Josef Fruehwald (forthcoming)
As pointed out by Coetzee (2009), the study of what is still often called “free variation” (but not by those who study it) has followed a largely parallel history to the development of Generative Phonology following SPE. Weinreich et al. (1968) stands as the programmatic document for the subfield of Variationism, and was published the same year as SPE. Since that time, variation theory has continued to develop, and some aspects of it have become partially incorporated into mainstream phonological theory. This chapter will outline the development of variation theory, how it touches on current topics in phonology, and the direction that variation theory seems to be moving into the future.
Published To appear in the Oxford Handbook of the History of Phonology