In Catalan vowel epenthesis and consonant deletion seem to have a different conditioning in simple words, in verb-clitic or clitic-verb sequences, and in clitic-clitic sequences (where an emergence of the unmarked effect with respect to syllable structure is found). In this paper, it is argued that, in spite of these domain effects, which would suggest the need for a serial analysis, all the facts concerning epenthesis and consonant deletion can be accounted for in a parallel optimality-theoretic approach. The differences in behavior are the consequence of the different ranking of morphological Alignment constraints with respect to other constraints and an Alignment constraint that makes reference to subsyllabic constituents.
Catalan has a [ʒ] ~ [t͡ʃ] alternation that has traditionally been viewed as the consequence of final affrication of an underlying /ʒ/, a fortition operation, followed by general devoicing of obstruents. This interpretation has been held in classical generative rule-based approaches and also in autosegmental models, amounting either to a highly specific process or, when an attempt is made to generalize it, to wrong predictions; these shortcomings are also applicable to optimality-theoretic analyses. Following ideas in (Wheeler, Max W. 2005. The phonology of Catalan. Oxford: Oxford University Press), we propose that underlying affricates are subject to intervocalic lenition triggered by independently motivated general constraints. Sequences of a stop followed by a fricative can become affricates but cannot be affected by lenition. The interaction between affricates and gemination is also discussed.
This paper analyzes the variation found in Majorcan Catalan regarding the realizations of /i/ and /u/ in contact with other vowels, which depend on the nature of the vocoids themselves, the syllabic position in which they occur, their surrounding segmental context, and the geographic origin of the speakers. Leaving aside faithful hiatic solutions, their realizations range from different degrees of strengthening to fusion and deletion, and further coexist with some instances of /v/-weakening. To account for these patterns, we provide a unified analysis within the split margin approach to syllable organization (Baertsch 1998, 2002), with phonetic grounding supporting the distinction between [+high] and [–high] for palatal glides (but not for their labial counterparts) and the approximant character of /v/ in intervocalic position. We also show that, in order to explain the whole variation, markedness constraints referring to the harmony of segments in intervocalic position (Kirchner 1998; Uffmann 2007), and their specific interaction with faithfulness constraints, are needed.