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Are speakers equipped with preferences concerning grammatical structures that are absent in their language? We examine this question by investigating the sensitivity of English speakers to the sonority of onset clusters. Linguistic research suggests that certain onset clusters are universally preferred (e.g., bd>lb). We demonstrate that such preferences(More)
Do speakers know universal restrictions on linguistic elements that are absent from their language? We report an experimental test of this question. Our case study concerns the universal restrictions on initial consonant sequences, onset clusters (e.g., bl in block). Across languages, certain onset clusters (e.g., lb) are dispreferred (e.g., systematically(More)
Optimality Theory explains typological markedness implications by proposing that all speakers possess universal constraints penalizing marked structure, irrespective of the evidence provided by their language (Prince & Smolensky, 1993/2004). An account of phonological perception sketched here entails that markedness constraints reveal their presence by(More)
Languages are known to exhibit universal restrictions on sound structure. The source of such restrictions, however, is contentious: Do they reflect abstract phonological knowledge, or properties of linguistic experience and auditory perception? We address this question by investigating the restrictions on onset structure. Across languages, onsets of small(More)
Certain ill-formed phonological structures are systematically under-represented across languages and misidentified by human listeners. It is currently unclear whether this results from grammatical phonological knowledge that actively recodes ill-formed structures, or from difficulty with their phonetic encoding. To examine this question, we gauge the effect(More)
Across languages, onsets with large sonority distances are preferred to those with smaller distances (e.g., bw>bd>lb; Greenberg, 1978). Optimality theory (Prince & Smolensky, 2004) attributes such facts to grammatical restrictions that are universally active in all grammars. To test this hypothesis, here, we examine whether children extend putatively(More)
Domain-specific systems are hypothetically specialized with respect to the outputs they compute and the inputs they allow (Fodor, 1983). Here, we examine whether these 2 conditions for specialization are dissociable. An initial experiment suggests that English speakers could extend a putatively universal phonological restriction to inputs identified as(More)
Supplementary materials In this analysis we assume that for any underlying form /uf/ there is a set of surface forms faithful to /uf/. There may be multiple such forms because /uf/ may be underspecified to some degree; e.g. prosodic structure may not be present in /uf/. We assume a surface form [sf] to be fully specified in the sense that it uniquely(More)
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