Bleeding order

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Bleeding order is a term used in phonology to describe specific interactions of phonological rules. The term was introduced in 1968 by Paul Kiparsky.[1] If two phonological rules are said to be in bleeding order, the application of the first rule creates a context in which the second rule can no longer apply.

The opposite of this is called feeding order.


An example of this in English is the /ɪ/-insertion between a voiceless alveolar fricative and a plural-z, as in [bʌsɪz] (with the underlying representation //bʌs-z//). English also has a rule which devoices segments after voiceless consonants, as in [bʊks], with the underlying representation //bʊk-z//). In the output form [bʌsɪz] (buses), final devoicing has not applied, because the phonological context in which this rule could have applied has gone as a consequence of the application of /ɪ/-insertion. Put differently, the application order "(1) /ɪ/-insertion (2) final devoicing" is a bleeding order in English.

Counterbleeding order[edit]

If two rules which would have a bleeding relationship in one order actually apply in the opposite order, the latter is called a counterbleeding order. An example of this can be seen in the pronunciation of the diminutive of the word slang ("snake") in the Dutch dialect of Kaatsheuvel: [slɑŋəskə]. If [s]-insertion[clarification needed] had applied first, then the rule which inserts an additional /-ə/ between the noun stem and the suffix /-kə/ could no longer have applied and the output form would have been [slɑŋskə]. However, the rules have applied in the reverse order.

See also[edit]


  • Gussenhoven, C. & Jacobs, H. (1998). Understanding Phonology. Arnold, Londen.
  • Jensen, J.T. (2004). Principles of Generative Phonology: An introduction


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