Lexical Classes in Phonology

Junko Ito and Armin Mester

in The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Linguistics

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307344
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Lexical Classes in Phonology

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  • Linguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Language Families



This article examines the class distinctions, such as Germanic versus Latinate in English, which occur in virtually all languages. It also takes up some of the conceptual issues connected with the theoretical shift and its empirical predictions and problems. The article first presents the description of core data, concerning itself with questions regarding the formal theory of grammar. It addresses some issues regarding the relation between the architecture of a (relatively) stable synchronic system of lexicon+grammar and the diverse factors involved in loanword adaptation. Taking on phonological processes in their actual lexical complexity, including the patterning and lexical distribution of the various kinds of underapplication and overapplication, is a fruitful enterprise. The architecture of OT allows the understanding of why peripheral items such as loanwords can be both more marked than native words in some respects and less marked in others.

Keywords: lexical classes; phonology; class distinctions; languages; lexicon; grammar; OT

Article.  7901 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology ; Language Families

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