Phonology, Morphonology, Morphology 9783110878738, 9789027917485

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Phonology, Morphonology, Morphology
 9783110878738, 9789027917485

Table of contents :
Table Of Contents
1. Phonology
2. Morphonology
3. Morphology
Index Of Names
Index Of Terms

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JANUA LINGUARUM STUDIA M E M O R I A E N I C O L A I VAN WIJK D E D I C A T A edetida curat C. H. V A N S C H O O N E V E L D Indiana University

Series Minor,




us 1971


© Copyright 1971 in The Netherlands. Mouton & Co. N.V., Publishers, The Hague. No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publishers. Translated from the Russian Original title: 0OHOJIUH,



(Moskva, Mezdunarodnaja kniga).


Printed in The Netherlands by Mouton & Co., Printers, The Hague.






1.1 Phonology as the Science of Semiological Relevance of Speech-Sounds 1.1.1 Introduction 1.1.2 Directions in Phonology 1.1.3 The Outer Approaches The Algebraic View The Code-Restricting View The'Fictionalist'View 1.1.4 The Inner Approaches Preliminary Observations The 'Inner' Approaches in Detail . . . 1.1.5 Concerning the System of Phonological Concepts Segmental or Linear (Inherent) vs. SupraSegmental or Prosodic Phonemes . . . Minimal Pairs ('Quasi-Homonyms') . . Permitted Phoneme Sequences, Modelling and Rules; Complex Phonemes and Pattern Congruity 'Prosodies'and the Basic Unit . . . . 1.2 Phonology as the Object of Interdisciplinary Research 1.2.1 General Considerations 1.2.2 The Three 'Spaces'

9 9 12 14 14 14 15 17 17 27 35 35 37

40 44 47 47 49



1.2.3 The Basic Unit from a Psycholinguistic Point of View 1.2.4 The Inner Codes of Language and the Outer Codes of Speech 1.2.5 Prosodies in Detail 1.2.6 Is the Sound-Sign Arbitrary? 2 . MORPHONOLOGY

52 54 62 65 69

2.1 Morphonology (Phonomorphonology) as the Science of Correlating Phonological and Morphological Sequences 69 2.2 Taxonomies, Metataxonomies, and Transcriptions . . 77 3 . MORPHOLOGY

3.1 Morphology as The Science of the Discrete Meaningful Units of Language 3.1.1 Concerning the 'Two-Sidedness' (dvustoronnost') of Morphemes 3.1.2 On the Relation between Meanings and Concepts 3.1.3 Content and Expression in Language 3. 2 3.2.1 Concerning the Object of Morphology in the Broad Sense 3.2.2 Different Kinds of Morphemes and How to Discriminate Between Them 3.2.3 Inflectional Morphemes and Morphology in the Narrow Sense 3.2.4 Categorisation and Categories


85 85 87 90 97 97 99 101 104








An authorised translation is always a second edition: one is bound to take into account, as far as possible, the later achievements in the field. Also, quite enough time will usually have passed for the writer to 'exteriorize', to be able to look at the book as if it were 'from outside', and to see much more clearly than at the time of the original composition, its shortcomings and inconsistencies. What has just been said refers equally to all translations. In the present case certain special factors tend to complicate matters still further. Even to-day books in different languages are not equally accessible to everybody. When writing the Russian original I mainly thought of language students in the remoter parts of the USSR, where the more recent foreign publications are not always readily available. With the English-speaking public in mind, it is now but natural to curtail the accounts of foreign publications, merely referring the reader to the appropriate sources. At the same time information about work in the USSR is now expanded, for there appear to be still quite a few linguists who do not read Russian fluently enough to be able to follow what is going on in this country. Keeping bibliographic references down to manageable proportions had thus become a problem ... I wonder if I was justified in using so freely what is now termed in the Science of Science (naukovedenie) "the language of bibliographic references" — a specific semiotic system, which is believed to bring out more clearly than any other means, the inner structure of progress in a given branch of science. Language is the most important means of human communica-



tion. Its use by human beings presupposes (1) a certain 'content', a message which it is desirable or necessary to pass on, and (2) a set or system of distinctive signals to carry the message through the medium which separates the interlocutors. The natural medium being air, the phonic signals come first, the importance of the graphic ones varying widely from language to language. Although natural language-users are mainly concerned with what they want to say, and not with how they do it, courses of linguistics traditionally begin with PHONOLOGY, i.e. the SCIENCE OF THE SEMIOLOGICAL RELEVANCE OF SPEECH-SOUNDS.

