UBC Theses and Dissertations
Tlingit phonology in a generative framework : an examination of phonological processes and abstract representation De Wolf, Gaelan
The Saussurean Paradox described by Labov (1971), in which "the social aspect of language can be studied by the theorist asking himself questions, while the individual aspect can only be studied by a social survey", apparently mirrors a predicament occurring in the structuralist and generative models of linguistics. For, while descriptive and structuralist linguistic models seek to mirror the reality of particular languages, a generative model of linguistics, in a search for universals, attempts to discover the underlying reality of all languages. Since an accepted raison d'etre of the current model of linguistic science is to provide an explanatory basis for real language, it seems self-evident that both kinds of theories of language models are necessary: the inductive decision procedures of the reality-based structuralism, and the deductive discovery hypotheses of the mentalistic generative phonology. In the following Chapters, we shall attempt to explain the phonology of a particular language, which has been previously achieved through decision procedures, while investigating the natural and universal processes which have been hypothesized to occur. Although we expect to make no decisions, or even discoveries, we hope to examine the fit of the phonology of a transformational generative model to a particular language. And, while testing the model, we hope to explicate the phonology of a particular North American Indian language, Tlingit.
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