The Contrastive Hierarchy in Phonology (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics)

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9780521182355: The Contrastive Hierarchy in Phonology (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics)
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'Contrast' - the opposition between distinctive sounds in a language - is one of the most central concepts in linguistics. This book presents a fascinating account of the logic and history of contrast in phonology. It provides empirical evidence from diverse phonological domains that only contrastive features are computed by the phonological component of grammar. It argues that the contrastive specifications of phonemes are governed by language-particular feature hierarchies. This approach assigns a key role to abstract cognitive structures, challenging contemporary approaches that favour phonetic explanations of phonological phenomena. Tracing the evolution of the hypothesis that contrastive features play a special role in phonology, it shows how this insight has been obscured by misunderstandings of the role of the contrastive feature hierarchy. Questioning the widely held notion that contrast should be based on minimal pairs, Elan Dresher argues that the contrastive hierarchy is indispensable to illuminating accounts of phonological patterning.

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Book Description:

The subject of 'contrast' in phonology is one of the most central concepts in linguistics and is of key importance to linguists working across many languages. This book offers a fascinating account of both the logic and history of contrast in phonology.

About the Author:

B. Elan Dresher is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto.

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9780521889735: The Contrastive Hierarchy in Phonology (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics)

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ISBN 10: 0521889731 ISBN 13: 9780521889735
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2009
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