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Linguistic Typology

Founded by Plank, Frans

Editor-in-Chief: Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria

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CiteScore 2017: 0.45

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Volume 11, Issue 1


Where's phonology in typology?

Larry M Hyman
Published Online: 2007-07-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.021


As is well known, phonological typology was a central concern to many structuralists (Trubetzkoy 1939, Jakobson 1968, Hockett 1955) and also figured centrally in many treatments of typology in general, e.g., Greenberg (1957, 1978). On the other hand, there has been a tendency for subsequent discussions and textbooks on linguistic typology to underrepresent and even ignore phonology, e.g., Whaley (1997). This is unfortunate not only because phonological typology is of importance in itself, but also because the approach of phonologists to typology might serve as a model for others to emulate. The main points I would like to make in this brief note are the following:

(i) Phonological typology involves the comparative study of linguistic systems – i.e., paradigmatic and syntagmatic properties of inputs, outputs, and their relations. While phonological typology and phonetic typology are sometimes not distinguished, a surface inventory is not a system in the sense intended here.

(ii) There is no clear division between phonological typology and phonological theory. Given their shared concern with the nature of phonological systems, one can't do insightful typology without addressing the same analytical issues that confront phonological theory. Throughout the history of phonology, the two have been inseparable both in principle and in practice.

About the article

*Correspondence address:Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-2650, U.S.A.

Received: 2005-12-17

Revised: 2006-12-20

Published Online: 2007-07-31

Published in Print: 2007-07-20

Citation Information: Linguistic Typology, Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 265–271, ISSN (Online) 1613-415X, ISSN (Print) 1430-0532, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.021.

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