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Phonology is a branch of
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

linguistics
that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language variety. At one time, the study of phonology only related to the study of the systems of
phonemes In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any partic ...

phonemes
in spoken languages. Now it may relate to :(a) any
linguistic analysis In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...
either at a level beneath the word (including
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
, onset and
rime Rime may refer to: *Rime ice Rime ice forms when supercooled water liquid droplets freeze onto surfaces. Meteorology, Meteorologists distinguish between three basic types of ice forming on vertical and horizontal surfaces by deposition of superco ...
,
articulatory gestures Articulatory gestures are the actions necessary to enunciate language. Examples of articulatory gestures are the hand movements necessary to enunciate sign language and the mouth movements of speech. In semiotic Semiotics (also called semioti ...
, articulatory features,
mora Mora may refer to: Places * Doctor Mora, city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato * Mora (Cordillera), Bolivia * Mora, Cameroon, a town * Mora (canton), Costa Rica * Mora, Cyprus, a village * Mora, Maharashtra, India, a port near Mumbai * Mora, Port ...
, etc.), or :(b) all levels of language where sound or signs are structured to convey
linguistic meaning Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of meaning, reference, or truth. The term can be used to refer to subfields of several distinct disciplines, including linguistics Linguistics is th ...
.
Sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fled ...

Sign language
s have a phonological system equivalent to the system of sounds in spoken languages. The building blocks of signs are specifications for movement, location and handshape.


Terminology

The word 'phonology' (as in '' the phonology of English'') can also refer to the phonological system (sound or sign system) of a given language. This is one of the fundamental systems which a language is considered to comprise, like its
syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntax
, its
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
and its
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
. Phonology is often distinguished from ''
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

phonetics
''. While phonetics concerns the physical production, acoustic transmission and
perception Perception (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

perception
of the sounds or sign of language, phonology describes the way they function within a given language or across languages to encode meaning. For many linguists, phonetics belongs to
descriptive linguistics In the study of language, description or descriptive linguistics is the work of objectively analyzing and describing how language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning ...
, and phonology to
theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to theory of language Theory of language is a topic from philosophy of languag ...
, although establishing the phonological system of a language is necessarily an application of theoretical principles to analysis of phonetic evidence. Note that this distinction was not always made, particularly before the development of the modern concept of the
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
in the mid 20th century. Some subfields of modern phonology have a crossover with phonetics in descriptive disciplines such as
psycholinguistics Psycholinguistics or psychology of language is the study of the interrelation between linguistic factors and psychological aspects. The discipline is mainly concerned with the mechanisms by which language is processed and represented in the mind ...
and
speech perception Speech perception is the process by which the sounds of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...
, resulting in specific areas like
articulatory phonologyArticulatory phonology is a linguistics, linguistic theory originally proposed in 1986 by Catherine Browman of Haskins Laboratories and Louis M. Goldstein of Yale University and Haskins. The theory identifies theoretical discrepancies between phoneti ...
or
laboratory phonologyLaboratory phonology is an approach to phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any parti ...
.


Derivation and definitions

The word ''phonology'' comes from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, ''phōnḗ'', "voice, sound," and the suffix ''
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of ...
'' (which is from Greek , ''lógos'', "word, speech, subject of discussion"). Definitions of the term vary.
Nikolai Trubetzkoy Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich Trubetzkoy ( rus, Никола́й Серге́евич Трубецко́й, p=trʊbʲɪtsˈkoj; 16 April 1890 – 25 June 1938) was a Russian linguistics, linguist and historian whose teachings formed a nucleus of the P ...

