SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Jensen, Sean (1994) Is ʔ an Element? Towards a Non-segmental Phonology. In "SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics and Phonetics". Vol 4, pp 71-78.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (53kB) | Preview


This paper argues that the element calculus of Government Phonology is overburdened. In particular it shows that the simple act of supposing extra elements to explain consonantal phenomena leads to far reaching and undesirable empirical consequences. An alternative approach is proposed which leaves the elemental inventory containing only those elements attested in both nuclei and non-nuclei. The phonetic impression of consonantism is attributed to the direct interpretation of supra-skeletal structure. Some typical textbook problems involving consonant ‘mutations’ are explored in light of this simple shift of perspective, with attractive solutions. The metatheoretical benefits of this approach are highlighted and particular areas of existing supra-skeletal theory are singled out as likely to require ‘tweaking’.

Item Type: Monographs and Working Papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: phonology, elements, glottal, consonants, Government Phonology, lenition, fortition
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of Linguistics
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2011 09:37

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item