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History of Phonology

History of Phonology. with an emphasis on recent history. 1900-1930. Development of Phonetics are a special branch of linguistics Unlike historical linguistics, also concerned with sounds through its preoccupation with sound change, phonetics was firmly rooted in synchronic analysis

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History of Phonology

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  1. History of Phonology with an emphasis on recent history

  2. 1900-1930 • Development of Phonetics are a special branch of linguistics • Unlike historical linguistics, also concerned with sounds through its preoccupation with sound change, phonetics was firmly rooted in synchronic analysis • Articulatory phonetics • Acoustic phonetics

  3. new tools • spectrograph • X-ray photo’s (and films) • sound recordings

  4. Phonology • Off-shoot of phonetics • Strictly devoted to those aspects of sound structure which are linguistically relevant • E.g. pitch differences related to tone or accent are phonologically important, pitch differences related to sex are not • First International Congress of Linguists in The Hague in 1928 is often viewed as the beginning of phonology, set off by

  5. Prague school • definition of phoneme • importance of binary oppositions • marked vs unmarked member of pair • neutralization • languages are ‘systems’: you can’t take out one thing and study it separately – that way you lose information about various contrasts within the language

  6. Prince Nikolay Sergeyevich Trubetzkoy 1890-1938

  7. Roman Jakobson1896-1982

  8. Jakobson’s accomplishments • wide-ranging scholar • worked on Russian case, phonological theory, poetics, and numerous other topics • introduced the Prague school to the USA • integrated work on language acquisition and language loss by aphasia in linguistic theory

  9. Generative phonology • Morris Halle and Noam Chomsky started working on phonology in the 1950’s • Culminating in The Sound Pattern of English (1968)

  10. Morris Halle

  11. Morris Halle, continued • student of Roman Jakobson • likewise of Russian (actually, Latvian) descent • worked primarily on Slavic and English • in his The Sound Pattern of Russian, Halle attacked the classical phoneme • with Chomsky, developed generative phonology (1956-1968; after 1968 Chomsky stopped doing phonology)

  12. The Sound Pattern of English 1968 • Authors: Chomsky and Halle • Should have been: Halle and Chomsky • Important for its formalization of phonological representations, rules, and its methodology • Discusses many major issues in the phonology of English, including phonotactics, phonological rules, and stress assignment in underived, derived and compound words

  13. Segments • defined as a “bundle of features” • e.g.: feature-1 + • feature-2 - • feature-3 + • feature-4 - • etc. Features have a standard phonetic interpretation, in terms of articulation (Jakobson had proposed an acoustic interpretation)

  14. One exception to binary features • To capture four levels of stress, Chomsky and Halle used numeral values for stress features: [1 stress], [2 stress], [3 stress] and [4 stress] • So features, in SPE, come in 2 types: • boolean valued features (+/-) • numerically valued features

  15. Rules • context-sensitive rules • A → B / C __ D • however, not involving whole segments, but features, or sets of features • many new notational devices were introduced, to formulate rules: α notation, curly brace notation, etc.

  16. Methodology • economy basic principle • feature-counting evaluation metric • highly abstract underlying forms • complex derivations, involving the phonological cycle • phonotactics done by rule • synchronic analysis became a mirror of diachronic analysis in SPE

  17. E.g. • Dutch has no diphtongs before /r/ • Historical account: diphtongization never took place before /r/ • Possible synchronic account: assume diphtongs are underlying monophongs, and diphtongize them unless followed by /r/ • Advantages: reduces the inventory of underlying segments (economy), and derives the phonotactic generalization

  18. Disadvantages • Need to use exception features, e.g. for loans that came into the language after the sound change (minuut, titel) • Mixes up diachrony and synchrony • Overly abstract: learnability issue

  19. Reactions to SPE • immediate and wide following • many phonologists embraced the methodology, notation and ideas, to describe phonological problems in a variety of languages, thus creating the field of generative phonology

  20. However, there was also an immediate backlash • Abstractness: natural phonology (David Stampe, Patricia Donegan, Theo Vennemann, Joan Bybee (Hooper)) • Morphology: new separation of word-based sound regularities from general sound regularities (Mark Aronoff, Paul Kiparsky) • Autosegmental phonology: explosion of the segment (John Goldsmith, Nick Clements, etc.)

  21. Abstractness • Need for absolute neutralization? • Absolute neutralization: underlying form never shows up as surface form • In SPE, this was a common phenomenon • Learnability problem: only if children use the same methodology as Chomsky and Halle, will they arrive at the same underlying forms

  22. Autosegmental phonology • originated in the study of tone languages, where it was noted that • tonal features (like High Tone) may stretch over many segments, sometimes entire words • and when they change, e.g. through assimilation, all segments bearing the tone change

  23. Suggestion (Goldsmith) • get rid of the absolute slicing hypothesis • put tonal features on a separate level (called tier), and then connect them to the various segments bearing the tonal features • allow the connection to be not one-to-one, but many-to-many

  24. So, • One segment may bear two tones (e.g. Hi-Lo, heard as falling tone and Lo-Hi, heard as rising) • And one tone may be connected to many segments

  25. Notation Hi Lo Tonal tier: C Segmental tier V C

  26. Floating tones • are tonal features not (yet) associated with a segment • can be linked in the course of a derivation • may be separate morpheme • or originate through deletion of a segment

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