Evolutionary Phonology is a new theory of sound patterns which synthesizes
results in historical linguistics, phonetics, and phonological theory. In
this groundbreaking book, Juliette Blevins explores the nature of sounds
patterns and sound change in human language over the past 7000-8000 years,
the time depth for which the comparative method is reasonably reliable.
This book presents a new approach to the problem of how genetically
unrelated languages, from families as far apart as Native American,
Australian Aboriginal, Austronesian, and Indo-European, can often show
similar sound patterns, and also tackles the converse problem of why there
are notable exceptions to most of the patterns that are often regarded as
universal tendencies or constraints. It argues that in both cases, a formal
model of sound change that integrates phonetic variation and patterns of
misperception can account for attested sound systems without reference to
markedness or naturalness within the synchronic grammar.