The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Special Phonology Circle *FRI* 10/24 10am: Larry Hyman

On Friday, we will have a special additional session of Phonology Circle, with a talk by Larry Hyman (UC Berkeley). (Please note special time and place!)

Title: Situating Phonologization: The role of Contrast
Time: Friday Oct 24, 10am-12pm, 26-142

In this talk I have three goals: (i) to define and delimit the notion of "phonologization"; (ii) to determine how phonologization fits into the bigger picture; (iii) to discuss a few examples of (continued) interest to me, e.g. the effects of voiced obstruents ("depressor consonants") on pitch; vowel harmony; word- and utterance demarcation. I begin by considering the original definition of phonologization ("A universal phonetic tendency is said to become 'phonologized' when language-specific reference must be made to it, as in a phonological rule." (Hyman 1972:170)), a concept which can be traced back at least as far as Baudouin de Courtenay (1895 [1972:184]). Particular attention is paid to the role of contrast in the phonologization process. After presenting canonical examples of phonologization (particularly transphonologizations, whereby a contrast is shifted or transformed but maintained), I suggest that the term "phonologization" needs to be extended to cover other ways that phonological structure either changes or comes into being. Throughout the talk emphasis is on what Hopper (1987:148) identifies as "movements towards structure": the emergence of grammar (grammaticalization) and its subsequent transformations (regrammaticalization, degrammaticalization). After showing that phonologization has important parallels to well-known aspects of "grammaticalization" (Hyman 1984), I conclude that phonologization is but one aspect of the larger issue of how (phonetic, semantic, pragmatic) substance becomes linguistically codified into form.