"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
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.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.
AUTHOR: Hayes, Bruce TITLE: Introductory Phonology SERIES: Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics YEAR: 2009 PUBLISHER: Wiley-Blackwell Gisela Collischonn, Instituto de Letras, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Overview This book is intended as a course book for an introductory course in phonology for undergraduates. Following the preface, there are fifteen chapters corresponding to a ten week term course and an appendix presenting some directions on what to care for when writing solutions for phonology problems. Each chapter contains a section called ''Further reading'', which includes references for the languages discussed along with suggestions of advanced readings, and a set of exercises. Since the bibliography is given in each chapter, there is no bibliographical list at the end of the book. New terms are introduced in italics and are referenced in a general index which also contains the languages discussed. There are plenty of charts and other visual aids to help clarifying difficult ideas.
Content The first four chapters focus on fundamentals of phonetics, rules and levels of representation and features. The ideal audience of the book should already have taken a general course in phonetics. Thus, Chapter 1 ''Phonetics'' is intended as a review on articulatory phonetics. It includes a description on how sounds are produced, their classification and some orientation on phonetic transcription using symbols of the IPA. The exercises address transcription practice and the rationale behind the use of diacritics in transcription, as well as questions related to the physiological impossibility of sounds. Chapter 2 ''Phonemic Analysis'' introduces contrast and allophonic relations. Careful phonemic and phonetic transcriptions of English words and sentences illustrate levels of representation and the derivations that relate them. On p.30, the author states that ''derivations form the heart of a phonological discussion'', and advises the reader ''to inspect rather than skim them'' when studying an analysis. Some formalism for rule writing is also introduced here, e.g. the slash indicating environment and the meaning of the square brackets. In the second part of the chapter, the analytic procedures for depicting phonemic inventories are laid out and illustrated with the stepwise identification of the Maasai (Nilotic, Kenya /Tanzania) consonantal distinctions. This part also introduces the idea that sounds organize into natural classes. The exercises give the opportunity to apply the methods outlined in the chapter to new data from English and from Lango, another Nilotic language, with a pattern of consonantal distinctions very similar to Maasai, although different in substance. Chapter 3 ''More on Phonemes'' discusses issues related to the reality of phonemes (e.g.the reflection of the phonemic principle in writing, the effect of native phonology on the discrimination of foreign sounds, etc.) and introduces notions like free variation, contextually limited contrasts and phonotactic constraints. Chapter 4 ''Features'' introduces binary distinctive features, following mostly Chomsky and Halle's (1968) feature theory. A section on the use of features in rules gives orientation on when the use of features is required or recommended in the formalization of a rule and when it would be more sensible to use full segments instead. This section also provides some procedures to find the features needed in a rule and gives reasons for why to include only just as many features in a rule as needed. The chapter is enriched with elaborate feature charts, organized according to consonants with single place, consonants with two places (complex articulation) and vowels. It also includes a chart on diacritics and the way they are expressed with features (like the superscripted diacritic [h], whose expression with feature values is [+spread glottis, -constricted glottis]). The exercise section hints to the use of the software FeaturePad, developed by Kie Zuraw and available on the author's homepage, which helps to find out the sounds included in a feature class among other applications. The exercises address the use of features to express natural classes and rules. The presentation of the morphology role in phonology is broken down into several chapters, beginning with fundamental morphological notions required for the study of phonology (Chapter 5), going through alternations of stems and affixes which can be explained by single phonological rules applying to the environment provided by morphological concatenation (Chapter 6), or alternations of morphemes created by ordered rules applying serially to the output of morphological concatenation (Chapter 7), until reaching morphophonemic analysis (Chapter 8). The role of morphology in phonology also provides the background for the discussion about productivity in phonology (Chapter 9) and about rule domain definition (Chapter 10). A brief summary of each of these chapters is presented below. Chapter 5 ''Morphology'' is intended to give some background on morphological analysis for the following chapters which develop understanding of the interaction of morphology with phonological rules. It includes the steps of a morphological analysis and information on the notation of morphological rules. The exercises address morphological rules and analysis of regular morphological paradigms (inflection in Japanese verbs). Chapter 6 ''Phonological Alternation I'' introduces the idea of a single underlying form for each morpheme. The idea of ordered components, a lexicon followed by a morphological component itself followed by a phonological component is introduced and graphically illustrated. The second part focuses on neutralization, exemplifying with phrasal stop neutralization in Korean, consonant/zero neutralization in English (plan(t)er vs. planner) and with assimilatory neutralization of voicing in Russian. The focus of the discussion is to illustrate the idea of a lexical contrast that is concealed by the application of neutralization rules. At the end of the chapter, an issue not usually discussed in phonology textbooks, near-neutralization, is presented. The author advises phonologists to learn how to do phonetic measurements and simple experiments to identify if the apparent neutralization cases they observe are real. The exercise section contains a series of questions about phonological alternations in Lango (which language was already the object of exercises in chapter 2), guiding the student through the steps of problem solving. Chapter 7 ''Phonological Alternation II'' goes further into neutralization, considering the role of rule ordering in affecting contrasts. This is exemplified with interaction of raising and tapping in Canadian English, and with Chimwiini (Bantu, Somalia) interaction of morphology with the rules of vowel shortening and lengthening. Chimwiini also exemplifies how to argue for a specific underlying form. The exercise section builds further on rule ordering and on the logical steps and inferences involved in phonological analysis. Chapter 8 ''Morphophonemic Analysis'' shows how apparently complex alternations in paradigms can be disentangled into a set of phonological rules applied to the output of morphological rules. The first part focuses mainly on how to set up underlying representations and presents the steps of an analysis and the hypotheses which underlie the reasoning. This is then illustrated with Lardil(Australia). The chapter ends with a presentation of the ordering relations holding between rules (e.g. feeding, counter-bleeding, etc.). The exercises include deduction of output forms for Lardil inverted rule ordering and analysis of paradigmatic alternations from the Australian language Yidi§. Chapter 9 ''Productivity'' works out the notion of productivity in phonology, illustrating it with rules of varying degrees of productivity from English and other languages. The text points out that a rule may be real even though it is not 100% productive. This is exemplified with /f/ voicing in English: although there are many exceptions, the rule occasionally extends to new forms, like gulf or chief, and it is observed to be productive also in nonce-word testing. The text also touches upon rule vs. memorization and the point of view assumed is that forms memorized by the speaker may well coexist with a rule that derives them. The chapter ends discussing the question of how to assess productivity experimentally and how to decide when some alternation is accounted for by rule or by the lexicon. The exercises invite students to engage in productivity testing with the use of internet search engines and wug testing. Chapter 10 ''The Role of Morphology and Syntax'' addresses mainly the issue of rule domains defined with reference to morphological or syntactical boundaries. The exercise section asks students to identify bounding effects and to use them to justify a specific domain for a rule. Chapter 11 ''Diachrony and Synchrony'' explains that phonological rules and sound changes, though related to each other, are not the same. It presents the concept of phonological restructuring, related to phonemic inventories as well as to rules. Phonemic restructuring is illustrated with the merger of the voiceless labial alveolar approximant (as in whale) with its voiced counterpart /w/ in the majority of American English dialects. The author shows also that opaque rule interactions may lead ultimately to phoneme creation, as is the case of the German front rounded vowels. The exercises deal with hypercorrection and restructuring. Chapter 12 ''Abstractness'' deals with absolute neutralizations and discusses its alternatives. The classic case of Polish vowel ~ zero alternations is presented and two ways to analyze it, the Jer analysis and the epenthesis analysis, are discussed. Pros and cons of each one are considered in relation to issues of acquisition and psychological reality, language history and economy of analysis. Although the discussion seems to be inclined towards the less abstract epenthesis analysis, it ends with the conclusion that each party has its flaws and should be improved in order to cope with contrary