A basic introduction to what I work on :



I do linguistics , which is standardly (albeit vaguely) defined as "the scientific study of language." Linguistics is commonly broken down into the following core sub-fields:


  Confused about the phonetics/phonology distinction? Me too. I find this traditional distinction to be arbitrary and unhelpful; I argue for a unified approach in my dissertation and other research .



What do I mean by "sound patterns"?


Every language has rules about (a) what speech sounds occur in that language, and (b) how those sounds can be sequenced to form words and phrases.



A theory of sound patterns:


Despite the sorts of differences noted above, linguists have discovered numerous generalizations about phonological systems, through comparison across languages. For example:



In addition, language sound patterns reflect many strong tendencies.  For example, languages commonly forbid long vowels in syllables which are closed by a consonant, or forbid distinctly oral (i.e. non-nasalized) vowels before a nasal consonant, though there are exceptions to both generalizations.


It is the basic task of phonological theory to:


The theory is further responsible for, inter alia:




Where do these phonological principles come from?  Why do languages have sound-pattern rules at all?




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