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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

(p.201) Nine Toward Progress in Theories of Language Sound Structure
Shaping Phonology

Mark Liberman

University of Chicago Press

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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