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A comprehensive history of slang in the English speaking world by its leading lexicographer.


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The Universal Structure of Categories: Towards a Formal Typology

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Book Information

   

Title: The Emergence of Distinctive Features
Written By: Jeff Mielke
URL: http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199233373
Description:

This book makes a fundamental contribution to phonology, linguistic
typology, and the nature of the human language faculty. Distinctive
features in phonology distinguish one meaningful sound from another. Since
the mid-twentieth century they have been seen as a set characterizing all
possible phonological distinctions and as an integral part of Universal
Grammar, the innate language faculty underlying successive versions of
Chomskyan generative theory. The usefulness of distinctive features in
phonological analysis is uncontroversial, but the supposition that features
are innate and universal rather than learned and language-specific has
never, until now, been systematically tested. In his pioneering account
Jeff Mielke presents the results of a crosslinguistic survey of natural
classes of distinctive features covering almost six hundred of the world's
languages drawn from a variety of different families. He shows that no
theory is able to characterize more than 71 percent of classes, and further
that current theories, deployed either singly or collectively, do not
predict the range of classes that occur and recur. He reveals the existence
of apparently unnatural classes in many languages. Even without these
findings, he argues, there are reasons to doubt whether distinctive
features are innate: for example, distinctive features used in signed
languages are different from those in spoken languages, even though
deafness is generally not hereditary.

The author explains the grouping of sounds into classes and concludes by
offering a unified account of what previously have been considered to be
natural and unnatural classes. The data on which the analysis is based are
freely available in a program downloadable from the publisher's web site.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Phonology
Typology
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199207917
ISBN-13: 9780199207916
Pages: 304
Prices: U.K. £ 60.00

 
 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0199233373
ISBN-13: 9780199233373
Pages: 304
Prices: U.K. £ 21.99

 
 
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199207917
ISBN-13: 9780199207916
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 110.00

 
 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0199233373
ISBN-13: 9780199233373
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 39.95