Vowel Shifts and the Phonology Phonetics Interface

Josef Fruehwald (2010)


I will be arguing from data on vowel shifts in progress, and from principles of language change, that language specific phonetic implementation rules must be part of speaker knowledge, and thus part of language acquisition. Then, I will sketch an abstract model of what phonetic implementation could be like. Having argued these points, I will address how this approach interacts with phonological theory. Specifically, I have four assertions to make:

  1. The relationship between phonological representation and phonetic realization is non-arbitrary.
  2. Yet, a theoretically reasonable phonological representation cannot uniquely determine a phonetic realization in every language, dialect, or generation.
  3. Therefore, processes of phonetic implementation are also targets of acquisition.
  4. This effectively leaves the features of phonology devoid of any reference to phonetic substance.

Presented at NAPhC 6

Handout [PDF]

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