arguments. The final section of the chapter gives an idea of Chomsky and Halle's abstract analysis of English stress. The exercise section includes one exercise on the diphthong ~ monophthong alternations in Spanish, asking the student to propose two alternative analyses, one with absolute neutralization and one with a less abstract solution. The last three chapters deal with phonology above the segment, discussing syllables, stress and intonation The role of the syllable has been called into question in recent years, but Chapter 13 ''Syllables'' maintains the position that syllables are supported by human phonological behavior and are important for understanding the pattern of application of many rules. The chapter deals with general principles of syllabification, rules of syllable-segment mapping, the derivation of syllable structure and word-bounding, and the ways in which syllable structure influences segmental phonology. Although tree structure is in general avoided in the book, a two-tiered representation is adopted for the syllable. The exercises deal with the role of syllables in rules, phonotactic distribution of consonants and German /r/ allophony. Chapter 14 ''Stress, Stress Rules, and Syllable Weight'' adopts from metrical phonology the idea that syllables and not segments are the bearers of stress but does not adopt the representational devices developed by metrical phonology, such as feet or other kind of constituents. It starts with the traditional (SPE) format for stress rules, substituting individual segments with syllables, however. In order to make the rules able to apply to distinct phonological expansions, the parenthesis notation in rules is introduced and explained. In the final part of the chapter, syllable weight distinction is introduced, its psychological reality is argued for with the exemplification of traditional poetic meters from Persian and Classical Latin poetry, and its importance in the account of stress systems is shown with Classical Arabic. At the end of this chapter, English stress is discussed. The same rule as for Classical Arabic is taken to account for regular stress in English. Although many exceptions are recognized, they are not taken as sufficient reason to invalidate the statement of a rule for the words that follow the general pattern, in line with the argumentation developed in Chapter 9 on productivity degrees. The chapter ends with an exposition of how the use of segments instead of syllables would turn the English stress rule incredibly complex, thus arguing for the syllable as a phonological element. The exercises address stress assignment by rule and syllable weight. Chapter 15 ''Tone and Intonation'' introduces the issue of tone in language by stating briefly the distinction between tone languages, pitch accent languages and intonation languages. The main part of the chapter is dedicated to English intonation, and the description is used to present the autosegmental framework approach to intonation. Some of the better known tunes of English are identified: the declarative, the emphatic question tune, the regular question tune and the predictable tune. The final part of the chapter explores further the idea of tones as autosegments, presenting effects of tone stability and contour formation in tone languages. The exercise section addresses tune-text association rules for English, and the formation of contour tones in Etsako (Benue-Congo, Nigeria) vowel sandhi. Evaluation This book does an excellent job in teaching phonology as practiced today without going into theoretical controversies. The entire set of fundamental notions combined with the tools for doing phonological analysis is provided along with reflections on what constitutes knowledge in the field of phonology and how it may be assessed by the researcher. Even less accessible notions in the field are made easy to understand by the straightforward manner they are presented and exemplified. Every chapter includes detailed exposition of phenomena in particular languages with accurate transcriptions of the data (including English data!). Transcriptions consistently adopt IPA symbols and no symbol is used without being explained. This practice, not usually observed in phonology course books, is welcome especially for students that are not native English speakers. There are a few mistakes in transcription, whose correction can be found at the author's webpage: http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/hayes/IP. (A minor inconsistency still remains in the symbol used to represent the close-mid back unrounded vowel; compare the symbol used on the IPA chart, p. 14, with the one used on the feature chart on p. 98 and in the transcriptions of vocalized /l/ on p. 261.) The problem sets at the end of each chapter are especially well structured. Most of them allow students to apply the logic of analysis worked out in the chapter to additional data of the same language or to data of some different language. Some allow students to build on and elaborate earlier analyses. The exercises of the later chapters, e.g. the last exercise, on Etsako tone (p. 313-4), offer opportunity to the reader to apply knowledge