Unnatural gradient phonotactics

This paper presents two cases of lexically gradient phonotactic restrictions that operate against what would be phonetically natural: Tarma Quechua and Berawan. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a (truly) unnatural gradient phonotactic restriction on segmental structure. The unnatural gradient phonotactics in Tarma Quechua and Berawan bear theoretical implications: we demonstrate that Harmonic Grammar with Con restricted to natural constraints disallows phonotactic restrictions that favor the unnatural feature value in a given environment, contrary to what is attested in our data. (with Aleksei Nazarov)

TQBerawan