Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
This thesis builds on previous experiments on English lexical blends (Shaw 2013, Moreton et al. forthcoming) that argued that semantic heads, nouns, and proper nouns are positions privileged by universal phonological constraints. Using novel Spanish blends as stimuli, I conduct three experiments with native Spanish speakers. The first, a survey, revealed significant predictors of blend gender, including the inflection, gender, and headedness of the source words. These results contribute to the study of blend formation as a morphological process by providing valuable information to compare with the formation of Spanish compounds. Additionally, I strengthen arguments for the existence of a constraint privileging semantic heads by showing a stronger effect of head faithfulness in Spanish than was found in similar English experiments. I discuss what it means for a position to be privileged within positional faithfulness (Beckman 1997) and test whether masculine gender is one of these privileged positions.