is, basically, the SCIENCE OF THE DISCRETE MEAN(with all the intricate interdependences of 'form' and 'meaning' proper to natural human languages). The linking linguistic discipline, the SCIENCE CONCERNED WITH THE WAYS AND MEANS BY WHICH THE 'SERIES' (or 'cortèges' or 'ensembles' or 'sequences') OF PHONOLOGIC ENTITIES ARE TRANSPOSED INTO THE MORPHOLOGICAL ONES, is called MORPHONOLOGY (or 'phonomorphology'). So far it has not received all the attention it deserves. This may, at least in part, be due to the inherent difficulty of separating morphonological facts proper from those belonging to the two adjacent linguistic disciplines — phonology and morphology. The number of publications on phonology is enormous. On morphology — perhaps not quite as overwhelming, but still pretty voluminous. Least of all for morphonology. The main purpose of this book is to present all three together in a single volume, discuss them all, as it were, in one breath. MORPHOLOGY


Moscow, 1969





1.1.1 Introduction 'Semiological' means 'serving to distinguish, to express or point to non-identity or 'otherness''. 'Relevance' (French pertinence) is the specific property of a linguistic entity which enables it to fulfil linguistic functions, and endows it with linguistic 'value' (French valeur). Thus, for instance, the difference between [d] and [t] in bid and bit is semiologically relevant, distinguishing as it does between (1) the infinitive of a verb, meaning 'to order', 'to command' and (2) a noun, meaning 'a piece', 'a fragment of'. In contrast to these the Russian [t] and [d] in, for instance, moj det ('my grandfather') and ded byl ('the grandfather was') are semiologically irrelevant: in positions of this kind they are powerless to distinguish linguistic entities from one another. From what has just been said one might conclude that the organisation and functioning of phonological entities poses no problems : just produce identical sounds to indicate identity and different ones to signal difference of content! This, however, is not the case. The relationship between expression and content, 'form' and 'meaning' in natural human languages is not reducible to a simple oneto-one correspondence. Although this may be mainly due to the extreme complexity of the content plane, there are serious complications on the expression plane as well. What prevents the



sounds of language from functioning in a simple and straightforward way will be discussed in the following pages. The first point to make is that very often the speakers of a language disregard considerable sound-distinctions, appear not to notice them even. Thus, for instance, the voiced [r] in rot ('mouth') and the voiceless one in smotr ('inspection') pass completely unobserved, while objectively slight distinctions, like, for instance, [b] and [b'] — as in busy ('beads') and Fust ('bust') are immediately apprehended by the language-user, [t] in Tata (hypochoristic for 'Natalja, Natalie') and [t'] in f a t ' a ('father, daddy') build up a semiologically relevant distinction, while the difference between [t] in nota ('note') and [t] in notnyj ('of notes, note') — with faucal plosion, has no distinctive value. Innumerable instances have already been adduced from a wide variety of languages to vindicate the difference between semiologically relevant sound-distinctions and semiologically irrelevant ones.1 Particularly instructive are contrastive examples from different languages.2 We have therefore good grounds for assuming 1 See, for example, Bertil Malmberg, Nyare fonetiska rön (Lund, 1966), pp. 39-40 and 52; Idem, Uttals-undervisning: Teori och metodik (Stockholm, 1967), pp. 3 Iff. A.I. Smirnickij, Kurs fonetiki sovremennogo anglijskogo jazyka (compiled posthumously from lecture-notes under the editorship of A. A. Reformatskij), mimeographed edition (Moscow, MGU, 1959), pp. 95ff.:G. P. Torsuev, Problemy teoreticeskoj fonetiki i fonologii (Leningrad, Publications of the Academy of sciences USSR, 1969), pp. 20-22. "...Probably not one English speaker out of a hundred has the remotest idea that the / of a word like sting is not at all the same sound as the t of teem, the latter t having a fullness of 'breath release' that is inhibited in the former case by the preceding s; that the ea of meat is of perceptibly shorter duration than the ea of mead", or that the final s of a word like heads is not the full, buzzing z sound of the s in such a word as pleaseEdward Sapir, Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech, § 3 (quoted from the Harvest books edition, p. 43). "...but when he has realised it [or, rather, been made, forced to realise it? O.A.] he may shrug the difference off as insignificant", Barbara Strang, Modern English Structure, 2nd ed. (London, 1968), p. 51. 2 It would be difficult to find a clearer statement of this all-important fact than R. Jakobson, Selected Writings, I (The Hague, Mouton, 1962), pp. 300-01: "Der Unterschied zwischen palatalisierten und nichtpalatalisierten Konsonanten ist im Russisch phonematisch, er dient zur Wortdifferenzierung, und jedes russische Kind hört und verwertet diesen Unterschied. Es ist für einen Russen



