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The function of language is to transmit information from speakers to listeners. This book investigates an aspect of linguistic sound patterning that has traditionally been assumed to interfere with this function - neutralization, a conditioned limitation on the distribution of a language's contrastive values. The book provides in-depth, nuanced and critical analyses of many theoretical approaches to neutralization in phonology and argues for a strictly functional characterization of the term: neutralizing alternations are only function-negative to the extent that they derive homophones, and most surprisingly, neutralization is often function-positive, by serving as an aid to parsing. Daniel Silverman encourages the reader to challenge received notions by carefully considering these functional consequences of neutralization. The book includes a glossary, discussion points and lists of further reading to help advanced phonology students consolidate the main ideas and findings on more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 7 b/w illus. 10 tables
  • 1139557726
  • 9781139557726

About Daniel Silverman

Daniel Silverman is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Language Development at San Jose State University, more

Table of contents

1. The rhyme and the reason of neutralization; Part I. Rhyme; Section 1. Observation and Description: 2. Topology; 3. Taxonomy; 4. Typology; Section 2. False Positives: 5. Partial phonemic overlap; 6. Near-neutralization; Section 3. Explanation: 7. Ease of production; 8. Ease of perception; 9. Phonetic misperception; 10. Semantic misperception: early proposals; 11. Semantic misperception: recent proposals; Section 4. Exemplification: 12. Case study; 13. Domains of application; 14. Distinctions are drawn that matter; Part II. Reason: 15. Cement; 16. Boundary signals; 17. Prosodies; 18. Transitional probabilities; 19. The power of more

Review quote

'Neutralization is a must-read for students and researchers interested in neutralization, a long-standing issue in phonological theory. Silverman's comprehensive survey of traditional and current approaches is both useful and stimulating.' Jongho Jun, Seoul National University 'A detailed and critical exploration of neutralization that will be a valuable resource for both beginning and advanced scholars, regardless of theoretical orientation.' Beth Hume, University of Canterbury, New Zealandshow more