A Phonology Page

  1. My favorite phonology literature
  2. A Note on Historical Chinese phonology
  3. Handouts and Reading materials of my talks

My favorite phonology literature

I will recommend my favorite phonology literature in this page, and try to keep the list systematic and keep the note simple. A beginner who has taken an Intro course to phonology might be able to approach to a professional level by systematically reading these books and papers. One tip to develop a comprehensive reading list is to read the references of a dissertation or a book you like. Let me know if you have any comments or thoughts. I’d like to answer any questions about phonology!

  • Hyman, L. M. (1975). Phonology: theory and analysis. Harcourt College Pub.

A classic and highly readable introduction book of rule-based phonology. There are many enlightening illustrations about some questions you may have, such as how do we transcribe aspiration in a language, [Cʰ] or [Ch], and why? Moreover there are a large number of data from Niger-Congo languages which might be a good starting point for writing one’s first research paper. Rule-based phonology is very important for a well educated linguist, so I recommend two more below:

  • Kenstowicz, M., & Kisseberth, C. (1977). Topics in phonological theory. Elsevier.
  • Kiparsky, P. (1982). Explanation in phonology (Vol. 4). Walter de Gruyter.

Kenstowicz & Kisseberth (1977) is my favorite phonology book. The topics in this book have been discussed since 1970s, and phonologists are still struggling to find good solutions for them by different ways: rules or constraints. The discussion of “the disparity between UR and PR” in this book is a very good starting point for learning Tesar & Smolensky (2000)(see below). Kiparsky (1982) is a collection of essays. Kiparsky discussed UR in his famous article “How abstract is Phonology” which can be seen in the collection.

  • Tesar, B., & Smolensky, P. (2000). Learnability in optimality theory. MIT Press.
  • Kager, R., Pater, J., & Zonneveld, W. (Eds.). (2004). Constraints in phonological acquisition. Cambridge University Press.
  • Tesar, B. (2014). Output-driven phonology: Theory and learning (No. 139). Cambridge University Press.
  • Jarosz, G. (2013). Learning with hidden structure in optimality theory and harmonic grammar: Beyond robust interpretive parsing. Phonology, 30(1), 27-71.
  • Hayes, B., & Wilson, C. (2008). A maximum entropy model of phonotactics and phonotactic learning. Linguistic inquiry, 39(3), 379-440.

Tesar & Smolensky (2000) is a classic book on the study of learnability and computational phonology, and really a hard book for a beginner. The robust interpretive parsing (RIP) is the most important term in this book. Jarosz (2013) addresses some topics and questions proposed by Tesar & Smolensky (2000), which reflects how important Tesar & Smolensky (2000) is.

  • Greenberg, J. H., Ferguson, C. A., & Moravcsik, E. A. (Eds.). (1978). Universals of human language: phonology(Vol. 2). Stanford University Press.
  • Gordon, Matthew. (2002). A factorial typology of quantity-insensitive stress. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 20(3), 491-552.
  • Gordon, Matthew. (2016). Phonological Typology. Oxford University Press.

The textbooks of typology e.g. Croft (2003), Comrie (1989), and Whaley (1997) are mostly about morphology and syntax, e.g. the typology of word-order, the implicational universals of person, etc, which reflects a common concept of typologists that the typology they are researching is more about morphosyntactic features. However, since the time of Nikolai Trubetzkoy (1890-1938) and Roman Jakobson (1896-1982), phonologists have done many works on phonological typology. I would like to mention a less famous one:Universals of human language: phonology (Vol. 2) (Greenberg et. al. (Eds) 1978). There was a project called Language Universals Project at Stanford University from 1970 to 1976, directed by Charles A. Ferguson and Joseph H. Greenberg. Universals of human language consists of all the studies in this project (More information see the Preface in Greenberg et. al. (Eds) 1978). Volume 2 consists of many interesting studies of phonological universals. The most famous one might be Universals of Tone by Ian Maddieson. A less famous but equally great one is On Stops and Fricative by Thomas V. Gamkrelidze, which is one of the very first papers discussing the “marked” and “unmarked” in English. Thomas V. Gamkrelidze (coworked with Vyacheslav Ivanov) wrote Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture (Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1995) which is a classic of Indo-European study. 

Last but not least, Gordon (2016) is the very first book specifically dealing with phonological typology, which provides an overview of the research of the study of phonological typology in the past few decades. By the way, this book discusses the factorial typology in the framework of OT which was treated in Gordon (2002), a classic paper on phonological typology.