that the difference between speech-sounds may be either (1) 'free', i.e. independent of their positions or environments, or (2) 'conditioned', 'combinatory', i.e. fully determined by the latter. Two or more sounds are mutually 'phonemes' if the difference between them cannot be accounted for by position alone. It follows that a sound can be described as a phoneme either if its NON-identity with another sound-as-phoneme is free or if its identity with another sound-as-phoneme is determined by difference of position. Just as a word cannot be described as a 'homonym' or a 'synonym' in gleichen Masse augenscheinlich und auffallend wie für einen Dänen ein Unterschied zwischen einem gerundeten und ungerundeten Vokal, zwischen einem ö und e. Aber derselbe Unterschied zwischen palatalisierten und nichtpalatalisierten Konsonanten, welcher einem Russen ganz scharf und auffallend klingt, ist beispielweise für einen Deutschen oder für einen Tschechen, wie ich es vielmals genau beobachtet habe, beinahe unhörbar und unexistierend. Ich habe letztens das Russische Wortpaar krov-krov' erwähnt: krov [krof] ohne Palatalisierung des Schlusskonsonanten bedeutet 'Obdach', krov' [krof'] mit Palatalisierung bedeutet 'Blut'. Der Russe sagt [krof'] und der Deutsche weiss einfach nicht, ob es sich um Blut oder um Obdach handelt. Es wäre allerdings ganz verfehlt daraus den Schluss zu ziehen, dass der Russe etwa ein feineres Gehör hat. Nur eine andere Einstellung kommt hier zum Vorschein, und diese Einstellung ist durch das phonologische System der gegebenen Sprache bestimmt. Das Massgebende ist die Bedeutungverleihende Unterscheidung der palatalisierten Phoneme von den nichtpalatalisierten im Russischen." One more example: the Russian learner of French, with his indifference to the quality of the e in ètot ('this') and èti ('these') fails to 'hear' the difference between French été vs. était, dé vs. dais, etc. Cf. Bertil Malmberg, Uttalsundervisning: Teori och metodik (Stockholm, 1967), p. 31, and Nyare fonetiska rön (Lund, 1966), pp. 81-82. The pedagogical advantages which accrue from juxtapositions of a variety of languages may well tempt us to adduce examples second-hand. Here is a case in point: "...But there are languages (e.g. Japanese) in which r and / belong to the same phoneme and others (e.g. Russian) in which the difference between our two kinds of I [the / of like and the I of well, O.A.] is phonemic." (B. Strang, Modern English, p. 517). The much quoted Japanese example is, probably less inaccurate than the Russian one, but one would feel much safer if one looked it up in, e.g. E. D. Polivanov, "Sub"ektivnyj xarakter zvukov jazyka", Stat'i po obScemu jazykoznaniju (Moscow, 1968), pp. 241 ff. It is only fair to add, however, that the real phonetic and phonemic difference between languages (and, consequently a scientifically acceptable contrastive analysis) will be established only when the methods and general approach of, e.g., Pierre Delattre, Comparing the Phonetic Features of English, German, Spanish and French (Heidelberg, 1965) become more generally recognised.



by itself, i.e. without reference to another word or words with which it is in this special kind of lexico-semantic relation, to call a sound a 'phoneme' is pointless unless we have in mind another sound (or sounds) with respect to which the sound in question is either another (a different or separate) phoneme, or the same phoneme.3 1.1.2 Directions in Phonology In his brilliant Fundamentals of Language* Roman Jakobson subsumed all the different trends in Phonology under two comprehensive headings: the 'inner' approach to the phoneme in relation to sound and the 'outer' approaches to the phoneme in relation to sound. Of these the former (the 'inner' approach) is by far the more difficult to explain and the more important to linguistics, both theoretical and applied. As to the 'outer' approaches, their mostly abstract character justifies one in regarding them as a sort of appendage: whether one goes very deeply into them or confines oneself to a superficial discussion of generalities, will make no difference to the progress of actual phonological research. An attempt will, therefore, be made to dispose of the outer approaches before getting to brass tacks and trying to get an idea of what is actually going on in the scientific field under consideration. It could not be urged too strongly that it is high time a distinct line were drawn between what pertains to linguistics (and can, therefore, be used in learning and teaching languages, in reducing them to writing, in lexicographic work, etc., etc.)5 and what belongs to * This is an English version of an unpublished note on phonology by A. I. Smirnickij. 4 Roman Jakobson and Morris Halle, Fundamentals of Language (The Hague, Mouton, 1956). 5 According to A. A. Reformatskij ("Problema fonemy v amerikanskoj lingvistike", Ucenye zapiski mosk. gos. ped. in-ta, V:1 [Moscow, 1941], 103-39) a realistic phonological theory could not be dispensed with because of the urgency of such tasks as the creation of systems of writing for formerly unlettered peoples; the setting up and reform of orthographies, reglementation of orthoepy and practical transcription, exact description of linguistic norms, explanation of interdependence of phonetics and grammar, and, finally, present-



