LINGUIST List 23.5169

Mon Dec 10 2012

Books: Neutralization: Silverman

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <>

Date: 29-Nov-2012
From: Joyce Reid <>
Subject: Neutralization: Silverman
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Title: NeutralizationSeries Title: Key Topics in Phonology

Publication Year: 2012Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Daniel Silverman

Hardback: ISBN: 9780521196710 Pages: 236 Price: U.S. $ 95.00Paperback: ISBN: 9780521145015 Pages: 236 Price: U.S. $ 36.99


The function of language is to transmit information from speakers tolisteners. This book investigates an aspect of linguistic sound patterningthat has traditionally been assumed to interfere with this function –neutralization, a conditioned limitation on the distribution of a language'scontrastive values. The book provides in-depth, nuanced and critical analysesof many theoretical approaches to neutralization in phonology and argues for astrictly functional characterization of the term: neutralizing alternationsare only function-negative to the extent that they derive homophones, and mostsurprisingly, neutralization is often function-positive, by serving as an aidto parsing. Daniel Silverman encourages the reader to challenge receivednotions by carefully considering these functional consequences ofneutralization. The book includes a glossary, discussion points and lists offurther reading to help advanced phonology students consolidate the main ideasand findings on neutralization.

Table of Contents

1. The rhyme and the reason of neutralization

Part I. Rhyme

Section 1. Observation and Description:2. Topology3. Taxonomy4. Typology

Section 2. False Positives:5. Partial phonemic overlap6. Near-neutralization

Section 3. Explanation:7. Ease of production8. Ease of perception9. Phonetic misperception10. Semantic misperception: early proposals11. Semantic misperception: recent proposals

Section 4. Exemplification:12. Case study13. Domains of application14. Distinctions are drawn that matter

Part II. Reason: 15. Cement16. Boundary signals17. Prosodies18. Transitional probabilities19. The power of Babelese.

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 10-Dec-2012