  • Halle, M., & Vergnaud, J. R. (1987). An essay on stress. MIT press.
  • Hayes, B. (1995). Metrical stress theory: Principles and case studies. University of Chicago Press.

Hayes (1995) elaborated the standard metrical theory where you will figure out many questions you may have, such as “Why do we need grid?”. Halle & Vergnaud (1987) is also a great work on stress.

  • Fromkin, V. A. (Ed.). (1978). Tone: A linguistic survey. Academic Press.
  • Yip, M. (2002). Tone. Cambridge University Press.
  • Chen, M. Y. (2000). Tone sandhi: Patterns across Chinese dialects (Vol. 92). Cambridge University Press. 

  • van der Hulst, H., & Snider, K. L. (Eds.). (1993). The phonology of tone: the representation of tonal register (Vol. 17). Walter de Gruyter.
  • Flemming, E., & Cho, H. (2017). The phonetic specification of contour tones: evidence from the Mandarin rising tone. Phonology, 34(1), 1-40.
  • Zhang, Jie. (2001). The effects of duration and sonority on contour tone distribution–typological survey and formal analysis (Doctoral dissertation).

  • Zhang, Jie. (2004). The role of contrast-specific and language-specific phonetics in contour tone distribution. Phonetically based phonology, 157-190.

For the purpose of writing a paper on tone sandhi, I collected a large number of literature on tone. Among these literature Fromkin (1978) can help the beginners to form the questions on tone in phonology. I’d like to list the seven questions or topics mentioned by Fromkin (1978: 1) in the Introduction:

  1. What are the physiological and perceptual correlates of tone?
  2. How do tonal and nontonal features interact?
  3. What are the necessary and sufficient universal tone features?
  4. Should tone be represented segmentally or suprasegmentally in the lexicon?
  5. What is the nature of tone rules, and are they similar to and/or different from other phonological rules?
  6. What is the nature of historical tone changes, and why do tones develop (tonogenesis)?
  7. How do children acquire the tone systems and tone rules of their first languages ; what are the similarities and differences, if any, between tonal and nontonal phonological acquisition?

All these questions are what keep me awake at night.

(latest updated on Nov. 29; to be continued~)

A Note on Historical Chinese phonology

Dai, Huteng. (2016).  How to make a rime tablelingbuzz/003760. 

The paper How to make a rime table? summarizes the way of making a rime table which is a traditional way to learn historical Chinese phonology. By making a rime table, one would be able to understand how to interpret the rime table in the literature of historical Chinese phonology. This paper is a personal summary but not an academic paper, and I tried to use colloquial Chinese to make the paper readable, while the students of Chinese phonology might find this paper useful.

Handouts and Reading materials of my talks

Talk At CNU LingLunch

  • Time and Date: 18:30 — 21:00 June 13th. 2018.
  • Location: Capital Normal University North One Wenkelou Room 604
  • Topic: Syllable and Optimality Theory
  • Abstract: In this lecture, I will present the basic syllable theory related to syllabification and syllable alternation. Then I will provide an overview of the switch of framework from Rule-based to Constraint-based. I argue that Optimality Theory is effective in the problem of Rule-based phonology, especially in handling conspiracy. In addition, Optimality Theory provides an ideal model for the research of phonetically-based phonology and phonological typology.
  • Handouts: Syllable and Optimality Theory (email me hutengdai@gmail.com for the handout)
  • Readings:
    • B. P. Hayes, Introductory Phonology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
    • J. J. McCarthy, Doing Optimality Theory. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. [Chapter 1]
    • M. K. Gordon, “Typology in Optimality Theory” Language & Linguistics Compass, vol. 1, no. 6, pp. 750–769, 2007. [PDF]
    • J. Goldsmith, “The syllable”. from J. Goldsmith, J. Riggle, and A. C. L. Yu, The Handbook of Phonological Theory. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.[PDF]
    • M. Hammond, “Parsing syllables: modeling ot computationally,”arXiv preprint arXiv:cmp-lg/9710004, 1997.[roa-222-hammond-1]


I uploaded the code I edited to convert Praat .text data to .csv columns to my Github (Link to this code; Update on Oct. 13. 2018: after I posted my code about three months, I found a similar code from Aaron Braver’s webpage [Link]).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s