The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.636-655
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 17 Jun 2021 Revised 14 Jul 2021 Accepted 24 Jul 2021

The Capitalistic versus Militaristic Debate: Paradigm Uniformity Revisited
Jungyeon Kim
Postdoctoral Researcher, Yonsei University, Tel: 02)2123-2329 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study examined the well-known data in which the onset of the third syllable is flapped in capitalistic whereas it is aspirated in militaristic even though both words have the same stress pattern and syllable structure. While a number of studies have considered several different approaches in this discussion including paradigm uniformity effect, foot-based analyses, optimality theoretic (OT) accounts, and analogy, there has been no research that seeks to account for the possibility that the underlying /t/’s of those two words can be realized as both aspirated and flapped by speakers of American English. This study basically follows a prosodic foot-based account to explain this phenomenon and attempts to capture the variant realizations using the audio pronunciation listed in eleven different online dictionaries within the Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) Model, which is a probabilistic model that assigns each candidate a probability rather than picking a single winner as in standard OT. The frequency data observed from those dictionaries were fed into MaxEnt to see if the learned grammar can successfully predict the observed frequency. The current simulation results show that the frequency found in the actual linguistic data corresponds to that predicted by the training corpus data, which indicates that the learned grammar is able to accurately reproduce the observed frequency. These findings suggest that MaxEnt modeling has a more explanatory power than classical OT analyses in that it can serve to account for grammars involving free variation.

Keywords: paradigm uniformity, American English flapping, optimality theory, Maximum Entropy

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