2014 | 11 | 25-66
Article title

Beats-and-Binding phonology explorations into /s/ voicing in English

Title variants
Les explorations dans le modèle de la phonologie des battements et des liaisons (Beats-and-Binding phonology) dans la prononciation du /s/ en anglais
Languages of publication
Is /s/ voicing an active (natural) process in contemporary English phonology? Is there a possibility to trace a common denominator to all the disjoint contexts of English /s/ voicing? In standard Natural Phonology fricative voicing is assumed to be an example of a morpho-nological rule – that is, a dead process which lost its phonetic conditioning (cf. Donegan and Stampe 2009). The hypothesis which I will propose in this paper is that the apparent medley status of /s/ voicing in English can be partially explained within Beats-and-Binding phonology as a group of natural preferences which, however, can be blocked by morphological information in a set of contexts. To address this issue I shall present a survey of how the problem of fricative voicing in English has been handled in a selection of strands of phonological theory (e.g. Prins 1977; Kim 2001; Chomsky and Halle 1968; Westbury and Keating 1986). Then I make a proposal to address the issue from a different perspective: a B&B formalization and an explanation of some of the voicing contexts, by proposing an extension to the B&B paradigm, namely, the notion of a stress concentrator, which is proposed here as a property of tonic binding in Prototypical Stress-timed Languages. The discussion also uses insights from Zabrocki’s (1980 [1960]) structural phonetics.
La prononciation du /s/ est-elle un processus actif (naturel) dans la phonologie anglaise contemporaine? Est-il possible de tracer un dénominateur commun pour tous les contextes disjoints de la prononciation anglaise du /s/? Dans la phonologie naturelle standard, la prononciation des fricatifs est considérée comme un exemple d’une règle morphonologique – c’est-à-dire d’un processus mort qui a perdu sa détermination phonétique (cf. Donegan et Stampe 2009). L’hypothèse que je propose dans cet article est que le statut apparemment mixte du voisement du /s/ en anglais peut être partiellement expliqué par la phonologie Beats-and-Binding (phono-logie des battements et des liaisons) comme un groupe des préférences naturelles qui peuvent cependant être bloquées par l’information morphologique dans certains contextes. Pour aborder cette question, je vais présenter une étude des manières dont le problème du voisement des fricatives en anglais fut traité dans une sélection des théories phonologiques (par exemple: Prins, 1977; Kim, 2001; Chomsky et Halle 1968; Westbury et Keating 1986). Ensuite, je propose d’aborder la question de perspective différente, c’est-à-dire du point de vue de la formalisation B&B et de l’explication de quelques contextes de prononciation, en proposant une extension du paradigme B&B, notamment de la notion du concentrateur d’accentuation, qui est postulé ici comme propre à la liaison tonique dans les langues dont le rythme est fonction des syllabes accentuées. Dans la discussion j’utilise également les idées de la phonétique structurelle de Zabrocki (1980 [1960]).
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