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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: Markedness
Subtitle: Reduction and Preservation in Phonology
Written By: Paul V. de Lacy
Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 112

'Markedness' refers to the tendency of languages to show a preference for
particular structures or sounds. This bias towards 'marked' elements is
consistent within and across languages, and tells us a great deal about
what languages can and cannot do. This pioneering study presents a
groundbreaking theory of markedness in phonology. De Lacy argues that
markedness is part of our linguistic competence, and is determined by three
conflicting mechanisms in the brain:
(a) pressure to preserve marked sounds ('preservation'),
(b) pressure to turn marked sounds into unmarked sounds ('reduction'), and
(c) a mechanism allowing the distinction between marked and unmarked sounds
to be collapsed ('conflation').

He shows that due to these mechanisms, markedness occurs only when
preservation is irrelevant. Drawing on examples of phenomena such as
epenthesis, neutralization, assimilation, vowel reduction and
sonority-driven stress, Markedness offers an important new insight into
this essential concept in the understanding of human language.

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0521839629
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 466
Prices: U.S. $ 99.00
U.K. £ 55.00