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Shaping Phonology$
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Diane Brentari and Jackson L. Lee

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226562452

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226562599.001.0001

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Toward Progress in Theories of Language Sound Structure

Toward Progress in Theories of Language Sound Structure

Chapter:
(p.201) Nine Toward Progress in Theories of Language Sound Structure
Source:
Shaping Phonology
Author(s):

Mark Liberman

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226562599.003.0009

The traditional organization of phonological theories involves a crucial redundancy, and serious consideration of this redundancy suggests a radical simplification of the theory. In technical terms, allophonic variation can be treated in at least two different ways: first, as a mapping from symbols to symbols, via phonological rules or constraints; or second, as a mapping from symbols to signals, via principles of phonetic realization. Careful examination of specific cases of allophonic variation generally suggests (and never seems to refute) a mode of description of the second type, in which structured phonological representations are mapped onto classes of phonetic trajectories. We should therefore consider the null hypothesis: a theory that entirely eliminates the symbolic treatment of allophonic variation, and makes post-lexical representations subject to direct phonetic interpretation, without any intervening symbol-manipulation, whether by rules or by constraints.

Keywords:   redundancy, allophonic variation, phonetic interpretation, post-lexical representation

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