Evolutionary Phonology: The Emergence of Sound Patterns by Juliette Blevins

By Juliette Blevins

Evolutionary Phonology is a brand new concept of sound styles which synthesizes leads to historic linguistics, phonetics, and phonological conception. during this groundbreaking e-book, Juliette Blevins explores the character of sound styles and sound swap in human language during the last 7000-8000 years. She offers a brand new method of the matter of ways genetically unrelated languages, from households as a ways aside as local American, Australian Aboriginal, Austronesian, and Indo-European, can usually exhibit related sound styles, and likewise tackles the communicate challenge of why there are extraordinary exceptions to many of the styles which are usually considered as common traits or constraints. a proper version of sound switch is gifted that integrates phonetic edition and styles of misperception to account for attested sound platforms, regardless of markedness or naturalness in the synchronic grammar.

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G. 11 The merger of ∗ and ∗ w in Modern English is not unexpected. Just as the fantail’s surplus of tailfeathers might hinder flight and lead to decreased survival rates in the wild, there is evidence that the rarity of /w/ versus / / contrasts in the world’s sound systems is a function of phonetically determined low survival rates. Voiceless sonorants like [ ] have very little acoustic energy, are hard to hear, and may be lost over time, or reinterpreted as contextual variants of their voiced counterparts.

See Labov (2001) for a comprehensive survey of the issues involved. A non-metaphorical evolutionary model of the emergence of sound patterns can be found in Steels (1998) and De Boer (2001). Jakobson (1929) and Kiparsky (1995) propose similar models, but with the selectional mechanism of language transmission heavily determined by phonological markedness principles which are not assumed within Evolutionary Phonology. Evolution in language and elsewhere 27 of well-understood biological concepts including parallel evolution, convergent evolution, direct inheritance, adaptation, and disaptation.

24 Preliminaries As noted above, Evolutionary Phonology attempts to explain the striking similarities in sound patterns across unrelated languages in terms of parallel evolution. Recurring independent diachronic developments are circumscribed by the interaction of articulatory and perceptual properties of speech, and ways in which these properties are abstracted into phonological representations. These diachronic developments have sound phonetic bases, but they are non-teleological and frequently non-optimizing.

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