Nikolai Trubetzkoy
in ''Grundzüge der Phonologie'' (1939) defines phonology as "the study of sound pertaining to the system of language," as opposed to phonetics, which is "the study of sound pertaining to the act of speech" (the distinction between ''language'' and ''speech'' being basically 's distinction between ''langue'' and ''parole'').Trubetzkoy N., ''Grundzüge der Phonologie'' (published 1939), translated by C. Baltaxe as
Principles of Phonology
', University of California Press, 1969
More recently, Lass (1998) writes that phonology refers broadly to the subdiscipline of linguistics concerned with the sounds of language, while in more narrow terms, "phonology proper is concerned with the function, behavior and organization of sounds as linguistic items." According to Clark ''et al.'' (2007), it means the systematic use of
sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...

sound
to encode meaning in any spoken
human language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or often Written language, writing. The structure of language is its grammar and the free components are i ...
, or the field of linguistics studying this use.


History

Early evidence for a systematic study of the sounds in a language appears in the 4th century BCE '' Ashtadhyayi'', a
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
grammar composed by Pāṇini. In particular the ''
Shiva Sutras The Śiva·sūtras, technically akṣara·samāmnāya, variously called ', ''pratyāhāra·sūtrāṇi'', ''varṇa·samāmnāya'', etc., refer to a set of fourteen aphorisms devised as an arrangement of the sounds of Sanskrit for the purposes ...
'', an auxiliary text to the ''Ashtadhyayi'', introduces what may be considered a list of the phonemes of the Sanskrit language, with a notational system for them that is used throughout the main text, which deals with matters of
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
,
syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntax
and
semantics Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
. Ibn Jinni of
Mosul Mosul ( ar, الموصل, al-Mawṣil, ku, مووسڵ, translit=Mûsil, Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe a ...

Mosul
, a pioneer in phonology, wrote prolifically in the 10th century on Arabic morphology and phonology of Arabic in works such as '' Kitāb Al-Munṣif, Kitāb Al-Muḥtasab, and'' . The study of phonology as it exists today is defined by the formative studies of the 19th-century Polish scholar
Jan Baudouin de Courtenay Jan Niecisław Ignacy Baudouin de Courtenay (13 March 1845 – 3 November 1929) (russian: Иван Александрович Бодуэн де Куртенэ, translit=Ivan Aleksandrovich Boduen de Kurtene) was a Polish and Russia Russia ...

Jan Baudouin de Courtenay
, who (together with his students
Mikołaj Kruszewski Mikołaj Habdank Kruszewski, (Russianized, ''Nikolay Vyacheslavovich Krushevsky'', Никола́й Вячесла́вович Круше́вский) (December 18, 1851, Lutsk Lutsk ( uk, Луцьк, Luts'k, ; pl, Łuck ; yi, לוצק, Lutzk) ...
and Lev Shcherba) shaped the modern usage of the term ''
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
'' in a series of lectures in 1876–1877. The word ''phoneme'' had been coined a few years earlier in 1873 by the French linguist A. Dufriche-Desgenettes. In a paper read at 24 May meeting of the Société de Linguistique de Paris, Dufriche-Desgenettes proposed that ''phoneme'' serve as a one-word equivalent for the German ''Sprachlaut''. Baudouin de Courtenay's subsequent work, though often unacknowledged, is considered to be the starting point of modern phonology. He also worked on the theory of phonetic alternations (what is now called
allophony In phonology, an allophone (; from the Ancient Greek, Greek , ''állos'', "other" and , ''phōnē'', "voice, sound") is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds, or ''phone (phonetics), phones'', or signs used to pronounce a single phonem ...
and
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
), and may have had an influence on the work of Saussure according to E. F. K. Koerner. An influential school of phonology in the interwar period was the
Prague school The Prague school or Prague linguistic circle is a language and literature society. It started in 1926 as a group of linguistics, linguists, philology, philologists and literary critics in Prague. Its proponents developed methods of semiotic lite ...
. One of its leading members was Prince
Nikolai Trubetzkoy Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich Trubetzkoy ( rus, Никола́й Серге́евич Трубецко́й, p=trʊbʲɪtsˈkoj; 16 April 1890 – 25 June 1938) was a Russian linguistics, linguist and historian whose teachings formed a nucleus of the P ...

