Syntagmatic Structures. Distribution and Probability
Any one of the minimal units set up by means of the segmentation and the phonemic analysis described in the preceding chapters gets its linguistic value through its relations to the other units of the paradigm. Its amount of information is to a large extent determined thereby. The richer the system, the greater the amount of information of any of its units, and vice versa. But as a member of a given chain of expression units, i.e. in a syntagm, it necessarily also has given relations to any other units within the chain. These are the syntagmatic relations to which this chapter will be devoted. We shall soon see, by means of a few examples, that even the structure of the syntagm, and, more generally, of the complex expression units (syllables, groups, etc.) are of importance for the informative value of the phonemes. The laws of distribution valid for the building up of these larger units often strongly reduce the amount of information of each smaller unit. In no language is the combination of the phonemes, or more generally the putting together of smaller entities into larger elements, free. In most languages, it is subject to very strong limitations.
KeywordsExplosive Assimilation Aphasia Metathesis GermanI
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- The idea of consonants as marginal units and of vowels as central units is old, reflected e.g. already in the term “consonant” (“which sounds with something”), or in the German terms “Selbstlaut” and “Mitlaut” (Swedish “självljud”, “medljud”). Traditional handbooks often define consonants as sounds which cannot alone make up a syllable. — The idea that the syllable is just a phonological (structural) unit is due to Otto von Essen (works quoted in Chap. IV). See also his chapter on the syllable in the 3rd edition of his “Allgemeine Phonetik” (quoted above). Cf. my criticism in the articles quoted in Chap. VI. Carl Hj. Borgstrøm published his article in “Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap” XV, 1949, pp. 137 – 187. I have published an article “Voyelle, consonne, syllabe, mot” in “Miscelanea Homenaje a André Martinet”, part III, 1962. The generality of open syllables has been pointed out by Jakobson (works quoted above). For the primitive word type mama and papa, see Jakobson, “Why ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ ?” in “Perspectives in Psychology”, 1961, pp. 124–134. For Japanese syllabic structure, see e. g. G. Wenck, “Japanische Phonetik” I, 1954, §§ 54–55. For Sigurd’s studies, see “Studia linguistica” XI, 1955, and XII, 1958; cf. his “Ponotactic Structures” 1965;Google Scholar
- Eli Fischer-Jørgensen’s in “Acta linguistica” VII, 1952, pp. 8–39. The mathematical theory behind Sigurd’s analysis was exposed by Lars Gårding in “Studia linguistica” XI, pp.21 – 34 (“Relations and Order”). The syllabic structure of Spanish was treated by the author in “La structure syllabique de l’espagnol” /Boletim de filologia IX, 1949, pp.99–120/, and in “Notes sur les groupes de consonnes en espagnol” /Zeitschrift für Phonetik II, 1948, pp.239–255/; cf. also my “Linguistique ibérique et ibéro-romane” /Studia linguistica XV, 1961, pp. 57 – 113/. The substitution of vowel length or vowel quality for final -s in Spanish dialects was treated by T. Navarro Tomás., “Travaux du Cercle linguistique de Prague” VIII, 1939, pp. 184–186; and E. Alarcos Llorach, “Fonología y Fonética” /Archivum VIII, pp. 191–203, Universidad de Oviedo, Facultad de Filosofía y letras, 1958/. Hottentot phonetics is described by Beach in “Phonetics of the Hottentot Language”, 1938.Google Scholar
- The example given is quoted from G. S. Nienaber in “Album Edgard Blanquaert”, 1958, pp.113 – 122.Google Scholar
- For the phonetics of Modern Greek, see J. T. Prings, “A Grammar of Modern Greek on a Phonetic Basis”, 1952. — The phonetic unity of the word was treated by Björn Collinder in “Das Wort als phonetische Einheit” /Sprâkvetenskapliga sällskapets i Uppsala förhandlingar 1937 – 39, pp. 63 ff./. The “word” was treated by A. Rosetti in “Linguistica”, 1965. The French preference for open syllables has been proved by Gunnar von Proschwitz, “Étude sur la répartition des syllabes ouvertes et fermées en français moderne”, 1953.Google Scholar
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