into li. Am I understanding it correctly? – Erda Sep 2 '19 at 0:48
  • @Erda You are! The first order is called a "feeding order", since the first rule "feeds" the second one (sets up an environment where it can happen). The second order is a "counterfeeding order", since no feeding happens. The opposite can also happen, where one rule destroys the environment that another one needs; this is called "bleeding", and when it doesn't happen, that's "counterbleeding". – Draconis Sep 2 '19 at 1:13
  • Thanks a lot! That was very clear and easy to understand! – Erda Sep 3 '19 at 1:30

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