Moraic reversal and realisation: Analysis of a Japanese language game

Daiho Kitaoka, Sara Mackenzie

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper provides a description and an Optimality Theory analysis of the Japanese language game sakasa kotoba. This analysis contributes to the phonological study of language games, as sakasa kotoba constitutes a novel language game type: Total mora reversal. In addition, our analysis contributes to the study of Japanese phonology, by providing evidence (i) for the mora, (ii) on the internal structure of the syllable in Japanese and (iii) on the representation of moras occurring in complex syllables, namely coda nasals, geminates and long vowels. The patterning of these moras suggests that the game manipulates intermediate representations, rather than underlying or surface forms. We propose a formal analysis within the framework of Stratal OT. The analysis uses a game-specific constraint to motivate reversal, with other aspects of game form shape determined through the interaction of markedness and faithfulness constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-79
Number of pages39
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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