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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

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Book Information


Title: Lenition and Fortition
Edited By: Joaquim Brandão de Carvalho
Tobias Scheer
Philippe Ségéral
URL: http://www.degruyter.de/cont/fb/sp/detailEn.cfm?id=IS-9783110206081-1
Series Title: Studies in Generative Grammar [SGG] 99

There are books on tone, coronals, the internal structure of segments,
vowel harmony, and a couple of other topics in phonology. This book aims to
fill the gap for Lenition and Fortition, which is one of the first
phenomena that was addressed by phonologists in the 19th century, and ever
since contributed to phonological thinking. It is certainly one of the core
phenomena that is found in the phonology of natural language: together with
assimilations, the other important family of phenomena, Lenition and
Fortition constitute the heart of what phonology can do to sound.

The book aims to provide an overall treatment of the question in its many
aspects: historical, typological, synchronic, diachronic, empirical and
theoretical. Various current approaches to phonology are represented.

The book is structured into three parts: 1) properties and behaviour of
Lenition/Fortition, 2) lenition patterns in particular languages and
language families, 3) how Lenition/Fortition work.

Part 1 describes the properties of lenition and fortition: what counts as
such? What kind of behaviour is observed? Which factors bear on it
(positional, stress-related)? Which role has it played in phonology since
(and even before) the 19th century? The
philosophy that guides the conception of the book supposes a descriptive,
generalisation-oriented style of writing that relies on a kind of
phonological lingua franca, rather than on theory-laden vocabulary. Also,
no prior knowledge other than about general phonological categories should
be required when reading through Part 1. The goal is to provide a broad
picture of what lenition is, how it behaves, which factors it is
conditioned by and what generalisations it obeys. This record may then be
used as a yardstick for competing theories.

Part 2 presents a number of case studies that show how Lenition/Fortition
behave in a number of languages that include systems which are notoriously
emblematic for Lenition/Fortition: Celtic, Western Romance, Germanic and

Finally, Part 3 is concerned with the analysis of the patterns that have
been described in Parts 1 and 2. Given their analytic orientation, Part 3
chapters are theory-specific. They look at the same empirical record, or at
a subset thereof, and try to explain what they see. Even though Part 3
chapters are couched in a specific theoretical environment that most of the
time supposes prior conceptual knowledge, authors have been asked to assure
theoretical interoperability as much as they could.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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
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.

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9783110206081
Pages: 597
Prices: Europe EURO 98.00
U.S. $ 157.00