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Shaping Phonology

Within the past forty years, the field of phonology—a branch of linguistics that explores both the sound structures of spoken language and the analogous phonemes of sign language, as well as how these features of language are used to convey meaning—has undergone several important shifts in theory that are now part of standard practice. Drawing together contributors from a diverse array of subfields within the discipline, and honoring the pioneering work of linguist John Goldsmith, this book reflects on these shifting dynamics and their implications for future phonological work.

Divided into two parts, Shaping Phonology first explores the elaboration of abstract domains (or units of analysis) that fall under the purview of phonology. These chapters reveal the increasing multidimensionality of phonological representation through such analytical approaches as autosegmental phonology and feature geometry. The second part looks at how the advent of machine learning and computational technologies has allowed for the analysis of larger and larger phonological data sets, prompting a shift from using key examples to demonstrate that a particular generalization is universal to striving for statistical generalizations across large corpora of relevant data. Now fundamental components of the phonologist’s tool kit, these two shifts have inspired a rethinking of just what it means to do linguistics.

320 pages | 11 halftones, 26 line drawings, 6 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2018

Language and Linguistics: Phonology and Phonetics


"Shaping Phonology collects essays on the sound structure of language with special attention to, and appreciation of, the work of John Goldsmith. . . . The book comprises two parts, the first dealing with the multidimensional nature of sound structure and the second with recent work in machine learning, computational modeling, and statistical analysis of linguistic data. . . . Especially notable are Brentari's essay on sign language phonology and a closing essay by Mark Liberman on the symbol/signal distinction. . . . The essays are technical, of consistently high quality. . . . Shaping Phonology will be of special interest to scholars of the history of linguistics and to phonologists and phoneticians. . . . Recommended."


“This unique collection contains outstanding chapters that I am sure will prove influential in the field of linguistics, and phonology in particular. I am impressed at the chapters’ variety—historical surveys, analyses, and theoretical proposals—and by how intensely and profoundly they engage with John Goldsmith’s research. It will be essential for linguists to have access to this book.”

Paul de Lacy, Rutgers University, editor of "The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology"

“John Goldsmith’s invention of autosegmental phonology was foundational, the coin of the phonologist’s realm. His work opened a door to a new landscape, and this book tells the recent history, after Goldsmith, of phonology, going into many fascinating new subproblems. It will be a kind of watershed. All students of phonology will be required to know it, and to situate themselves with respect to it. Shaping Phonology is an essential book.”

Haj Ross, University of North Texas

Table of Contents


Part One     Autosegmental Phonology

A. History

1          The Secret History of Prosodic and Autosegmental Phonology
John Coleman

2          A Brief History of Autosegmental Phonology with Special Reference to Its Founder
William R. Leben

B. Applications to Tone

3          The Autosegmental Approach to Tone in Lusoga
Larry M. Hyman

4          Tonal Melodies in the Logoori Verb
David Odden

C. Extensions of the Theory

5          Autosegments Are Not Just Features
D. Robert Ladd

6          The Importance of Autosegmental Representations for Sign Language Phonology
Diane Brentari

7          Abstract Underlying Representations in Prosodic Structure
Bert Vaux and Bridget D. Samuels

8          Sonority Waves in Syllabification
Caroline Wiltshire

9          Toward Progress in Theories of Language Sound Structure
Mark Liberman

Part Two    Computation and Unsupervised Learning

10        On the Discovery Procedure
Jackson L. Lee

11        Model Selection and Phonological Argumentation
James Kirby and Morgan Sonderegger

12        The Dynamics of Prominence Profiles: From Local Computation to Global Patterns
Khalil Iskarous and Louis Goldstein

13        French Liaison in the Light of Corpus Phonology: From Lexical Information to Patterns of Usage Variation
Bernard Laks, Basilio Calderone, and Chiara Celata

14        A Phonological Approach to the Unsupervised Learning of Root-and-Pattern Morphology
Aris Xanthos


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