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A Brief History of Phonology!

Detailing some of the most important events in the development of phonology for allaboutlinguistics.com

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Transcript of A Brief History of Phonology!

All About Linguistics.com A Brief History of Phonology! Jacob Grimm (1785-1865) Although most famously known as one of the Brothers Grimm, Jacob was also a linguist!
He studied comparative Germanic Grammar taking into account several old and modern languages, e.g. Gothic, Scandinavian languages, English).
Discovered Grimm's Law, the first law in linguistics concerning sound change. The law identified a set of sound changes that had created Germanic Languages from proto-Indo-European languages.
Hypotheses strictly scientific and showed that language change is systematic and not random. Group of linguists based at Leipzig university.
Their main argument was that language change was systematic and a sound change affects simultaneously all words in which its environment is met.
A famous example of the Neogrammarian hypothesis is Verner's Law, which resolved an exception to Grimm's Law. The Neogrammarians (Late 19th Century) Ferdinand de Saussure (1854-1913) Swiss linguist widely acknowledged as the founding father of modern linguistics.
He championed the switch from diachronic phonology to synchronic phonology.
His "Course in General Linguistics" was published posthumously by two of his students, and his ideas became more influential after he died.
He saw language as a formal and arbitrary system, which includes the idea of the linguistic sign.
If you would like to learn more about Sign Theory, this article explains the fundamental concept very well!
http://www.decodedscience.com/ferdinand-de-saussure-the-linguistic-unit-sign-signified-and-signifier-explained/20876 (Diachronic phonology is the study of language change over time, e.g the work of The Neogrammarians, while Synchronic phonology is focused on viewing a language at one point as a structured system). Jan Baudouin de Courtenay (1845-1929) This Polish linguist drew a distinction between language (as a structured system) and speech (as used by individuals).
He introduced the concept of the word phoneme*! *If you're not sure what a phoneme is, or you've forgotten, check out this page at allaboutlinguistics!
https://sites.google.com/a/sheffield.ac.uk/all-about-linguistics/branches/phonology/how-is-phonology-studied The Prague School The Prague School was established in 1926 then went on to become one of the most influential schools of linguistics of its time.
They placed the phoneme in the center of their linguistic theory. Two famous members of the Prague School and their work Nikolai Trubetzkoy Roman Jakobson (1890-1938)
Defined the phoneme
Crucial in establishing phonology as different from phonetics (1896-1982)
Development of the structural analysis of language='structuralism'
Developed the discipline of phonology Generative Phonology Came into being in 1968 when Noam Chomsky and Morris Hall published "The Sound Patterns of English", which describes how phonemes have two forms: the UR (underlying form) and the SR (surface form), which is the actual pronunciation.
This was hugely influential in phonology!
Generative grammar continues to be a major player in phonology today. The syntactic component of a grammar must specify, for each sentence, a deep structure that determines its semantic interpretation and a surface structure that determines its phonetic interpretation. 1969 David Stampe wrote his dissertation on Natural Phonology.
He contests the idea that the phonological system is built on a system of rules and instead says that phonological acquisition is a matter of suppressing habits we are born with.
E.g Simplifying a cluster of consonants to make it easier to pronounce. 1980 Today Government phonology is still widely acknowledged in the UK, whereas Optimality Theory has a wide following in North America.
Government Phonology aimed to provide an account for phonological phenomena by replacing the rule component of phonology with a restricted set of universal principles and parameters, making a break with classical generative approaches.
Optimality Theory 1991 Proposed by Alan Prince and Paul Smolensky in opposition to accounts like classic Generative Phonology where forms were derived by ordered processes.
It is a constraint based theory of phonology sharing the view with generative phonology that every phonological structure has an input (UR) and an output (SR), but proposes that these structures are acted on by constraints, such as syllables must have vowels as nuclei.
In short, a set of candidates for the output are thought to be sent through processes which select the output that optimally satisfies the constraints which are ranked in terms of preference in certain contexts. Every language has its own ranking system. If you are interested in learning more about Verner's Law, type in "Verner's Law Part 1 JimMonsanto" to youtube to find the first of an interesting series of videos!
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