Nikolai Trubetzkoy
, whose ''Grundzüge der Phonologie'' (''Principles of Phonology''), published posthumously in 1939, is among the most important works in the field from this period. Directly influenced by Baudouin de Courtenay, Trubetzkoy is considered the founder of
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
, although this concept had also been recognized by de Courtenay. Trubetzkoy also developed the concept of the ''
archiphoneme In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language variety. At one ...
''. Another important figure in the Prague school was
Roman Jakobson Roman Osipovich Jakobson (russian: Рома́н О́сипович Якобсо́н; October 11, 1896Kucera, Henry. 1983. "Roman Jakobson." ''Language: Journal of the Linguistic Society of America'' 59(4): 871–883. – July 18,
, who was one of the most prominent linguists of the 20th century. In 1968
Noam Chomsky Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gesture ...

Noam Chomsky
and
Morris Halle Morris Halle (; July 23, 1923 – April 2, 2018) was a Latvian-born Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite ...

Morris Halle
published ''
The Sound Pattern of English#REDIRECT The Sound Pattern of English {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
'' (SPE), the basis for
generative phonology Generative grammar is a concept in generative linguistics, a Theoretical linguistics, linguistic theory that regards linguistics as the study of a hypothesised linguistic nativism, innate grammatical structure. It is a Biology, biological or Bio ...
. In this view, phonological representations are sequences of segments made up of
distinctive feature In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
s. These features were an expansion of earlier work by Roman Jakobson,
Gunnar Fant Carl Gunnar Michael Fant (October 8, 1919 – June 6, 2009) was a leading researcher in speech science in general and speech synthesis in particular who spent most of his career as a professor at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in ...

Gunnar Fant
, and Morris Halle. The features describe aspects of articulation and perception, are from a universally fixed set, and have the binary values + or −. There are at least two levels of representation:
underlying representation In some models of phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language varie ...
and surface phonetic representation. Ordered phonological rules govern how
underlying representation In some models of phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound system of any particular language varie ...
is transformed into the actual pronunciation (the so-called surface form). An important consequence of the influence SPE had on phonological theory was the downplaying of the syllable and the emphasis on segments. Furthermore, the generativists folded
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
into phonology, which both solved and created problems. Natural phonology is a theory based on the publications of its proponent David Stampe in 1969 and (more explicitly) in 1979. In this view, phonology is based on a set of universal
phonological process A phonological rule is a formal way of expressing a systematic phonological or morphophonological process or Historical linguistics, diachronic sound change in language. Phonological rules are commonly used in generative phonology as a notation to ...
es that interact with one another; which ones are active and which are suppressed is language-specific. Rather than acting on segments, phonological processes act on
distinctive feature In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
s within
prosodic In linguistics, prosody () is concerned with those elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segment (linguistics), segments (vowels and consonants) but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functio ...
groups. Prosodic groups can be as small as a part of a syllable or as large as an entire utterance. Phonological processes are unordered with respect to each other and apply simultaneously (though the output of one process may be the input to another). The second most prominent natural phonologist is Patricia Donegan (Stampe's wife); there are many natural phonologists in Europe, and a few in the U.S., such as Geoffrey Nathan. The principles of natural phonology were extended to
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
by Wolfgang U. Dressler, who founded natural morphology. In 1976, John Goldsmith introduced
autosegmental phonology Autosegmental phonology is a framework of phonological analysis proposed by John Goldsmith in his PhD thesis in 1976 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant researc ...
. Phonological phenomena are no longer seen as operating on ''one'' linear sequence of segments, called phonemes or feature combinations, but rather as involving ''some parallel sequences'' of features which reside on multiple tiers. Autosegmental phonology later evolved into
feature geometry Feature geometry is a Phonology, phonological theory which represents distinctive features as a structured hierarchy rather than a matrix or a set. Feature geometry grew out of autosegmental phonology, which emphasizes the autonomous nature of dis ...
, which became the standard theory of representation for theories of the organization of phonology as different as lexical phonology and
optimality theory In linguistics, Optimality Theory (frequently abbreviated OT) is a linguistic model proposing that the observed forms of language arise from the optimal satisfaction of conflicting constraints. OT differs from other approaches to phonological a ...
. Government phonology, which originated in the early 1980s as an attempt to unify theoretical notions of syntactic and phonological structures, is based on the notion that all languages necessarily follow a small set of
principle A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a Legal rule, rule that has to be or usually is to be followed. It can be desirably followed, or it can be an inevitable consequence of something, suc ...

