LINGUIST List 15.3348

Wed Dec 01 2004

Books: Phonology/Historical Ling/Ling Theories: Scheer

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        1.    Julia Ulrich, A Lateral Theory of Phonology: Scheer

Message 1: A Lateral Theory of Phonology: Scheer

Date: 24-Nov-2004
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: A Lateral Theory of Phonology: Scheer

Title: A Lateral Theory of Phonology
Subtitle: What is CVCV, and why should it be?
Series Title: Studies in Generative Grammar 68.1

Published: 2004
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Book URL:

Author: Tobias Scheer, University of Nice

Hardback: ISBN: 3110178710 Pages: lx, 856 Price: Europe EURO 98.00


This book presents a development of Jean Lowenstamm's idea that
phonological constituent structure can be reduced to a strict sequence of
non-branching Onsets and non-branching Nuclei. The approach at hand is
known as 'CVC,' and emerged from Government Phonology. Since its very
beginnings in the early 80s, the central claim of this theory has been that
syllable-based generalisations are due to lateral relations among
constituents, rather than to the familiar arboreal structure. This book
shows that Standard Government Phonology did not go far enough in
implementing this idea. CVCV completes the missing steps: structure and
causality are fully lateralised. Detailed discussion is offered how basic
phonological objects and processes such as Codas, closed syllables, long
vowels, geminates, syllabic consonants, vowel-zero alternations, closed
syllable shortening, compensatory lengthening, lenition and the like can be
represented within the CVCV frame. The first part of the book is called
'What is CVCV ?' It presents the properties of the theory. The second part
focuses on the reasons why it is worthwhile considering CVCV a valuable and
viable approach. The primary goal of the book is not to engage the dialogue
with other phonological theories. Rather, it aims at establishing a player
in the general game: defining the properties of a theory is always prior to
its comparison with other models. In the current OT-dominated phonological
scene, then, CVCV appears as a true theory of the 80s insofar as it is
representational at core: representations exist and are primitive, rather
than arising as accidental results from a heterogeneous set of constraints.
The original analyses presented in this book are grounded in the languages
that the author is best familiar with, i.e. (Western) Slavic, French,
German and some Semitic. Particular attention is paid to diachronic
evidence in its relation to the synchronic state of languages.

Of interest to: Phonologists, Historical Linguists, Researchers and
advanced students of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Languages.

Tobias Scheer is Associate Professor at the University of Nice, France.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): French (Language Code: FRN)
                            German, Standard (Language Code: GER)
Language Family(ies): West Slavic

Written In: English (Language Code: ENG )

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