LINGUIST List 10.386

Fri Mar 12 1999

Books: Phonology

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <>

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  1. Damon Zucca, The Articulatory Basis of Locality in Phonology, Gafos

Message 1: The Articulatory Basis of Locality in Phonology, Gafos

Date: 25 Feb 99 10:41:20 +0000
From: Damon Zucca <>
Subject: The Articulatory Basis of Locality in Phonology, Gafos

Gafos, Adamantios I.; The Articulatory Basis of Locality in Phonology; 0-8153-3286-6, cloth; pages, $66; Garland Publishing; Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics

This work elucidates the nature of the notion of Locality in
phonology, describing the minimal conditions under which sounds
assimilate to one another. The central thesis is that a sound can
assimilate to another sound only if gestural contiguity is established
between these two sounds. The argument supporting the central thesis
of this book is unique in bringing evidence from articulatory
dynamics, electromyography, and cross-linguistic sound patterns to
converge on the same notion of locality in phonology.

	The main analytical focus is on phenomena that at first appear
problematic for the central thesis but, in fact, turn out to provide
striking confirmation of its correctness. In particular, attention is
drawn to the kind of assimilation called "long distance," where the
target and trigger of the assimilation process are not adjacent in the
phonological string. Consonant Harmony, for example, is an apparent
assimilation between the two consonants in a CVC sequence that seems
to skip the vowel. A cross-linguistic investigation reveals a rather
restricted typology of consonant harmony: the gestural parameters
subject to assimilation are only those describing the mid-sagittal and
cross-sectional shape of the tongue tip-blade. It turns out that these
are precisely the consonantal gestural parameters that can propagate
through the intervening vowel without a significant effect on the
acoustic quality of that vowel. Hence, the specific properties of
consonant harmony confirm the prediction of the central thesis that
assimilation between the two consonants in a CVC sequence propagates
through the vowel.

	This book will be of particular interest to researchers in
phonetics, phonology, and morphology, as well as to cognitive
scientists interested in how the grammar may include constraints that
emerge from the physical aspects of speech.


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1998 Contributors

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