Is Phonology Irrelevant? How and Why Frequency Can be Modelled in Phonology

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This paper takes as its starting point the observation that phonological theory seems to be largely irrelevant to the concerns of a number of related fields. It is argued here that this is because phonology has been construed as a theory of the regular, as opposed to a theory of the frequent. It is hypothesized that frequent forms are also worthy of and appropriate for grammatical description. Accordingly, the most frequent stress patterns from an online dictionary and several texts are collected and analysed. It is shown that the most frequent patterns exhibit consistent regularities and are readily treated in terms of current phonological theory. This provides an existence proof that the most frequent forms are describable in grammatical terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalLiterary and Linguistic Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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