Atomic Phonology



I.  Introduction

The Atomic Phonology (AP) School deposits that an atomic rule is a universal rule of grammar that incorporates the most restrictive conditions for the rule type in any language. An atomic rule specifies all the necessary conditions from which variants of the rule can be predicted. Its essential claim toward the full set of necessary phonological rules is as follows:

1.   A relatively small finite set of rules (atomic rules) is highly restrictive and innately available.
2.   Universal principles govern variation in the form of those rules.
II. Examples of Atomic Rules

1.   Basic Word-final Devoicing (WFD) Rule: This rule occurs in many languages, e.g., German, Polish, and Russian.

[-sonorant] → [voice] /___# (All obstruents are voiceless word-finally.)

2.  Variant (Restricted rule): This rule occurs in languages like Ferrarese Italian, Turkish, and certain Greek dialects.

[-sonorant, -continuant] → [voice] /___#(All obstruent stops are voiceless word-finally.)

III.  Evaluation

  The Atomic Phonology represents one particular approach to the  characterization of what a possible rule of grammar is.
IV.  Related Links

1. Atomic Phonology and Phonological Variation.  By William D. Keel. (Out of Print)

2.〈Russian Voicing Assimilation, Final Devoicing, and the problem of [v]〉(or, The Mouse that Spueaked〉By Jaye Padget

3.〈Morphologization in Turkish: Implications for phonology in Grammaticalizaition〉 By René Schiering

V.  References

1. Asher. 1994. The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics

2.  Dinnsen, Daniel. A. 1979. Atomic phonology. In: Dinnsen D. A. (ed.) Current Approaches to Phonological Theory. Bloomington, IN: Indianan UP. 

3.〈How to Explain Natural classes without universal distinctive feature〉By Jeff Michelke

4. 〈Generative Phonology: Its Origins, its Principles, and its successors〉By John Goldsmith

5.〈Declarative Lexical Phonology〉By John Colema

6. 〈At the Juncture of Prosody, Phonology, and Phonetics-The interaction of Phrasal and 〈Syallable Structure in Shaping the timing of consonant gesture〉by Dani Byrd

7.〈Lexical Phonology〉

The syntactic (constituent structure) rules of the surface grammar. These are usually context free, or no more than mildly context sensitive, and the nodes are usually labelled with feature-structures, rather than atomic symbols.

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Last Updated 06/12/08