The Sonority Sequencing Generalization and the Structure of Consonant Clusters with Trapped Sonorants in Polish
This paper discusses the structure of consonant clusters in Polish involving so-called trapped sonorants in syllable onset, i.e. consonantal sonorants that appear between two consonants of lower sonority, as in krwi ‘blood’ (gen. sg.) and brwi ‘brow’ (gen. sg). It is argued that their structure is much more restricted than would be expected from the application of the phonotactic generalizations of Polish identified so far. It is further argued that the patterning of trapped sonorants sets them apart from other sonorants violating the Sonority Sequencing Generalization (SSG) in Polish, revealing much greater influence of the SSG on the makeup of word-initial three-term consonant clusters than required by the phonotactic constraints of Polish described in the phonological literature. The structure of the paper is as follows: In Section 1 the principle of the SSG is discussed. In Section 2 data that show how consonant clusters in Polish appear to violate the SSG are presented. Section 3 shows how this lack of conformity with the SSG has been explained in the existing phonological literature. Section 4 offers new observations about the unexpectedly restricted structure of consonant clusters involving trapped sonorants. Section 5 provides a tentative explanation for the generalizations presented in Section 4.