Sixth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing
(ICSLP 2000)

Beijing, China
October 16-20, 2000

A Constraint-Based Analysis of Compound Accent in Japanese

Haruo Kubozono

Dept. of Linguistics, Kobe University, Japan

This paper describes the accentuation of compound nouns in Tokyo Japanese in the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993). This new theory assumes that output forms of language production are determined by the interaction of language-universal constraints that are ranked in a particular way for a particular grammar. In this respect it differs from previous phonological theories which held that optimal outputs are produced by (mostly language-specific) rules that apply to input structures in a derivational, i.e. step-by-step, fashion. The ultimate goal of this paper is to demonstrate that the new constraint-based approach provides a simple description of the seemingly complex system of compound noun accentuation in (Tokyo) Japanese which cannot be captured by the traditional rule-based derivational approach.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kubozono, Haruo (2000): "A constraint-based analysis of compound accent in Japanese", In ICSLP-2000, vol.3, 438-441.