This book provides an overview of phonological typology: the study of how sounds are distributed across the languages of the world and why they display these distributions and patterns. It examines major phonological phenomena such as phoneme inventories, syllable structure, phonological alternations, stress, tone, intonation, and prosodic morphology, and investigates issues including how common certain types of sounds are cross-linguistically and why; how many
languages differentiate questions and statements using intonation; which areas of the world tend to be associated with more complex tone distinctions; and the relationship between cross-linguistic and language-internal frequency.
Data are drawn from existing typologies, from the results of a survey of various phonological patterns in the 100-language sample from the World Atlas of Language Structures, and from corpora of individual languages. Matthew Gordon analyses these data and explores the correlations between different - often superficially unrelated - phonological properties to gain insight into the driving forces behind these phenomena. He provides an overview of synchronic and diachronic explanations for the
patterns observed and discusses how formal phonological theory has attempted to model the typological data. One of relatively few typological works devoted to phonology, this book will be a valuable resource for phonologists and phoneticians from advanced undergraduate level upwards, as well all those
with an interest in language typology.
Matthew K. Gordon is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on phonological theory, typology, and the phonetic and phonological documentation of endangered languages. Much of his work deals with prosodic properties such as stress, syllable weight, and intonation. He is the author of Syllable Weight: Phonetics, Phonology, Typology (Routledge, 2006) and co-editor of Topic and Focus: Cross-linguistic Perspectives on Intonation and Meaning (Springer, 2007).
1. Introduction ; 2. Theory and explanation in phonological typology ; 3. Phoneme inventories ; 4. Syllables ; 5. Segmental processes ; 6. Stress ; 7. Tone and intonation ; 8. Prosodic morphology ; 9. Conclusions