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Sound Change Software

From:Edward Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Thursday, March 18, 1999, 17:05
I was interested in trying some computer-aided word derivations using
the extremely simple Chana Philology article I posted some time ago.  I
had used LangMaker, which is very easy to use and powerful within its
limitations...but it has serious limitations.

I found something way cool called PHONO.

The only trouble with it (and it's not a trouble with the software, but
with my knowledge), is....

I'm familiar with how to classify sounds according to articulatory
position.  Ask me for a velar approximant and by God I'll give you a
velar approximant.  But I had not encountered the classifications they
used in this program.  Coronal?  What?

Turns out that just shows how little linguistics I know.  PHONO uses the
"Distinctive Features" theory of phonology from Chomsky & Halle's _The
Sound Pattern of English_, which is itself a mutation of a distinctive
features theory by Jakobson.

While SPE-style linear phonology has, I understand, been superseded in
some ways by autosegmental phonology, phonetic geometry theory, and
Optimality theory (which is really revolutionary), SPE-style distinctive
features is still a pretty good way to codify the basics.

Anyway, I'm gonna have to try it again now that I know what it's all
about, and I recommend it.


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