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Grammar, Comparative and general - Phonology. I Introduction i 1. I Distinctiveness: phonemes and allophones 18 2. Probably the best way to learn about phonology, i. With this in mind, this book has been written not only with exercises at the end of each chapter, but also with in- text problems and tasks which are separated from the discussion by a line drawn across the page.
You should always attempt these problems before reading on. They are an integral part of the discussion. Suggested answers are included within each chapter. Answers to end of chapter exercises will be found at the end of the book. Some remarks on presentation: technical terms are commented on and highlighted using capital letters when they are introduced for the first time or when it is important to emphasise them.
The common convention of using an asterisk to indicate impossible or wrong forms is also observed e. Examples discussed in the text are written in italics. It was given its first full and authoritative statement in Chomsky and Halle's book The Sound Pattern of English. As we shall see, since then it has moved on in various directions.
In the next few paragraphs the objectives of this theory are explained. The basic goal of generative grammar is to explore and understand the nature of linguistic knowledge. It seeks answers to questions like: what does knowing a language entail? How is linguistic knowledge acquired by infants? Are there any properties of language that are universal, i.
Chomsky believes that the answer to the last question, which he thinks holds the key to the other questions, is 'yes' and goes on to argue that Universal Grammar has a biological basis. Biologically determined characteristics of the brain pre-dispose humans to acquire grammars with certain properties.
But this raises further questions: what are the properties of Universal Grammar? In attempting to answer this question, generative linguists have developed principles and posited rules of the kind we shall explore.
They form part of their model of Universal Grammar. Like other linguists, generative linguists know that some aspects of language are not universal. But still they raise the question whether some non-universal properties of language fall into certain well defined parameters. Are there any pre-set limits within which differences between languages occur? If the answer is 'yes' what are these limits and why do they exist? These are some of the main issues which this book addresses.
Besides being concerned with general patterns of language structure, linguistic theory must provide us with the tools for describing those idiosyncratic properties which are peculiar to a particular language. We need to distinguish between the knowledge speakers have and the manner in which they put that knowledge to use in concrete situations as, sometimes, there is a difference between what one knows to be correct and what one actually says.
Linguistics is primarily concerned with linguistic competence knowledge rather than performance use. Interestingly, knowing a language, say English, is not merely a matter of learning by rote a very large number of sentences.
Native speakers of a language can always produce and understand completely new sentences which they have not previously encountered. No list, however long, could contain all the potential sentences of a language. Therefore a grammar of a language cannot be simply a list of words and sentences of that language. In view of this, Chomsky proposes that a grammar of a language should be a gener- ative algebraic system of formal, explicit rules that enum- erates a non-finite number of well-formed sentences and assigns to each one of them a correct analysis of its structure.
The motivation for using rules to account for the fact that there is no limit to the number of possible sentences that a language can contain is obvious: speakers produce and understand sentences using rules.
They do not merely memorise long lists of sentences. However, the reasons for assuming that there are rules which underlie speakers' knowledge of the sound system of their language are perhaps less obvious, given the fact that a language only uses a finite set of sounds to form words.
Just a little reflection is enough to show that the sound system is also rule governed. Determine which of the following nonsense words which you are probably seeing for the first time is a possible English word: tpat, bender, bintlement and zvetsin.
You no doubt have chosen bintlement as the only potential English word. This is because you know that the consonant sequences tp, Is and zv which occur in the other 'words' are not permitted at the begin- ning of an English word. On the other hand, all the sequences of sounds in bintlement are allowed by the rules of English phonology. You might indeed be tempted to look up bintlement in a good English dictionary - but not the other nonsense words.
The implicit knowledge of linguistic rules that speakers have is probably modular. O v e r the years, various proposals have been made regarding the precise organisation and content of a gener- ative grammar. You are not expected to have any prior knowledge of these theories. Nothing is presupposed. Essential aspects of the theory will be introduced, where necessary.
The initial phrase marker enters the transformational component where it may be modified by various transformational rules which move around constituents. This is done to relate sentences like Money is what I need and What I need is money.
The rules of logical form explain, for example, why to pay in the sentence Jane ordered Bill to pay is understood to mean that Bill is the one that was expected to pay while in Jane prom- ised Bill to pay it is Jane w h o is expected to pay. Rules of semantic interpretation are used, for instance to account for logical relations like entailment.
A sentence like ' The Mayor of Lancaster switched on the Christmas lights last year' entails that there w e r e Christmas lights last year. It would be contradictory to utter that sentence and continue 'but there were no Christmas lights last year because of budget cuts'.
It is this final aspect of the g r a m m a r that we are mainly concerned with in this book. This book is a simple, practical introduction to phon- ology within the model of generative phonology as it has evolved during the last twenty years or so.
While in the early years the emphasis was on making explicit the relationship between underlying and surface phonological representations by investigating the nature of formal p h o n o - logical rules, the ways in which rules interact and the distance between underlying and surface representations in phonology, lately the focus has shifted to scrutinising the nature of phonological representations themselves and the relationship between phonology and other components of the grammar.
This shift in focus is reflected in the contents of this book. These were the main issues explored in the s and s. However, the latter part of the book is devoted to topics of current interest. One major trend in generative phonology today involves several 'non-linear' approaches to the nature of phonological representations.
It is being developed through an examination of the nature of sound 'segments', syllable, tone, stress, and intonation in numerous languages.
The other major current trend focuses on the relationship between phonology and other components of the grammar such as the lexicon, morphology and syntax. These two trends are complementary. The exclusive concentration on generative phonology should not be taken as evidence of a belief on my part that nothing of value has been said about phonology in the other frameworks.
Occassionally the contributions of other schools are mentioned in a footnote. But I have restricted the exposition to generative phonology for two reasons. In my experience, for the beginning student it is more bewil- dering than enlightening to be presented with several competing theoretical positions, with their different the- oretical concepts, analytical techniques and nomenclature.
There is virtue in introducing students initially to one coherent theoretical' approach. The question that then arises is: which approach? I have chosen tq. Much of it is written in some version of this framework. However, should you wish to survey other past and present trends in phonology there are many books which you can turn to.
If you wish to acquaint yourself with the history of phonology you can read excellent historical studies like Fischer-Jorgensen i and the more recent Anderson If you want an eclectic, 'unbiased' intro- duction to phonological concepts and their philosophical underpinnings you can turn to Lass I am grateful to the generations of students who were subjected to earlier drafts of the book for the feedback I got from them.
In writing this book I have benefited immensely from the help of Professor Geoffrey Sampson. Very special thanks also go to my editors and colleagues Mr. Mick Short and Professor Geoffrey Leech whose critical comments and suggestions have made this a better book than it would otherwise have been.
Those others who over the years have taught me directly or indirectly something about phonology deserve a special mention. Their scholarship is reflected in the theory presented here as well as in the data from the dozens of languages cited. And finally, I am grateful for the encouragement of my wife Janet during the long gestation of this book. Hyman for an adaptation of pp — 'Noun tonology in Kombe' by B. International Phonetic Association for a table from p.
Phonology is the branch of linguistics which investigates the ways in which sounds are used systematically in different languages to form words and utterances. The term speech sound has been used advisedly since not all noises which we are capable of producing with our vocal apparatus are employed in speech: we can all snore; we can all cough and hiccup; we can all sneeze and we can all gnash our teeth.
An Introduction To Phonology
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction to phonetics 2. The phoneme 3. Distinctive features. Phonological representations 5.
An Introduction to Phonology
Introduction to Phonology
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