Variations in Kavalan reduplication

Hui Shan Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides an analysis of the reduplicative patterns of Kavalan, an endangered Formosan plains tribe language spoken by fewer than one hundred people on the eastern coast of Taiwan. Kavalan reduplication is special in that the reduplicant takes several distinct shapes depending on the initial syllable of the base (Lee 2009). Within the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993[2004], McCarthy & Prince 1993), this paper shows that Kavalan reduplication is torn between copying a prosodic unit from the base and maintaining an invariant shape. An analysis based on Coetzee's (2006) OT variation model is proposed to account for the variations and predict the relative frequency of the variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1093
Number of pages43
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Kavalan
  • Optimality Theory
  • Prosodic faithfulness
  • Reduplication
  • Variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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