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Journal ArticleDOI

Explanation in variable phonology: An exponential model of morphological constraints

01 Mar 1991-Language Variation and Change (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 3, Iss: 1, pp 1-22
TL;DR: In this article, a quantitative explanation of the -t,d deletion is given in the form of a quantitative theoretical prediction, which is empirically verified in a study of seven English speakers.
Abstract: Variationist treatments of phonological processes typically provide precise quantitative accounts of the effects of conditioning environmental factors on the occurrence of the process, and these effects have been shown to be robust for several well-studied processes. But comparable precision in theoretical explanation is usually elusive, at the current state of the discipline. That is, the analyst is usually unable to say why the parameters should have the particular values that they do, although one can often explain relative ordering of environments. This article attempts to give a precise explanation —in the form of a quantitative theoretical prediction —of one robust quantitative observation about English phonology. The reduction of final consonant clusters (often called -t,d deletion) is well-known to be conditioned by the morphological structure of a target word. Deletion applies more in monomorphemic words (e.g., mist) than in inflected words (e.g., missed). In the theory of lexical phonology, these classes of words are differentiated by derivational history, acquiring their final clusters at different levels of the morphology. The theory further postulates that rules may apply at more than one level of the derivation. If -t,d deletion is treated as a variable rule with a fixed rate of application (p 0 ) in a phonology with this architecture, then higher rates of application in underived forms (where the final cluster is present underlyingly and throughout the derivation) are a consequence of multiple exposures to the deletion rule, whereas inflected forms (which only meet the structural description of the rule late in the derivation) have fewer exposures and lower cumulative deletion. This further allows a precise quantitative prediction concerning surface deletion rates in the different morphological categories. They should be related as an exponential function of p 0 , depending on the number of exposures to the rule. The prediction is empirically verified in a study of -t,d deletion in seven English speakers.

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An alternate exemplar model that can account for lexical variation in phonetic detail is outlined here, which predicts that the frequency with which words are used in the contexts for change will affect how readily the word undergoes a change in progress.
Abstract: The literature on frequency effects in lexical diffusion shows that even phonetically gradual changes that in some cases are destined to be lexically regular show lexical diffusion while they are in progress. Change that is both phonetically and lexically gradual presents a serious challenge to theories with phonemic underlying forms. An alternate exemplar model that can account for lexical variation in phonetic detail is outlined here. This model predicts that the frequency with which words are used in the contexts for change will affect how readily the word undergoes a change in progress. This prediction is tested on data from /t, d/ deletion in American English. Finally, the effect of bound morphemes on the diffusion of a sound change is examined. The data suggest that instances of a bound morpheme can affect the rate of change for that morpheme overall.

506 citations

Book
28 Aug 2009
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present Lexicons and meaning of AAE, syntactic and morphosyntactic properties, speech events and rules of interaction, and AAE in literature and media.
Abstract: Introduction 1. Lexicons and meaning 2. Syntax Part 1. Verbal markers in AAE 3. Syntax Part 2. Syntactic and morphosyntactic properties in AAE 4. Phonology of AAE 5. Speech events and rules of interaction 6. AAE in literature 7. AAE in media 8. Attitudes and education.

423 citations

Book
11 May 2006
TL;DR: In this article, a sociolinguistic interview is conducted with a linguistic variable, and a variable rule program: theory and practice is presented. But it is not shown how to interpret the results of a variationist analysis.
Abstract: 1. Introduction 2. Data collection 3. The sociolinguistic interview 4. Data, data and more data 5. The linguistic variable 6. Formulating hypothesis/operationalizing claims 7. The variable rule program: theory and practice 8. The 'how to's of a variationist analysis 9. Distributional analysis 10. Multivariate analysis 11. Interpreting your results 12. Finding the story.

416 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Feb 1998-Lingua
TL;DR: In this paper, an optimality-theoretic explanation for the structure dependence of synchronic variation and diachronic change is proposed by combining invariant regularities, variable regularities and statistical preferences in a seamless fashion.

211 citations

Book ChapterDOI
24 Nov 2011
TL;DR: This chapter reviews how the fortunes of variation have changed over the past fifteen years, and discusses the some of the issues that arise in making a place for it in phonological theory.
Abstract: Over the past 15 years, the study of variation has become increasingly important in phonology. As recently as 1995, the previous edition of this Handbook did not have a chapter on variation. In fact, the term “variation” does not even appear in its subject index. Today, any volume that attempts to give an overview of the current status of the field of theoretical phonology cannot go without a chapter dedicated to variation. In this chapter, we review how the fortunes of variation have changed over the past fifteen years, and discuss the some of the issues that arise in making a place for it in phonological theory.

205 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Methodological preliminaries of generative grammars as theories of linguistic competence; theory of performance; organization of a generative grammar; justification of grammar; descriptive and explanatory theories; evaluation procedures; linguistic theory and language learning.

12,586 citations

Book
01 May 1965
TL;DR: Generative grammars as theories of linguistic competence as discussed by the authors have been used as a theory of performance for language learning. But they have not yet been applied to the problem of language modeling.
Abstract: : Contents: Methodological preliminaries: Generative grammars as theories of linguistic competence; theory of performance; organization of a generative grammar; justification of grammars; formal and substantive grammars; descriptive and explanatory theories; evaluation procedures; linguistic theory and language learning; generative capacity and its linguistic relevance Categories and relations in syntactic theory: Scope of the base; aspects of deep structure; illustrative fragment of the base component; types of base rules Deep structures and grammatical transformations Residual problems: Boundaries of syntax and semantics; structure of the lexicon

12,225 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper proposes to investigate some consequences of this third kind of modularisation of phonological theory, the approach which has come to be known as LEXICAL PHONOLOGY.
Abstract: Phonological theory in recent years can be said to have undergone a ‘modularisation’ in several respects The formal theory is no longer expected to explain everything about phonology by itself: generalisations about phonological change which previously were used to motivate constraints on abstractness or opacity have turned out to make more sense as effects of real-time language acquisition and use Secondly, phonological representations have become multi-tiered arrays, and much that seemed problematic about the application of rules has resolved itself in terms of properties of these arrays Lastly, phonology itself is seen as applying both within the lexicon to the output of each morphological process, and to the output of the syntsactic component The lexicon, moreover, may itself be organised into a hierarchy of levels, each constituting a quasi-autonomous morphological and phonological domain In this paper I propose to investigate some consequences of this third kind of modularisation, the approach which has come to be known as LEXICAL PHONOLOGY

735 citations