Lexical Classes in Japanese: a Reply to Rice

Ito, Mester, and Padgett (1995) make an argument, based on the interaction of compound voicing and postnasal voicing in Japanese, that the [voice] specification of certain nasal-obstruent clusters, though redundant, is phonologically active. The argument presupposes a well known division of the Japanese lexicon into separate strata—native or YAMATO, SINOJAPANESE, sound-symbolic or MIMETIC, and more recent borrowings. Recently, Rice (1997) has attempted to cast doubt on the argument for active redundant [voice], by questioning the motivation for the relevant lexical strata. The intention of this squib is to address her arguments, and show that the posited stratal divisions for Japanese are indeed well motivated.

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