accumulated from previous chapters and gain experience in formulating rules and establishing underlying representations. There are also plenty of guidelines on how to get reliable data from native speakers and how to test the reality of rules and phonemic distinctions. Discussions on English and other language data exemplify the role of evidence in argumentation relating to analytical claims and constructs. The author warns that spelling is not legitimate evidence and makes clear that the analysis has to rely on the same kind of data children have access when acquiring their language. Coherent with this position, there is continuous appeal to acquisition concerns and to issues of phonological borrowing. There is also a remarkably rich use of language data. An example is the case of the rule of /f/ voicing, which is discussed in chapter 9, in connection with productivity (p. 195), and considered again in chapter 11 as an example of a rule that originated not as a sound change, but as the result of a series of independent changes that produce together the effect of a sound change (p. 231-2). Another example refers to the discussion of the distinction between dynamic neutralization and static neutralizations. This distinction is introduced in chapter 6 and exemplified with English final voicing assimilation (dynamic neutralization) and with the requirement that final CC sequences must end in an alveolar stop in English (static neutralization)and is referred back in chapter 13, when discussing coda neutralization. When needed, the author points to further knowledge in theoretical phonology in footnotes, which are no less accessible than the main text. An example is note 1 of chapter 9, where the author hints to the existence of paradigmatical explanations, in the sense of OT correspondence relations, for apparently exceptional behavior of rules. There is a clear option to concentrate on phonological rules and derivations rather than on phonological representations. Some representational elements of sub- or suprasegmental structure are never mentioned, like feature geometry, CV skeleton, and other kinds of devices developed in multi-tiered phonology. On the other hand, the text is very explicit on rule notation: chapter 2 introduces the slash and the long underline (/___ ) notations for environment and the use of square brackets for the representation of feature conjunctions; chapter 6 introduces Greek letter variables in the context of voicing assimilation in Russian (p. 133); chapter 13 introduces curly brackets notation in the context of discussion of processes affecting coda segments (p. 259) and discusses alternatives to it (p.264); finally the chapter on stress (14) introduces parenthesis notation and the possibility to read a rule in different expansions. Thus rule formalism is not only presented but the author takes care that the understanding of its use grows out of the demands presented by the analysis itself, making it meaningful. This book has so much to recommend it that it would be impossible to point out all its positive aspects here. There is, however one weak aspect. As mentioned above, in chapter 14, stress rules of the SPE format are adopted. As the author acknowledges in the Further Reading section (p.290), this approach is taken for pedagogical reasons. Emphasis on the locational aspects of stress and not on discussing how phonological theories treat them yields as a consequence complete absence of terms like 'foot' and 'mora'. Thus a rule deriving penultimate stress, as in Polish, is formulated as 'a syllable becomes stressed if it precedes a word final syllable'. Alternating stresses are created with the combined application of a rule like the one above and a secondary stress rule, which takes primary stress location as its environment formulated as ' a syllable becomes stressed if it precedes a syllalbe followed by a stressed syllable'. Weight is incorporated into the rule notation mentioned before by the use of distinct symbols for light vs. heavy syllables, thus the Classical Arabic Stress rule sounds like: syll. -> [+stress]/_((light syll.) syll.)]word. The goal to reduce terminology to a minimum is understandable in an introductory book, intended not to dwell into theoretical controversies, but still it seems awkward to me to teach phonology without even mentioning feet. This reduces stress to rules of [+stress] location, while the idea that stress is based on prominence relations is entirely lost. This is a minor weakness in face of the major achievements of this book. I think it succeeds entirely in its goal of making phonological analysis meaningful for the undergraduate student. It is especially suited for students of other countries, for its clearness, its careful presentation, its coherent use of sound symbols, feature values and rule notation, and its accessible writing style.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Gisela Collischonn is an associate professor at Universidade Federal do Rio
Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Her research interests include
phonology, morphology, language variation, Optimality Theory, prosodic
phenomena and the Portuguese language.