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Cover image for product 1405106522
STERIADE
ISBN: 978-1-4051-0652-8
Paperback
224 pages
June 2018, Wiley-Blackwell
Title in editorial stage
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  • Author Information

Fundamentals of Phonology will identify issues that are both central to phonology and currently under investigation in the field, i.e. the particular constellation of core problems that motivate interest in the field. The text will be written in such as way as to be accessible to linguists from other subfields and to scientists from neighboring disciplines such as psychology and neuroscience.

Tentative Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Some basics

An introduction to basic notions about phonological representations (segments, features, supra-segmentals), levels of representation (underlying vs. surface), and processes. The existence of cross-linguistically valid laws of sound structure is also mentioned and illustrated.

Chapter 2: Phonological knowledge and where it might originate


This chapter outlines first the evidence that phonological knowledge goes beyond a list of words (or a list of sounds, or a list of syllables) and that it consists of both knowledge of laws and knowledge of statistical trends in the lexicon, in addition to knowledge of specific lexical facts.

Then the chapter reviews the type of evidence that learners can rely on in acquiring the laws of their native sound system. The point of the review is to draw attention to the fact that this knowledge involves sometimes inductive generalizations over the set of known words but, in other cases, knowledge must be acquired through a much more complex process of inference, as in the case of the processes through which one learns the boundaries of prosodic constituents; or the rankings of constraints.

The discussion of actual examples is fairly compressed and abstract in this chapter: most real examples of the complexity of learning representations come to life in chapter 3, where the nature of phonological representations (segmental, syllabic, metrical) is discussed. The point of the chapter is simply to distinguish relatively straightforward learning cases from more complex ones.

Chapter 3: Representations

Building on the second part of chapter 2, I review basic research questions in the representations of features (e.g. do they encode articulatory movements or auditory targets or both in parallel?), segments and prosodic constituents (feet and syllables).

The most relevant points to mention here are as follows: the results of the revised Motor Theory (whether the theory is ultimately true or not), as they originate in research that takes seriously the difficulty of learning segmental/featural representations; and the results of work on knowledge of syllable boundaries as they show that this knowledge is highly dependent on surface, language specific phonotactics.

Chapter 4: Why do underlying and surface representations differ?

This is a basic introduction to the idea that deviations from unmarked, target structures cause surface representations to deviate from underlying representations. Possible sources of markedness patterns in articulation, perception, and processing are reviewed, and the effects of these markedness factors on sound patterns are contrasted.

Chapter 5: Why do underlying and surface representations differ in this way?

The effects discussed in chapter 4 call for some explanation of the fact that deviant inputs are made to conform with known laws through a very limited set of modifications. In more technical terms, this is a chapter in which the basic optimality-theoretic idea of correspondence is introduced. The suggestion is made that a modified, perceptual similarity-based conception of correspondence explains the limitation in the range of "repair strategies" applicable to any given deviation from markedness. Various other consequences of this view of correspondence are sketched.

Chapter 6: Lexical relations

This chapter will discuss the effect of lexical relatedness on the phonological shape of individual words and review some of the results of work on the effect of frequency on phonological realization.

Chapter 7: Schools of thought

The bulk of the book will focus on issues that are of general interest to all linguists (and chapters 4-6 will be written so as to highlight the fact that the issues discussed are not parochial to OT, despite the influence of this line of thought on the author). But here at the end it would be useful to have a general introduction to the field of phonology and its practitioners. Here one can outline controversies like multiple derivational stages, opacity - which differentiate phonologists but might be of lesser interest to a newcomer.

Chapter 8: Conclusions

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