This is one of those posts where I just assume you’re a phonologist.
Suppose you have a set of rules that can be collapsed into a single rule A using SPE parenthesis notation, and another (nonabbreviated) rule B. Is it possible for A and B to be disjunctively ordered via the Elsewhere Condition — that is, is it possible to meet these two conditions?
- The structural changes (SCs) of the two rules conflict.
- The structural description (SD) of one of the rules properly includes the SD of the other.
The real difficulty is with (2). For starters, what is the SD of the abbreviated Rule A? Is it equivalent to the SD of its longest expansion, or something else?
An example might help.
Here is a simple example. The two rules that Rule A abbreviates are spelled out individually for perspicuity; two examples of a Rule B are considered to highlight the issue.
Rule A: [+high] → [-back] / [-back] ( C ) __
- [+high] → [-back] / [-back] C __
- [+high] → [-back] / [-back] __
Rule Bx: [+high] → [+back] / i [+dors] __
Rule By: [+high] → [+back] / i __
The SC of Rule A conflicts with the SCs of both of the Rules B. The SD of Rule Bx is properly included in the SD of Rule A-1 but not that of A-2, and the SD of Rule By is properly included in the SD of Rule A-2 but not that of A-1. What is the Elsewhere Condition to do in either of such cases?