Opacity deconstructed

In the before time, in the long long ago, I had a little tête-à-tête(-à-bête-noire) about phonological opacity with Mr. Verb and friends — you can follow along (again, or for the first time) here, then here, then here and here and here and here, then back here, and finally ending here (and don’t forget to squeeze the comments).

I got very hot under the collar about various things during that discussion, so much so that the focus of the discussion kinda shifted to my frustration with anonymous commenters on the internets (even my good friend Ed played for the other team on that one). But there was just one thing I was really upset about: the apparent inability of many fans of rule ordering to say anything about the fact that blocking is an instance of opacity about which rule ordering has nothing to say. (I used nonderived environment blocking as an example, but any other forms of blocking work.) The curse of the true believer is an unwillingness or inability to question the claims of the belief system, and the relevant claim in this case is “rule ordering explains opacity”.

Well, I’ve just finished a paper (for the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Phonology) that sets out the issues (as I see them, of course) in a more academic, less hot-headed format, and I’ve posted it here. I hope that it generates some discussion here, either in the comments below, in new posts, or even over on Mr. Verb’s blog.

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