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Syllabus Phonological typology - 41842
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Last update 28-10-2018
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: Linguistics

Semester: 1st Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Ethan Grossman

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Thursday 10:30

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Ethan Grossman

Course/Module description:
Languages differ. Typology asks to what extent and why. Are there limits to cross-linguistic variation? Are there recurring patterns across languages, or universal properties? What are the causal factors implicated in the distribution of linguistic properties across time and space?
A major question in linguistic typology is the relative contributions to cross-linguistic similarity (or difference) of shared inheritance, on the one hand, and language contact-induced factors, on the other.
In this course, we explore these questions through the lens of phonological typology, the study of diversity and universals in sound systems.

Course/Module aims:
To get a hands-on understanding of contemporary typology, via readings and a collaborative project on phonological typology.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
• Use existing databases to investigate typological distributions
• Construct a small typological database
• Locate relevant descriptive data
• Read and analyze phonological descriptions
• Draw inferences about the causes of distributions in the database
• Relate typological findings to existing phonological theories

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Classroom discussion, student presentations

Course/Module Content:
1. Overview: what is phonological typology?
2. Structuralist approaches: Hockett, Martinet, Trubetskoy, Jakobson
3. Greenbergian approaches
4. Vowel inventories
5. Consonant inventories
6. Phonotactics and alternations
7. Distinctive features
8. Accent and tone
9. Design features: structure preservation? duality of patterning
10. Areal typology
11. Diachronic typology
12. Extralinguistic determinants of sound patterns: population size and distance from Africa
13. Extralinguistic determinants of sound patterns: topography and climate
14. Concluding discussion

Required Reading:
Gordon, Matthew. 2016. Phonological typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Maddieson, Ian. 1984. Patterns of sounds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Additional Reading Material:
Bateman, Nicoleta. 2007. A crosslinguistic investigation of palatalization. PhD dissertation, Department of Linguistics, University of California, San Diego. Available at the Open Access Digital Library, Language Description Heritage collection.
Bateman, Nicoleta. 2011. On the Typology of Palatalization. Language and Linguistics Compass, 5: 588-602.
Blevins, Juliette, 2008. Evolutionary Phonology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Bybee, Joan. 2001. Phonology and Language Use. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
--- 2008. ‘Formal Universals as Emergent Phenomena: The Origins of Structure Preservation,’ in: Jeff Good (ed.) 2008: 108-121.
Evans, Nicholas and Stephen Levinson, 2009. ‘The Myth of Language Universals: Language Diversity and its Importance for Cognitive Science,’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26: 429-492.
Ferguson, Charles A., 1968. ‘Assumptions about Nasals: A Sample Study in Phonological Universals,’ in: Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.) 1968: 53-60.
Good, Jeff (ed.), 2008. Linguistics Universals and Language Change. Oxford: Oxford University.
Gordon, Matthew. 2016. Phonological typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Greenberg, Joseph H., 1962. ‘Is the vowel-consonant dichotomy universal?’ Word 18: 73-81.
--- 1966. ‘Synchronic and diachronic universals in phonology,’ Language 42/2: 508–17.
--- 1968. Universals of Language, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA & London, UK: The MIT Press.
--- 1978. Universals of Human Language. Volume 2: Phonology. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. [Contains articles on many aspects of phonological typology.]
Hansson, Gunnary. 2008. Diachronic Explanations of Sound Patterns. Language and Linguistics Compass 2(5):859–893.
Halle, Morris, 1970. ‘Is Kabardian a vowel-less language?’ Foundations of Language 6: 95-103.
Haspelmath, Martin, Matthew Dryer, David Gil, and Bernard Comrie (eds.), 2005. World Atlas of Language Structures. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Updated version available online at Especially relevant are Features 1-19.
Hockett, Charles F., 1955. A Manual of Phonology. Baltimore: Waverly Press.
--- 1968. ‘The Problem of Universals in Language,’ in Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.) 1968: 1-29, esp. pp. 24-28.
Hyman, Larry. 2007. ‘Where’s Phonology in Typology?’ Linguistic Typology 11:265-271.
--- 2008. ‘Universals in Phonology.’ The Linguistic Review 25: 83-137.
--- 2010. ‘Affixation by place of articulation in Tiene,’ in: Michael Cysouw and Jan Wohlgemuth (eds)., Rara & Rarissima. Collecting and Interpreting Unusual Characteristics of Human Languages. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 145-184.
--- 2011. ‘Are there really no syllables in Gokama, or: What’s so great about being universal?’ Phonology 28: 55-85.
--- 2009. ‘How (not) to do phonological typology: The Case of Pitch Accent.’ Language Sciences 31:213-238.
--- forthcoming. Do All Languages Have Word Accent?
Jakobson, Roman, 1941. Child Language, Aphasia and Phonological Universals, The Hague: Mouton.
Kiparsky, Paul, 2006. ‘Amphichronic linguistics vs. Evolutionary Phonology.’ Theoretical Linguistics, 32: 217-236.
--- 2008. ‘Universals Constrain Change; Change Results in Typological Generalizations,’ in: Jeff Good (ed.) 2008: 23-53.
Ladefoged, Peter and Ian Maddieson, 1996. The Sounds of the World’s Languages. Oxford, UK & Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
Lass, Roger, 1984. ‘Phonological Systems,’ in: Phonology: An Introduction to Basic Concepts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 125-168.
Lindblom, Björn and Ian Maddieson, 1988. ‘Phonetic Universals in Consonant Systems,’ in: Larry M. Hyman and Charles N. Li (eds.), Language, Speech and Mind: Studies in Honor of Victoria A. Fromkin. London: Routledge. 62-78.
Maddieson, Ian. 1984. Patterns of sounds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Maddieson, Ian, 2011. ‘Typology of Phonological Systems,’ in: Jae Jung Song (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 534-548.
Mielke, Jeff, 2008. The Emergence of Distinctive Features. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Nartey, Jonas N.A., 1979. A Study in Phonemic Universals, especially concerning Fricatives and Stops. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 46.
Saporta, Sol, 1968. ‘Phoneme Distribution and Language Universals,’ in: Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.) 1968: 61-72.
Telfer, Corey S. 2006. Coronalization as Assibilation. Calgary: University of Calgary doctoral. dissertation.
Trubetzkoy, Nikolai S., Principles of Phonology (trans. Christiane A.M. Baltaxe). Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 20 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 40 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 40 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.