Russian /Cju/ and “perceptual” vs. “phonological” Theories of Borrowing: A Reply to Paradis


Recent literature contrasts two approaches to phonological adaptation, so-called “phonological” and “perceptual” approaches. Paradis and Thibeault (2004) and Paradis (2006) argue for the “phonological” approach based on a pattern of phonological adaptation employed by Russian in which non-native [y] is rendered as [u] with palatalization of the preceding consonant. The argument depends on the assumptions that /Cju/ is rare in Russian and unnatural. In this reply I show that neither assumption is correct and that this pattern of adaptation does not (at least yet) distinguish between the two approaches to the phenomenon. More generally, it is suggested that progress on this debate will require that the two approaches are further developed so as to make better informed and clearly distinct predictions.


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