principle
s and vary according to their selection of certain binary
parameter A parameter (), generally, is any characteristic that can help in defining or classifying a particular system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified wh ...

parameter
s. That is, all languages' phonological structures are essentially the same, but there is restricted variation that accounts for differences in surface realizations. Principles are held to be inviolable, though parameters may sometimes come into conflict. Prominent figures in this field include Jonathan Kaye, Jean Lowenstamm, Jean-Roger Vergnaud, Monik Charette, and John Harris. In a course at the LSA summer institute in 1991,
Alan Prince Alan Sanford Prince (born 1946) is a Board of Governors Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Prince, along with Paul Smolensky, developed Optimality Theory, which was originally applied to phonology, but has been e ...
and
Paul Smolensky Paul Smolensky (born May 5, 1955) is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Cognitive Science at the Johns Hopkins University and a Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond Washington. Along with Alan Prince, in 1993 he developed Optimality Theor ...
developed
optimality theory In linguistics, Optimality Theory (frequently abbreviated OT) is a linguistic model proposing that the observed forms of language arise from the optimal satisfaction of conflicting constraints. OT differs from other approaches to phonological a ...
—an overall architecture for phonology according to which languages choose a pronunciation of a word that best satisfies a list of constraints ordered by importance; a lower-ranked constraint can be violated when the violation is necessary in order to obey a higher-ranked constraint. The approach was soon extended to morphology by
John McCarthyJohn McCarthy may refer to: Government * John George MacCarthy (1829–1892), Member of Parliament for Mallow constituency, 1874–1880 * John McCarthy (Irish politician) (1862–1893), Member of Parliament for the Mid Tipperary constituency, 189 ...
and
Alan Prince Alan Sanford Prince (born 1946) is a Board of Governors Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Prince, along with Paul Smolensky, developed Optimality Theory, which was originally applied to phonology, but has been e ...
, and has become a dominant trend in phonology. The appeal to phonetic grounding of constraints and representational elements (e.g. features) in various approaches has been criticized by proponents of 'substance-free phonology', especially by Mark Hale and Charles Reiss. An integrated approach to phonological theory that combines synchronic and diachronic accounts to sound patterns was initiated with Evolutionary Phonology in recent years.


Analysis of phonemes

An important part of traditional, pre-generative schools of phonology is studying which sounds can be grouped into distinctive units within a language; these units are known as
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s. For example, in English, the "p" sound in ''pot'' is aspirated (pronounced ) while that in ''spot'' is not aspirated (pronounced ). However, English speakers intuitively treat both sounds as variations (
allophone In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of e ...
s) of the same phonological category, that is of the phoneme . (Traditionally, it would be argued that if an aspirated were interchanged with the unaspirated in ''spot'', native speakers of English would still hear the same words; that is, the two sounds are perceived as "the same" .) In some other languages, however, these two sounds are perceived as different, and they are consequently assigned to different phonemes. For example, in
Thai Thai or THAI may refer to: * Of or from Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia ** Thai people, the dominant ethnic group of Thailand ** Thai language, a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in and around Thailand *** Thai script *** Thai (Unicode block) ...