the realm of speculative sciences — general semiotics, mathematical (theoretical) logic, etc. The greater the number of publications, the clearer it becomes that linguistics, as an empirical science, can no more be equated with, e.g. theoretical logic or information theory than e.g. physics with mathematics. It is deplorable that linguistics (the scientific study of natural human languages) should have so often been confounded with different "...intellectual pastimes consisting of elegant rearrangement of symbols". 4 Unless the two are kept strictly apart much harm will be done (has already been done in fact) to linguistic research in general and the training of phonologists, in particular. When there is no 'feedback' between the particular kind of speculation and the intricate realities of linguistics, all the 'pastimes' can do is give aesthetic satisfaction (provided, of course, the Scientific Hedonist succeeds in discovering the 'most elegant' rules for the discription and grouping together of the imaginary entities he is playing with). 7 ing the history of languages as an alternation of linguistic systems. Malmberg in "Applied Linguistics", IJAL V:1 (1967), 2, speaks of "...a whole series of applications of linguistics, within teaching, within speech communication, within glossopolitics, within logopedics, to take just a few examples". • Gunnar Fant, "The Nature of Distinctive Features", Speech Transmission Laboratory, QPSR 4 (KTH Stockholm, 1966), 1-14. ' Cf. V. V. Ivanov, "O priemlemosti fonologiCeskix modelej", MaSinnyj perevod, Trudy In-ta toinoj mexaniki i vycislitel'noj texniki 2 (Moscow, 1961), p. 937. What has just been said would, probably, have to be modified to apply to the case of a brilliant young mathematician taking a day off and having a go at what he thinks is linguistics. A paper like, for instance, V. A. Uspenskij, "Odna model' dlja ponjatija fonemy", Voprosy Jazykoznanija 6 (1964), 39-53, can do little harm to linguistics because it so clearly states the 'as if' principle on which it is based. If we assume that the only object of phonological analysis is to make a list of certain discrete units and if we assume that nobody knows what these units are or how they can or should be discovered, we can construct whatever 'hypothesis' we like to serve as the underlying axiom for our mathematical operations. Uspenskij's paper is very well written, succinct, logical and conclusive. What one, nevertheless, must raise one's voice against is the typical high-handed treatment of linguistics: to believe V. A. Uspenskij there is in general no such thing as phonology, because nobody knows either what a phoneme is or what methods should be used 'to establish the phonemes' ("ustanovit' fonemy"). A kind of no man's land open to whoever is looking for a bit of 'scientific' fun!



1.1.3 The Outer Approaches The Algebraic view. — Jakobson explains this approach with special reference to Hjelmslev who had hoped that linguistics would become "an algebra of language". The champion of "maximum estrangement" between what he calls "phoneme" and sound in the USSR is S. K. Saumjan. Although almost seventeen years have now passed since his first polemic article in 1952 with a wealth of speeches, articles and even a book on the subject, nothing has been done to prove the value or effectiveness of his approach. Every time it is just one more proclamation of sweepingly general ideas. Thus for instance in a paper, sub-titled "The Two-Step Theory of Phonology in its Present Stage" (Sovremennoe sostojanie dvuxstupen£atoj teorii fonologii)8 Saumjan urges again and again the incompatibility of the "stupen' konstruktov" and the "stupen' nabljudenija", as well as the importance of the "method of idealisation". Again he claims to be propounding a theory which is basically different (otlicaetsja principiaVno) from both the "one-step relational phonological theory" of Hjelmslev and Saussure and the "one-step relational-physical theory" of "Trubetzkoy, Martinet and other linguists". At first sight it might appear that exception should be made for K. L. Pike, but although there is a certain 'two-stepness' in the latter's phonological theory it is not acceptable either, because his "-etics" and "-emics" are not heterogeneous enough. Basically, then, the "two-step theory" even in its "present-day stage" is a variant of the 'algebraic' view, which has been so conclusively criticised by Jakobson, Eli FischerJ0rgensen, Martinet and many others. The Code-Restricting View. — The reality of speech, the actual utterances which constitute the object of linguistic analysis are protean and variable. It is therefore natural to look for stable stereotypes, underlying entities in relation to which the factual occurrences are 'avatars' — fluid and unstable manifestations. In * S. K. Saumjan, "Dvuxstupencataja teorija fonologii", Issledovanija po fonologii (Moscow, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1966), pp. 3-23.



