CUNY Phonology Forum || 714 || Index.php


LAST UPDATED September 17.

Here is a link to a page that is intended to make sure everybody knows where we're at and what we're supposed to be doing at this point in the course; we are one week out of kilter with the course schedule posted on the web. I will update this page from time to time as it becomes needed throughout the course. I will also call your attention to any changes I make in preexisting documents in the site.

It's called "GETTING ORGANIZED1" Click here for the PDF version, and here for the Word version.

I have also posted some thoughts on Tamil, containing ideas you might want to consider for a reaction piece and/or term paper. Click here for pdf, or here for Word.

Finally, visit the new pages on Cua, also suggesting some writing projects. Here for html, here for pdf, here for Word.


LAST UPDATED September 17, 11:15am.

Here is where I will tell you of new documents that I have uploaded. If I upload only one or two documents, I'll put the links directly on this page. But I uploaded several PDF files today, so I give you a link to a page which has in turn a descriptive list of links to the articles I just uploaded. One is about Tamil, and the others are phoneme inventories of Mon Khmer languages, as described in those phamphlets that I told you about. You will find all this relevant if you choose any of the writing topics mentioned in the "Getting Organized" file.

It's called "NEW UPLOADS1" For the htm format (best for linking), click here; for the PDF format, click here; for the Word version, click here.

Welcome to Phonology 2, or Ling 714, at CUNY, Fall 2006!

Course Description PDF Word
Course Schedule PDF Word

Students should keep in touch with this website, which will be undergoing development in the course of this semester. A good starting point is the Introduction page, which has been recently rewritten.

The links to the papers that are on the web for the course are embedded in the descriptive material below.

Feature Theory

NEWER!! NEWER!! I have posted a proposal for a term paper about Tamil consonants. Click here for the PDF version, and here for the Word version. The Cua consonants also suggest a possible term paper project, although I don't have any personal musings to share yet. END OF NEWER MATERIAL.

NEW!! NEW!! I have added two pages to the site for this course. One is an exercise about Tamil, and the other is about Cua.

Tamil in PDF, click here; in Word, click here.

Cua in PDF, click here; in Word, click here. I have also scanned and uploaded an old article about Cua, available here. END OF NEW MATERIAL.

Feature theory is part of the general theory of phonology; in particular, it is part of a theory of representations of phonological objects. The reading material mentioned here describes a set of related approaches to this theory. It will be useful to keep the following questions in mind while reading this material.

1. A basic question that should be addressed before tackling these articles is: "Why do we have feature theory in the first place?" Why can't phonological theory simply represent phonemes in terms of discreet, indivisible units, not broken down into features? Also, what's accomplished by representing features in terms of hierarchical feature trees, as opposed to unorganized bundles of features?

2. What are the goals of feature theory? (Of course, to answer this, students should achieve clarity on what counts as "goals.") Do the various authors agree with what you have read previously about the goals of feature theory? Do they agree with each other? If not, are their goals complementary, conflicting, or overlapping?

3. How do the authors go about achieving their goals? Do Dresher's and Clements' methods differ? How well do these authors' methods agree with the methods of previous authors you have read? Again, are these methods complementary, conflicting, or overlapping?

4. Do these authors generally adopt similar or conflicting assumptions about the goals, methods and overall "philosophy" of phonological theory?

5. How do these articles compare with other major trends in the literature in terms of goals, methods, and overall philosophy?

Students will need to access literature beyond what's mentioned on this website and what they have read in previoius courses to answer some of these questions. Developing the necessary bibliographic leads is an important part of the learning process in this course.

Now, on to the articles --

Clements? "The Role of Features in Phonological Inventories," the Vaux and Idsardi papers (about the syllable and stress, respectively -- to be posted later), plus the shorter discussants for each paper, are part of a book to be published by MIT Press, tentatively entitled "Contemporary Views on Architecture and Representations in Phonological Theory," edited by Eric Raimy and me (Chuck). These papers are formatted in the style desired by MIT Press -- the main feature of this is that the illustrations are in a separate file from the main body of the paper. I hope you don't find this too annoying. The title page also contains a lot more information than you need; for example, please do not telephone the authors! Each paper is in both Word and pdf format.

I recommend that as background you review the features chapter in Kenstowicz. Also, if you have not already read Clements and Hume 1995 in Phono 1, I suggest that as further background. (Clements, G. N. and Elizabeth V. Hume 1995 "Internal organization of speech sounds," in The Handbook of Phonological Theory, Ed. John Goldsmith. Blackwell.)

  • Clements "The Role of Features in Phonological Inventories" PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word
    • Tables for the above PDF | Word
  • Calabrese's comments: "Variations on a Theme by Clements" PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word
    • Bibliography for the above PDF | Word
  • Halle's comments: (as yet untitled) PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word
  • Vaux's comments: (untitled) PDF | Word
    • Bibliography for above PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for above PDF | Word

The most efficient reading plan would probably be to read the Vaux contribution immediately after reading Clements' main chapter, before reading the Calabrese and Halle commentaries. (I'm referring here to Vaux's commentary on Clements' paper, not to his yet-to-be-posted article on the syllable.)

The CUNY Phonology Forum held a workshop on feature theory in the Spring of 2004. Nick Clements and Elan Dresher were the two presenters. The papers for that are not quite in finished form, but there's plenty of value in what we do have. I have also posted some background papers. All the papers above and below, coupled with the bibliographies, gives you plenty to work with on feature theory.

Clements' "Design Features of Vowel Systems: The Role of Feature Economy" is only in powerpoint format; I hope that's not a problem for any of you. Click here.

The handout for Dresher's paper is here (in pdf format only).

Go to the papers page of the CUNY Phonology Forum website for two more very interesting papers that give insight into Dresher's approach to feature theory: Mackenzie and Dresher, and Dresher and Xhang. You might also want to explore his website, which has links to some valuable downloadable papers: . Be sure to explore his page on "Markedness and the Contrastive Hierarchy in Phonology."

Syllable Theory

I have added "The Appendix," by Bert Vaux and Andrew Wolf, which is their contribution to the MIT volume concerning the syllable. There are three commentaries on their chapter, one by me (Chuck Cairns), another by Nick Clements, and the last by Eric Raimy; these are all posted and you can access them through the links below.

  • Vaux and Wolf "The Appendix" PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word
  • Cairns' comments: "Phonological Representations and the Vaux - Wolf Proposal" PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word
    • TABLE for the above PDF | Word
  • Clements' comments: "Does Sonority have a Phonetic Basis?" PDF
  • Raimy' comments: "A case of Appendicitis" PDF | Word
    • Illustrations for the above PDF | Word

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