By Martin Krämer

On the center of generative phonology lies the belief that the sounds of each language have summary underlying representations, which suffer a variety of alterations with a view to generate the 'surface' representations; that's, the sounds we really pronounce. The life, prestige and type of underlying representations were hotly debated in phonological examine because the creation of the phoneme within the 19th century. This ebook presents a accomplished assessment of theories of the psychological illustration of the sounds of language. How does the brain shop and method phonological representations? Krämer surveys the improvement of the idea that of underlying illustration over the past a hundred years or so in the box of generative phonology. He considers phonological styles, psycholinguistic experiments, statistical generalisations over facts corpora and phenomena reminiscent of hypercorrection. The ebook deals a brand new knowing of contrastive good points and proposes a amendment of the optimality-theoretic method of the iteration of underlying representations.

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It was these two theoretical assumptions, the archiphonemic level and biuniqueness, that were challenged by early generative studies and replaced by an apparatus of ordered rules that freely transform a phoneme into its contextual allophones. The transformational component also took over some changes of a historical nature. Saussure’s strict separation of diachrony and synchrony, already criticized by Jakobson, got even more blurred. Accordingly, the machinery was used to establish underlying representations that were far removed from surface structures and linked to them by an intricate system of transformational rules.

However, Trubetzkoy observes a few mismatches between the logical nature of a contrast and its phonological implementation that actually would justify an additional arrow in the diagram reproduced in (15). While vowel height is gradual in nature (as in German), it can also be used in a privative manner (as in Turkish) depending on the number of height positions used in the system. Voicing is also gradual in its (phonetic) nature and is nevertheless usually used privatively. We now move on to have a look at which features Trubetzkoy envisages to be used in these ways.

Morphophonemic alternations, an area barely touched upon for example in Trubetzkoy’s work, from now on to a large extent determined the development of phonological theory. However, the shifting focus and the tools for analysing phonological patterns also had consequences for the determination of underlying representations and the assumptions made about them. Halle’s (1959) killer argument for generative phonology circled around voicing alternations in Russian and the archiphoneme and the biuniqueness condition.

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