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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 26, 2008

About NSM: A general reply

  • Uwe Durst
From the journal


1. Is NSM ‘scientific’?

The absence of technical terms and formal devices in NSM explications seems to invite some critics to dispute the scientific nature of the theory. In one example, Riemer2 states that “[the] commitment to naturalness seems contradictory because in other areas of investigation, the development of a ‘scientific’ (i.e. empirical and testable) theory necessitates the very type of technical, artificial vocabulary which NSM explicitly repudiates”. To support this criticism, Riemer refers to evolutionary theory and generative phonology. But evolutionary theory is about the development of natural species, and generative phonology investigates (the rules of) phonological representations on the basis of phonological features. Both disciplines can rely on physical data, and hypotheses can be tested on this physical basis. Even abstract phonological features such as [±vocalic] or [±grave] can be described in physical terms.

Published Online: 2008-02-26
Published in Print: 2004-05-25

© Walter de Gruyter

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