Underlying Representations

Underlying Representations

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At the heart of generative phonology lies the assumption that the sounds of every language have abstract underlying representations, which undergo various changes in order to generate the 'surface' representations; that is, the sounds we actually pronounce. The existence, status and form of underlying representations have been hotly debated in phonological research since the introduction of the phoneme in the nineteenth century. This book provides a comprehensive overview of theories of the mental representation of the sounds of language. How does the mind store and process phonological representations? Kramer surveys the development of the concept of underlying representation over the last 100 years or so within the field of generative phonology. He considers phonological patterns, psycholinguistic experiments, statistical generalisations over data corpora and phenomena such as hypercorrection. The book offers a new understanding of contrastive features and proposes a modification of the optimality-theoretic approach to the generation of underlying representations.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 30 b/w illus.
  • 1139557718
  • 9781139557719

Table of contents

1. Getting started; 2. Arbitrariness and opposition; 3. Derivation and abstractness; 4. Underspecification returns; 5. The devil is in the detail: usage-based phonology; 6. Psycho- and neurolinguistic evidence; 7. On the form and contents of contrastive features; 8. Underlying representations in optimality theory; 9. Preliminary results.
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Review quote

'A timely and timeless topic ripe for in-depth investigation, with important and fundamental implications for rule- and constraint-based theories alike. A book that every theoretical phonologist should read and debate.' Bert Vaux, University of Cambridge '... this thought-provoking book amasses a vast range of evidence for and against different theories, proposals and hypotheses, and is an excellent guide to previous studies as well as to outstanding research problems.' Stig Eliasson, Journal of Linguistics
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About Martin Kramer

Martin Kramer is Associate Professor in Linguistics in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Tromso.
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