Conceptual Foundations of Phonology as a Laboratory Science (reprint)

Janet B. Pierrehumbert, Mary E. Beckman and D. Robert Ladd

in The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199575039
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Conceptual Foundations of Phonology as a Laboratory Science (reprint)

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This article explains the evolution of laboratory phonology over the years. The laboratory phonology community uses both discrete mathematics and continuous mathematics. It continually evaluates what type of formalism is most suitable and incisive for what types of linguistic phenomena. The work on the articulatory and acoustic nature of phonological categories uses a methodology adopted from physics, in which the behavior of the basic equations of the theory is explored with respect to issues such as stability, linearity, invertability, and effects of boundary conditions. The exact extent of the voicing, its statistical variation, and the dependence of these factors on structural position are involved in a laboratory experiment. One of the major contributions of laboratory phonology to the field of phonology has been the careful documentation of syndromes in language sound structure. Phonological categories are natural in the sense that the actual phonetic denotation of each category shapes its patterning in the sound system. The phonological rules that affect the stops reflect their actual phonetic character. The phonological categories are also natural in the sense that physical nonlinearities in both articulation and acoustics have the result that phonetics is already quasi-categorical.

Keywords: phonological frameworks; laboratory phonology; autosegmental theory; statistical variation; tonal realignment

Article.  10458 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology

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