Re: Syllabemes, and Underspecification
|From:||And Rosta <a-rosta@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, May 21, 2002, 19:42|
> Tom Wier:
> >> Quoting And Rosta <a-rosta@...>:
> >> > The Livagian script has one character per 'syllabeme' (approximately
> >> > = syllable), plus further characters representing sequences of more
> >> > than one syllabeme, which serve to increase written brevity and to
> >> > exploit the greater ability of scripts (compared to phonology) to
> >> > sustain contrasts. The syllabeme is the minimal combinatorially
> >> > unrestricted unit of Livagian phonology. The Livagian script
> >> > contains thousands of characters, though, so is motivated more
> >> > by principle than by practical considerations.
> >> So, is a "syllabeme" something like syllabification already
> >> present in underlying representation?
> >So on the whole I'd say you guessed right.
> If you're interested in issues like this, I suggest finding a
> copy (probably from your local university or from the Rutgers
> Optimality Archive) of Sharon Inkelas's article "The Consequences
> for Optimization of Underspecification". Therein she discusses
> the question of whether prosodic structure should be specified
> at the level of UR.
Thanks. As you may have noticed from my postings to the list over the
years, I am interested in phonology. But in my conlanging I make a
very strict distinction between the description that defines the
language (that defines what is and isn't well-formed -- the 'facts'
of the language) and description/analysis that is insightful/
'explanatory'. Since there are many possible analyses that are
consistent with the facts, I tend to avoid venturing analyses.
An example of this is that I insist on defining elaborate but
finite morphological paradigms by listing alone, even though the
analyst could quickly come up with a set of rules to generate
all the forms, and even though in inventing the forms I start
by inventing the rules.
Partly my practise is an attempt to be rigorous about the distinction
between inventing/defining a language, which is what conlangers do,
and describing a language, which is what linguisticians do. I fully
recognize that these two are easily conflatable, though.