Chapter published in:Sonic Signatures: Studies dedicated to John Harris
Edited by Geoff Lindsey and Andrew Nevins
[Language Faculty and Beyond 14] 2017
► pp. 118–132
Uniqueness in element signatures
Representations of segments using elements or features face the challenge of whether cross-linguistic representations of the same sound should have the same representation. In line with a universal view of phonology, it is generally argued that the same phonetic output should have identical representations across systems. This paper discusses some cases where this position is challenged, particularly in cases involving language change and so-called crazy rules. It is argued that the phonological patterning of segments is what should be the crucial deciding factor in their representation, allowing different elemental combinations of the same sound from different languages to map onto identical patterns in the speech signal.
Keywords: elements, features, universal interpretation, sound patterns, acoustic signal, lenition, Bantu spirantization, palatalization
Published online: 30 November 2017
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