Thai
,
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the wr ...
, and
Quechua Quechua may refer to: *Quechua people, several indigenous ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru *Quechuan languages, a Native South American language family spoken primarily in the Andes, derived from a common ancestral language **Sou ...
, there are
minimal pair In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, spoken or Sign language, signed, that differ in only one phonological element, such as a phoneme, toneme or chroneme, and have distinct meanings. They are used to ...
s of words for which aspiration is the only contrasting feature (two words can have different meanings but with the only difference in pronunciation being that one has an aspirated sound where the other has an unaspirated one). Part of the phonological study of a language therefore involves looking at data (phonetic transcriptions of the speech of
native speaker A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period hypothesis, critical period. In so ...
s) and trying to deduce what the underlying
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s are and what the sound inventory of the language is. The presence or absence of minimal pairs, as mentioned above, is a frequently used criterion for deciding whether two sounds should be assigned to the same phoneme. However, other considerations often need to be taken into account as well. The particular contrasts which are phonemic in a language can change over time. At one time, and , two sounds that have the same place and manner of articulation and differ in voicing only, were
allophones In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of e ...
of the same phoneme in English, but later came to belong to separate phonemes. This is one of the main factors of historical change of languages as described in
historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including s ...
. The findings and insights of speech perception and articulation research complicate the traditional and somewhat intuitive idea of interchangeable allophones being perceived as the same phoneme. First, interchanged allophones of the same phoneme can result in unrecognizable words. Second, actual speech, even at a word level, is highly co-articulated, so it is problematic to expect to be able to splice words into simple segments without affecting speech perception. Different linguists therefore take different approaches to the problem of assigning sounds to phonemes. For example, they differ in the extent to which they require allophones to be phonetically similar. There are also differing ideas as to whether this grouping of sounds is purely a tool for linguistic analysis, or reflects an actual process in the way the human brain processes a language. Since the early 1960s, theoretical linguists have moved away from the traditional concept of a phoneme, preferring to consider basic units at a more abstract level, as a component of
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A ...
s; these units can be called ''morphophonemes'', and analysis using this approach is called
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
.


Other topics in phonology

In addition to the minimal units that can serve the purpose of differentiating meaning (the
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
s), phonology studies how sounds alternate, i.e. replace one another in different forms of the same morpheme (
allomorph In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
s), as well as, for example,
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
structure, stress,
feature geometry Feature geometry is a Phonology, phonological theory which represents distinctive features as a structured hierarchy rather than a matrix or a set. Feature geometry grew out of autosegmental phonology, which emphasizes the autonomous nature of dis ...
, and intonation. Phonology also includes topics such as
phonotactics Phonotactics (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
(the phonological constraints on what sounds can appear in what positions in a given language) and phonological alternation (how the pronunciation of a sound changes through the application of
phonological rule A phonological rule is a formal way of expressing a systematic phonological or morphophonological process or diachronic Synchrony and diachrony are two different and complementary viewpoints in linguistic Linguistics is the science, scien ...
s, sometimes in a given order which can be
feeding Eating (also known as consuming) is the ingestion of food, typically to provide a heterotrophic organism with food energy, energy and to allow for :wikt:growth, growth. Animals and other heterotrophs must eat in order to survive — carnivores ...
or
bleeding Bleeding, also known as a hemorrhage, haemorrhage, or simply blood loss, is blood Blood is a body fluid Body fluids, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally ...
,Goldsmith 1995:1.) as well as
prosody Prosody may refer to: * Sanskrit prosody, Prosody (Sanskrit), the study of poetic meters and verse in Sanskrit and one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies * Prosody (Greek), the theory and practice of Greek versification * Prosody (Lati ...
, the study of
suprasegmental In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
s and topics such as stress and intonation. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of
modality Modality may refer to: Humanities * Modality (theology), the organization and structure of the church, as distinct from sodality or parachurch organizations * Modality (music), in music, the subject concerning certain diatonic scales * Modalities ...
because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones. The same principles have been applied to the analysis of
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fled ...

sign language
s (see Phonemes in sign languages), even though the sub-lexical units are not instantiated as speech sounds.


