The Emergence of Distinctive Features

The Emergence of Distinctive Features

by Jeff Mielke

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780191525940
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 03/13/2008
Series: Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Jeff Mielke is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ottawa. In 2003 he was awarded the Presidential Fellowship at Ohio State University and achieved his PhD the following year. He then undertook postdoctoral research at the Phonological Imaging Laboratory at the University of Arizona before moving to Ottawa in 2006.

Table of Contents


Preface     ix
List of figures and tables     xii
Abbreviations     xvi
Natural classes and distinctive features in phonology     1
Natural class behavior     2
Emergent feature theory     7
Incorporating insights of innate features into emergent feature theory     10
Definitions     12
General arguments against innate features     15
Signed language features     15
No evidence that unattested = impossible     20
No null hypothesis and no large-scale survey     21
New theories without new evidence     23
Dogs, fish, chickens, and humans     25
Innate features recapitulate independently observable facts     26
Summary     28
Original motivations for distinctive features     30
Motivations for features     30
Motivations for binarity     31
Motivations for innateness     32
Outline of the book     34
Phonetic and psycholinguistic evidence     36
Phonetic evidence     37
Speech errors     37
Quantal relations     38
Perception     39
Crosslinguistic differences     40
Incomplete neutralization     42
Psycholinguistic evidence     42
Infant perception     42
Developmental evidence     44
MEG studies     45
Summary     46
Survey methods     47
Data collection     47
Analysis     49
Ambivalent segments     56
Some survey results     58
Prototypically non-prototypical segments: lateral liquids     58
Other continuants and non-continuants     62
The ambivalence of nasals     65
Lateral ambivalence in action     68
Summary of results     72
Discussion     73
Emergent feature theory     78
"Emergence"     78
Emergent features     81
Sound change     85
Phonetically based generalization     86
Frequency     95
Social factors     97
The abstractness of emergent features     98
Reinterpreting formal phonology     100
Formalization     104
Accounting for language data     104
Toward a cognitive representation of phonology     111
Summary      112
General survey results     114
Predictions of different models     114
Overview     117
Unnatural classes     118
Crazy classes     119
Recurrent phonetically natural "unnatural" classes     124
Recurrent classes appearing to involve generalization in two directions     129
Related patterns in related languages     133
Recurrent phonetically unnatural classes     143
Survey results in terms of feature theories     147
Preliminaries, SPE, and Unified Feature Theory     147
Place of articulation     158
Phonetic correlates     161
Defining unnatural classes     163
Other feature theories     165
Summary     167
Towards a phonetic similarity model     168
Conclusions     171
The emergence of linguistic structure     173
Formalization     175
Explanation     176
The Macro Model     180
The Micro Model     181
Combining models     182
Production filters     186
Perception filters     188
Generalization     189
Supermodel      191
Submodels     193
Summary     197
Conclusions     197
Languages in the survey     199
Detailed survey results     214
Detailed phonetic similarity results     227
References     231
Index     265

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