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Evolutionary Phonology - Essay Example

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Phonology is essentially the examination of sound patterns of languages and in every language, sound patterns will inherently characterise composition of words and phrases. These sound patterns will encompass contrasts in expression, distribution of features and variable…
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Evolutionary Phonology
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Evolutionary Phonology

s new ground in addressing the interrelationship between classic linguistic theory, phonetics and phonological theory to propose a new model of sound patterns, which moves away from some of the assumptions of the previous synchronistic approach. In doing so Blevins’ evolutionary model undertakes a detailed examination of variations in sound patterns and sound changes over a period of 7,000 to 8,000 years and uses this time period to address the similarities between genetically unrelated languages (Blevins 1).
“One of multiple mechanisms leading to regular sound change and regular sound patterns. Within evolutionary phonology, as in traditional neogrammarian models, variability along the hyper-to-hypoarticulation continuum provides the exemplar space from which new phonological representations can emerge” (Sole et al, 151).
The focus of this paper is to critically evaluate Blevins’ model of evolutionary phonology and it is submitted at the outset that the defining element of Blevins’ model for phonetics is that she seeks to explain the similarities and developments in sound patterns as opposed to accepting pre-existing assumptions in synchronic linguistic theory pertaining to phonetics and final voicing in particular.
Moreover, Blevins undertakes both a quantitative and qualitative approach to her research in order to formulate further research questions regarding the current predominance of a synchronistic model for addressing recurring sound patterns. To this end, Blevins utilises the quantitative approach as a precursor to the qualitative research in order to support her findings in proposing an evolutionary phonology paradigm.
Nevertheless, whilst it is submitted that the evolutionary phonology model undoubtedly breaks new ground in addressing causality in recurrent sound patterns from a historicist perspective; Blevins’ work clearly underlines the need to undertake further research in this area. Accordingly, in evaluating Blevins’ ... Read More
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