See also

*
Accent (sociolinguistics) In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measu ...
* Absolute neutralisation * Cherology * English phonology * List of phonologists (also : Phonologists) * Morphophonology * Phoneme * Phonological development * Phonological hierarchy * Prosody (linguistics) *Phonotactics *Second language phonology *Phonological rule * Neogrammarian


Notes


Bibliography

* Anderson, John M.; and Ewen, Colin J. (1987). ''Principles of dependency phonology''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * * Leonard Bloomfield, Bloomfield, Leonard. (1933). ''Language''. New York: H. Holt and Company. (Revised version of Bloomfield's 1914 ''An introduction to the study of language''). * Brentari, Diane (1998). ''A prosodic model of sign language phonology.'' Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. * Noam Chomsky, Chomsky, Noam. (1964). Current issues in linguistic theory. In J. A. Fodor and J. J. Katz (Eds.), ''The structure of language: Readings in the philosophy language'' (pp. 91–112). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. * Chomsky, Noam; and Morris Halle, Halle, Morris. (1968). ''The sound pattern of English''. New York: Harper & Row. * * Clements, George N.; and Samuel J. Keyser. (1983). ''CV phonology: A generative theory of the syllable''. Linguistic inquiry monographs (No. 9). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. (pbk); (hbk). * * Donegan, Patricia. (1985). On the Natural Phonology of Vowels. New York: Garland. . * * * John Goldsmith (linguist), Goldsmith, John A. (1979). The aims of
autosegmental phonology Autosegmental phonology is a framework of phonological analysis proposed by John Goldsmith in his PhD thesis in 1976 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant researc ...
. In D. A. Dinnsen (Ed.), ''Current approaches to phonological theory'' (pp. 202–222). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. * Goldsmith, John A. (1989). ''Autosegmental and metrical phonology: A new synthesis''. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. * * Gussenhoven, Carlos & Jacobs, Haike. "Understanding Phonology", Hodder & Arnold, 1998. 2nd edition 2005. * * * Halle, Morris. (1959). ''The sound pattern of Russian''. The Hague: Mouton. * Harris, Zellig. (1951). ''Methods in structural linguistics''. Chicago: Chicago University Press. * Hockett, Charles F. (1955). ''A manual of phonology''. Indiana University publications in anthropology and linguistics, memoirs II. Baltimore: Waverley Press. * * * Roman Jakobson, Jakobson, Roman; Fant, Gunnar; and Halle, Morris. (1952). ''Preliminaries to speech analysis: The distinctive features and their correlates''. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. * Kaisse, Ellen M.; and Shaw, Patricia A. (1985). On the theory of lexical phonology. In E. Colin and J. Anderson (Eds.), ''Phonology Yearbook 2'' (pp. 1–30). * Michael Kenstowicz, Kenstowicz, Michael. ''Phonology in generative grammar''. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. * Ladefoged, Peter. (1982). ''A course in phonetics'' (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. * * * Napoli, Donna Jo (1996). ''Linguistics: An Introduction''. New York: Oxford University Press. * * Sandler, Wendy and Lillo-Martin, Diane. 2006. ''Sign language and linguistic universals''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press * * * Ferdinand de Saussure, de Saussure, Ferdinand. (1916). ''Cours de linguistique générale''. Paris: Payot. * Stampe, David. (1979). ''A dissertation on natural phonology''. New York: Garland. * * * Nikolai Trubetzkoy, Trubetzkoy, Nikolai. (1939). ''Grundzüge der Phonologie''. Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 7. * Twaddell, William F. (1935). On defining the phoneme. Language monograph no. 16. ''Language''.


External links

* {{Authority control Phonology, Linguistics terminology, +