I am struggling with performing a phonological analysis (within the framework of Lexical Phonology) on the following data.
In an unspecified English dialect, the distribution of the vowels æ (tense) and æ: (lax) can be depicted as follows:
(Note that this is just the words and their spelling, and not a phonological representation)
#_DDER (person who adds)
TO B_N IT
TO G_S UP
TO B_G UP
Q1: Derive the SR's from a UR of your choice. Describe how and at what lexical level your rule(s) apply. Give evidence by giving some relevant examples from the data.
It seems pretty clear that æ: should be chosen as UR, as the usage is less restricted (æ occurs only before voiceless stops OR before a consonant followed by a vowel, while æ: can occur before voiced and voiceless consonants).
Rule A: æ: -> æ / _CV
Rule B: æ: -> æ / _[-voice +stop]
Q2. Is the distribution of æ and æ: sensitive to lexical/morphological factors? If yes, explain in what way.
A2: Yes, it seems that æ only occurs in either underived lexical items or morphemes affected by level 1 changes, while æ: occurs in underived lexical items as well as mophemes affected by level 2 changes.
Q3: Is the difference between the vowels contrastive? If yes, in what way?
There is a minimal-pair that can be found: adder (snake) and adder (person who adds). However, using the framework of Lexical Phonology: they are not seen as contrastive. This is because the words are at different levels. Their respective UR's are different: /ædər/ (snake) and /æd/ (to add). So when the level 2 affixation -er (present tense marker) is added to /æd/, it is not possible (because of strict cyclicity) to go back and perform rule A again.
I am pretty sure my answers lack clarity at best and that they are incorrect at worst. Any help is greatly appreciated.