The relationship between phonetics and phonology : an investigation into the representation of the phonological feature (voice)
Van Rooy, Albertus Jacobus
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The relationship between phonetic and phonological information within phonological theory is investigated with specific reference to the phonological feature [voice]. Given the often algebraic and therefore arbitrary nature of constructs employed by phonological theory, important generalisations are missed. This thesis proposes a version of constraint-based phonology that integrates aspects of the representation devices of cognitive grammar with the notion of a constraint as conceived in optimality theory. It is shown that an adequate account of Afrikaans voicing phenomena can be formulated on this basis. The phonological feature [voice], alongside the related notions [spread] and [tense]. is defined in phonetic terms. In chapter 2, two kinds of models for representing the relationship between these features are identified in the literature: one-way models that only recognise one of the three features, either [voice] or (tense); and two-way models that recognise [voice], together with either [spread] or (tense]. Two further models are proposed as hypotheses about feature representation: a three-way model that assigns superordinate status to (tense] and basic level status to [voice] and [spread]; and a model with two independent systems, a (tense]-system and a [voice]-[spread] system. These models are subjected to evaluation in the subsequent chapters of the thesis. It is concluded that the three-way model accounts most adequately for the voicing phenomena in Afrikaans, as well as various other languages, particularly Dutch. A few voicing alternations are known to affect the feature [voice]: regressive, voicing assimilation, final devoicing and progressive devoicing. At least three types of accounts are available for most of them: phonetic, generative phonological and optimality theoretic accounts. These three types of accounts are examined separately in chapters 3-5. identifying the insights they contribute, as well as their shortcomings. On the basis of these comparisons it is concluded in chapter 6 that a unified account for all the relevant insights is not available. Although optimality performs better than generativism in terms of t11e comprehensiveness of its account, a number of obvious phonetic findings cannot be accommodated within optimality theory. The notion of constraints in optimality is identified as an important contribution, but constraint ranking is found to be inadequate because of its essentially arbitrary character. Various phonetic findings indicate that constraint ranking should be predictable on external grounds. As an alternative. it is proposed in chapter 7 that schematic networks, which serve as licensing schemas for the distribution of distinctive features, should be adopted. These networks employ the notions of prototype and category extension, as developed within cognitive grammar, alongside constraints. The constraints are regarded as the primary phonetic devices for category extension. The distance between a par1icular extension and its prototype is identified as a predictor of the degree of gradient behaviour of phonological units. This model is applied to aspects of the Dutch voicing phenomena discussed in chapters 2-6. Such an account makes it possible to incorporate phonetic findings that voicing phenomena are both optional and incomplete. It makes possible a statement of the kinds of optional behaviour, as well as the reasons why incompleteness effects occur. In chapter 8, a schematic network that licenses the occurrence of the feature [voice) in the phonology of Afrikaans is proposed, together with a network that explicates the effects of devoicing in Afrikaans, in syllable-final and morpheme-internal environments, as well as across morpheme boundaries that are not particularly salient. While most of the networks operate with the feature [voice], the impact of the superordinate category [tense] on the existence of incompleteness effects is identified. A separate network for the feature [tense] is proposed for Afrikaans. This network is employed with the function of disambiguation in the case of phonetic incompleteness effects during final devoicing, and also lies at the basis of morphophonological alternations and distributions among Afrikaans fricatives.
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