A language could contrast more than t w o degrees of length. But this is not always sufficient. Introduction to Phonology To study phonetics is, partly, to learn to penetrate beyond that fiction to the chaotic wealth of slightly different sounds that we actually use. Mt Gravatt Phonologu Library.

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Feb 6, - though certainly deserving praise, is perhaps a little involuntary, inasmuch as the Harlow, Essex: Longman. ISBN X. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 22, pp doi This intention is reflected in the contents of the book: there is one chapter devoted to articulatory phonetics and four further chapters introducing elementary phonology, while the remainder of the handbook deals with more difficult matters.

Four chapters guide the reader through some of the more advanced problems of classical theory; and the last three are entirely devoted to recent developments, including autosegmental, metrical and lexical phonology. The author boldly includes in his account a number of currently disputed subjects. The book is eclectic in the complimentary sense of the word: there is no tenacious adherence to any narrowly conceived theoretical position.

This impartiality, though certainly deserving praise, is perhaps a little involuntary, inasmuch as the author himself emphasizes his "exclusive concentration on generative phonology" p. It seems that Katamba has managed to be catholic beyond his intentions.

If we consider the merits of the book - its scope and its open-minded treatment of phonology - it becomes all the more regrettable that the text is riddled with annoying mistakes. There is hardly a page without at least one of them. Some mistakes are of a type that suggests sloppy proof-reading as the most likely source; indeed, the degree of sloppiness that must have been involved is quite amazing, given the ambitions of the book and the respectability of Longman.

In some places the concentration of misprints renders the argument very difficult to follow. On page 90, for example, a task assigned to the student is made virtually hopeless by an erroneous substitution of [p] for [rj] - trifling as such a mistake might seem.

Throughout the book, phonetic symbols are particularly prone to this type of affliction. No fewer than seven obvious errors can be found even in the IPA charts pp. Problems caused by carelessness have a devastating effect on the contents of Chapter 10 Multitiered phonology , where the accumulation of errors will probably deter even the most determined readers from laboring their way through the discussion of tone languages — an area which is difficult enough even in a presentation unblemished by mistakes.

One might expect the author, at least, to be a good disciple of his own teaching; yet in that very list he uses a way of marking primary stress radically different from the one recommended by himself a sentence earlier.

There are many transcription errors elsewhere in the book, both in English examples [aetmDsfra] rather than [aetmasfra], page and in words taken from other languages [mama] rather than [mama] for French maman, page In violation of another of his hints, he apparently confuses spelling with pronunciation in his discussion of assimilation, where he suggests that words like illegal or irrational are actually pronounced with a double liquid pp.

The author occasionally uses well-established phonetic terms in a markedly idiosyncratic way, without acknowledging the fact. It is surprising how often he uses farfetched and doubtful material where simpler, more familiar and more pertinent examples would be easy to collect.

It is simply not true to say that "you would not be able to tell whether [a sound] was a labial like [p], or a velar like [g], since the acoustically defined phonological property GRAVE could be correlated with either labial or velar articulation. The discussion of vowel nasalization in French, allegedly demonstrating the importance of syllable-structure constraints p.

Since the environment for nasalization is erroneously assumed to be syllable-final, the rule at least in the form presented by Katamba has little to do with the presence or absence of a syllable boundary. Exercises are also of primary importance in a handbook. The very next exercise invites the student to "follow the example given in i.

The answer to the same exercise contains another serious mistake. In other places the reader is encouraged to perform articulatory experiments which even an experienced phonetician would be hard put to it to carry out. On page 9 the experiment in question involves the observation, in a mirror, of "the position of the highest point of your tongue" while saying seek and pool.

On page 67 something like superhuman self-awareness and precision is required of the reader: " Identify the exact points of contact between the tongue and the roof of the mouth when you say each one of the words which you have chosen.

On page a method of assessing the degree of stress on the basis of a metrical tree is proposed - the method does not work even for the example discussed by Katamba: it would make the stress on the penultimate syllable of sensitivity stronger than the stress on the initial syllable. The only other type of process that is mentioned at all is dissimilation. In our opinion processes such as elision, epenthesis, metathesis, lenition, vocalization, lengthening and shortening to name only the most important few would fully merit at least a passing mention.

It would be unfair to say that the whole of the book suffers from the same proportion of deficiencies. One particularly pleasant exception is Chapter 8 The abstractness of underlying representations , which is at the same time readable, competent and wellargued. The book is certainly usable in teaching practice - on the condition that the students work under the supervision of someone who will warn them against the errors and re-edit the examples to be used.

The value of the book would greatly increase if the ballast of innumerable minor mistakes were removed from the text. It is a shame that this was not done before the first edition went to press. Suggest Documents.


Francis Katamba, An Introduction to Phonology

Grotilar However, no linguist, has yet discovered a community that has a language in which noises produced by any one of these mechanisms yo used to form words. At first sight, these two sounds appear to be in comp- lementary distribution, with [h] occurring syllable initially followed by a vowel as in hat and ahead and [n] occurring in consonant clusters and syllable finally as in longer and long. In the discussion of phonological symmetry in Chapter 2, we noted that languages tend to exploit the same phonetic parameters in building their phonological systems and that there inttoduction certain patterns that recur frequently. Do introruction of the alphabet shade into each other as colours do or do they differ discretely like chemical elements? An Introduction to Phonology by Francis Katamba It is interesting that across w o r d boundaries, in fast speech, consonants especially alveolar onescan be option- ally homorganic with the following consonant.


Introduction to Phonology


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