Complex onsets and coda markedness in Persian


  • Martin Krämer University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway



loanword phonology, syllable phonotactics, Optimality Theory, nonce-word test



This paper argues for the Coda Condition to be a universal set of violable constraints on the basis of new vowel epenthesis data from Persian (Farsi). Vowel insertion in L2 phonology, loanwords, and nonce-words is driven by a strict ban on consonant clusters in syllable onsets. The choice between anaptyxis and prothesis is determined by the Coda Condition. As there is no detectable evidence for a coda condition in the existing Persian lexicon, it would be impossible for speakers of Persian to have acquired the Coda Condition as part of the L1 acquisition process. Moreover, this study contradicts two claims made in the literature: first, that anaptyxis/prothesis splits are always caused by the Syllable Contact Law, and second, that all coda condition effects can be reanalysed with positional faithfulness. Going beyond the Persian data, the paper argues for a formulation of the Coda Condition as positional licensing rather than simple markedness in interaction with positional faithfulness.