Lexical Representations

Adam Albright, Aditi Lahiri, Sarah Hawkins and Janet B. Pierrehumbert

in The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Lexical Representations

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This article gives an overview on a number of ways of investigating the nature of lexical and phonological representations and presents the role and integration of production and perception in structuring aspects of the linguistic system. A morpheme varies predictably depending on the phonological context, but its segments remain distinct from other contrasting segments. One of the important uses of abstract underlying representations is to unify and constrain alternations within a language such as in English the addition of certain derivational affixes triggers a set of vowel changes known as trisyllabic laxing. One of the uses of lexical representations is to integrate information about a morpheme into a single underlying form that can be used to derive all surface allomorphs. It requires combining contrastive information from multiple allomorphs. Limiting lexical representations to one surface variant clearly limits speakers' ability to encode lexical contrasts. Phonology is concerned with patterns of alternations where the phonological shape of a word may vary in diverse contexts. Allophonic and morphophonological alternations are often treated in a unified manner phonologically, both are observed as the result of rule application or constraint interaction.

Keywords: trisyllabic laxing; allophonic alternations; morphophonological alternations; surface allomorphs; linguistic system

Article.  21486 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology

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