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ERIC Number: ED513334
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 432
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-5662-8
The Structure of Phonological Theory
Samuels, Bridget D.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
This dissertation takes a Minimalist approach to phonology, treating the phonological module as a system of abstract symbolic computation, divorced from phonetic content. I investigate the position of the phonological module within the architecture of grammar and the evolutionary scenario developed by Hauser et al. (2002a) and Fitch et al. (2005). Chapters 1 & 2 introduce Minimalism, the substance-free approach to phonology, and Evolutionary Phonology, the tripartite foundation upon which the dissertation rests. I argue that the role of diachrony must be factored out from synchronic phonological theory: what is diachronically possible must be separated from what is computationally possible and from what is learnable. Chapter 3 seeks to define the nature of phonological representations. This chapter addresses issues such as whether phonological features are innate or emergent, how much underspecification is allowed in lexical representations, and how segmental and suprasegmental material is organized into strings. I argue that phonological representations are "flat" or "linearly hierarchical." Chapter 4 establishes the formalisms for the repertoire of primitive operations, SEARCH, COPY, and DELETE, which account for all (morpho)phonological processes. I illustrate the application of these operations with analyses of data from domains such as vowel harmony, reduplication, affixation, and subtractive morphology, then extend "generalized SEARCH and COPY" to the rest of phonology. Chapter 5 moves from the representations and operations developed in the previous chapters to the syntax-phonology interface. This chapter argues for maintaining a direct reference conception of the syntax-phonology interface, based on the notion that phonology and syntax operate on synchronized cycles. Chapter 6 focuses on the broader implications of the theory presented in the earlier chapters. I demonstrate on the basis of behavioral and physiological studies on a variety of species that all the cognitive abilities necessary for human phonological representations and operations are present in creatures other than Homo sapiens and in domains other than phonology. Chapter 7 summarizes the dissertation and suggests directions for future research. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A