Asymmetries in the acquisition of consonant clusters
The research carried out in this dissertation is based upon the well-documented connection between crosslinguistic phonology and phonological acquisition. It takes as a starting point several syllable-based (universal) constraints and formulates predictions regarding intermediate stages of consonant cluster acquisition. These stages are characterized by asymmetries of both segmental and contextual natures. Not only do such constraints allow us to predict developmental orders (e.g. a cluster of a certain type or in a certain position is predicted to emerge prior to another), but they should also have an effect on which repairs are chosen (i.e. which consonant is retained and which is deleted). The experimental design utilized here includes manipulations of word position, cluster type, stress, and vowel quality. Results provide evidence for sonority constraints, constraints regarding the interaction between stress and syllable weight, and positional faithfulness constraints in intermediate stages of consonant cluster acquisition.