LINGUIST List 2.135

Friday, 12 Apr 1991

Disc: Phonology

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Hades and Ulysses
  2. , Re: (Morpho)phonology
  3. , History of Phonology

Message 1: Hades and Ulysses

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 91 11:27:32 EDT
From: <pesetskATHENA.MIT.EDU>
Subject: Hades and Ulysses
Mike Hammond ( writes:

>If Hades is pronounced [heDiz] then we're committed to a similar
>analysis: /hadi+s/. (Frankly, I have no clear intuition about whether
>that word is plural or singular.)... (Interestingly, I think it'd be
>pretty difficult to argue for a plural personal name, hence a
>prediction might be made that nothing phonologically like Hades could
>be a personal name.)

Family names, unlike given names, can easily be pluralized. Mr. and
Mrs. Jones are coming to dinner. Clearly one can say "the Joneses are
coming to dinner". Now Mr. and Mrs. Hades (pronounced with two
syllables) and all their kids are coming to dinner. For me, "the Hades
are coming to dinner (along with all the little Hades)" is odd, but much
better than "the Hadeses [heDizz] are coming to dinner". Likewise "the
Ulysses are coming to dinner" is odd, but better than "the Ulysseses are
coming to dinner". This suggests that Hades, Ulysses etc. are indeed
pluralia tantum in English. Cf. "I need to buy three pants", which is
worse than "three pairs of pants", but better than "three pantses".
Thus, Hammond's suggestion might be right.

-David Pesetsky
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Message 2: Re: (Morpho)phonology

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 91 11:23:12 PDT
From: <>
Subject: Re: (Morpho)phonology
I don't want to belabor the exhange with John Coleman, which I fear has been
corrupted by some mutual misunderstandings. I would only point out that
there are very good reasons for not considering the second syllables of the
title/titular pair to involve a physiophonetic alternation, although alternate
pronunciations of the word 'title' or the word 'titular' might be said to
involve physiophonetic alternants. The position that the stems of both words
should be represented by a single 'systematic' phonological representation in
the lexicon strikes me as just plain wrong. And I have tried to point out why
it is wrong on fairly intuitive grounds--because we want to distinguish between
linguistic operations that govern the articulation of sounds from those that
govern what sounds we try to articulate in the first place. It is this 
intuitive distinction that I tried to capture with the foreign accent 'litmus
test'. And it is this distinction that has yet to be addressed seriously
by mainstream linguists.

As for the question of archisegments and/or underspecified elements, that 
really takes us into another realm. I don't believe in archisegments
because I can't see any external justification for them. For example, it would
seem less than ideal for a writing system to distinguish archisegments from
fully specified ones. Indeed, alphabetic writing seems to settle consistently
on segmental representations in which non-alternating sounds and alternating
sounds are always represented by precisely the same class of symbols. 
Nevertheless, I would be willing to entertain the existence of archisegments
if I felt they provided me with some insight into the use of language.

 -Rick Wojcik (
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Message 3: History of Phonology

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 91 13:26:40 PDT
From: <>
Subject: History of Phonology
I accept Bruce Nevin's admonishment not to make such sweeping generalizations
about structuralist phonemics. I would still hold that my historical claim--
that the roots of structuralist phonemics lay in Shcherba's redefinition--
is largely correct, and that for most structuralists (and, additionally, the
non-structuralist Leningraders) Halle's argument is devastating.

Alexis made some comments about Ulaszyn and Leningrad which I disagree with
in some minor details. But it is worth saying that Baudouin had *some* 
appreciation of the perceptual role of phonemes, as did Sapir. In fact,
one needs to remember that two types of external evidence were originally 
offered in support of phonemic theory: rhyme and alphabetic writing. Rhyme
involves a match at the phonemic level of representation. Thus, Russian 
"rod" ([rOt] alternating with "roda"...) rhymes perfectly with the non-
alternating [t] at the end of "tot" 'that'. Normally, phonological mismatches
block rhyming. Secondly, Baudouin explicitly cited two types of alphabetic
writing--"morphemographic" and "phonemographic"--to describe roughly 
morphophonemic (a la Ulaszyn) and phonemic (a la Shcherba) orthographic 
representation. (cf. "The Influence of Language on World-View and Mood" in
the Stankiewicz reader--OK. That's one crazy title :-) And there are other
examples--as David Stampe has pointed out to Alexis and me offline--that 
suggest Baudouin was more sophisticated about this than his students thought.
The Moscow school, also, has its way of recognizing the perceptual autonomy
of phonemic categories. 
 -Rick Wojcik (

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