A vivid commentary on Jewish survival and Jewish speech communities that will be enjoyed by the general reader, and is essential reading for students and researchers interested in the study of Middle Eastern languages, Jewish studies, and sociolinguistics.
'Contrast' - the opposition between distinctive sounds in a language - is
one of the most central concepts in linguistics. This book presents a
account of the logic and history of contrast in phonology. It provides
empirical evidence from diverse phonological domains that only contrastive
computed by the phonological component of grammar. It argues that the
contrastive specifications of phonemes are governed by language-particular
feature hierarchies. This approach assigns a key role to abstract cognitive
structures, challenging contemporary approaches that favour phonetic
explanations of phonological phenomena. Tracing the evolution of the
hypothesis that contrastive features play a special role in phonology, it
shows how this insight has been obscured by misunderstandings of the role
contrastive feature hierarchy. Questioning the widely held notion that
contrast should be based on minimal pairs, Elan Dresher argues that the
hierarchy is indispensable to illuminating accounts of phonological patterning.