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28. The Representation of Fricatives

Bert Vaux and Brett Miller

Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Phonology

Key-Topics formal grammars

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184236.2011.00030.x


The phonetic properties of fricatives have recently received a great deal of attention ( Shadle 1985 ; Ladefoged and Maddieson 1996 : ch. 5; Johnson 1997 : ch. 6; Stevens 1998 : ch. 8; Maniwa et al. 2009 ; Ramsay 2009 ; among others). The phonological properties of this class of sounds, on the other hand, have, with a few notable exceptions, remained largely undisputed since the publication of Chomsky and Halle (1968) , which itself essentially carries on the featural analysis of fricatives in Trubetzkoy (1939) and Jakobson et al. (1952) . In this analysis, the class of fricatives is characterized by the distinctive features [−sonorant, +continuant]. Once one scratches the surface of the subject, though, a number of challenging questions appear: (1) a. Do fricatives actually behave as a distinct phonological class? b. Are all fricatives [−sonorant]? c. Are all fricatives [+consonantal]? d. Are all or any fricatives [+spread glottis] (or its equivalent)? This chapter addresses these and other challenges by synthesizing what we have learned from traditional and contemporary descriptive and theoretical studies involving fricatives, with an eye towards determining what properties (if any) consistently characterize this phonological class and why. We shall see that the exact membership and feature characterization of the fricative class depends on how one defines ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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