Strict Cyclicity

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Strict Cyclicity is a rule that may apply to a string x just in case either of the following holds:

 a. The rule makes crucial reference to information in the
    representation that spans the boundary between the
    current cycle and the preceding one.
 b. The rule applies solely within the domain of the
    previous cycle but crucially refers to information
    supplied by a rule operating on the current cycle.
    (formulation of Kenstowicz (1994))

From this condition on the application of cyclic rules important theoretical consequences have been drawn. It follows form this condition that cyclic rules cannot operate on underived lexical items.


In English the rule Trisyllabic shortening shortens the underlying vowel of sane [e] to [æ] in the derived word san-ity. This rule does not apply in the underived item nightingale.



  • Halle, M. 1978. Formal versus Functional Considerations in Phonology, Bloomington, Indiana University Linguistics Club.
  • Kiparsky, P. 1985. Some Consequences of Lexical Phonology, in: Hulst, H. van der and N. Smith (eds.) The Structure of Phonological Representations, vol 1, Foris, Dordrecht, pp. 131-175
  • Mascará, J. 1976. Catalan Phonology and the Phonological Cycle, PhD dissertation MIT, Cambridge, Mass. Distr. by IULC, Bloomington Indiana,1978.

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