its simplest form this approach is reflected in what Jakobson calls the code-restricting view: 'phonemes' then are part of the 'code', while their variants are part of the 'message'. Although conveniently schematic this explanation cannot do justice to the actual facts. The relationship between language and speech, the underlying system and its manifold realisations, is incomparably more complex than that between code and message. A code is a set of conventional rules, which establishes a simple one-to-one correspondence between the signals of the code and the elements of all the messages transmitted with its help. This is certainly not the case with language, for both phoneme and variant are present in the 'langue', in the system as well as in speech. Very much the same general idea underlies what Jakobson describes as the MENTALIST view: the invariant, the stable entity is a psychophonetic phenomenon, a zvukopredstavlenie, while its concrete physical representation or manifestation is a physio-phonetic fact. The psychophonetic entities are shaped by the Sprachgefühl, the product of past stages in the development of a given language. It is therefore natural that the physical nature of the actual sounds should not coincide with the ideal distinctive characteristics of the mental phonetic images. The 'Fictionalist' View. — Among the different 'outer' approaches listed by Jakobson is the fictionalist view, originally associated with Twaddell. A different complexion has now been put on it by the work of Ivan Lebrun.9 Perception is global. Decoding utterances is based on apperception of words and word combinations and not on perception of phonemes. It has also been proved that being able to isolate and oppose phonemes is not a prerequisite of children's ability to use language: learning to speak does NOT consist in a growing consciousness of phonological oppositions. Lebrun therefore comes to the conclusion that the phoneme is an abstract notion which makes for an economic • Y. Lebrun, "Le phonème, unité d'emploi ou unité de description?", Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire XLV:3 (1967), 761-76.



explicitation of sound-systems of natural languages. It is a unité de description, not a unité d'emploi.10 One wonders if what Jakobson calls 'the generic view' can be listed with the preceding three without qualification. Describing the 'phoneme' as a family or class of sounds may be merely a tentative suggestion made by the pragmatist and administered as an antidote to an epidemic of abstruse and unrealistic phonological persuasions. The generic approach will figure again in 1.1.4 (p. 17) below. It should be observed, however, while still moving upon the philosophic plane, that the generic classification of sounds (la classification de sons selon leur degré de parenté) presents almost unsurmountable difficulties.11 'Outer approaches' are by definition hypothetic and deductive. But is it true that there can be no Progress unless the Science in question has succeeded in "...fulfilling its axiomatic systems..." and ensuring their "application"?12 When a linguist hears or reads pronouncements of this kind he removes his hat and observes the two minute silence, for the ability to speak in this most impressive way is a mark of sophistication, of unattainable theoretical knowhow. But does he (or she) REALLY understand what it means? Has the "Applikation des vollständige und widerspruchlose Axiomensystems" ever been of any use to him in his research or teaching? 10 This conclusion is corroborated in Jakobson, Fundamentals, 73), and Idem, Selected Writings, I (The Hague, 1962), p. 283. 11 For obvious reasons Jakobson's classification does not include 'transformational phonology'. As a special kind of universals-oriented morphonology it will be discussed in a later part of the present book. From among a host of writings on the subject the following two might be mentioned here: (1) Josef Vachek, "On Some Basic Principles of 'Classical' Phonology (in margine N. Chomsky's Logical Basis of Linguistic Theory)", Zeitschr. für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung 17:5 (1964) and (2) Dean ^InterStoddard Worth's Review of The Sound Pattern of Russian in IJAL national Journal of American Linguistics), XXIX :1 (1963). 14 I was struck by the concluding lines of L. A. Arany's "Axiomatische Probleme der Phonologie" in the inestimable Phonologie der Gegenwart ( Vorträge und Diskussionen anläßlich der Internationale Phonologie-Tagung in Wien 30.VIII-3.IX.1966) (Wien, 1967), 385. What is the difference between "axiomatische System" and "Axiomensystem"? Why complicate matters still further by not keeping to a consistent terminology?



There is a glamour about Modern Mathematics which lends distinction even to the mere use of pseudo-mathematical symbolization. But can a linguist become proficient in the application of mathematical methods? And, above all, who, at long last, after all these years of trial and error is to decide what kinds of mathematics are applicable to what kinds of linguistics? Although a great deal of time, and effort has been spent over the years, the results appear to be mostly negative, when appraised by LINGUISTS.13


The Inner Approaches Preliminary Observations. — Now that the constructive side of the present task is to be attended to the first step is to denounce what may be described as a reversion to medieval nominalism. What is a 'phoneme'? How do you define it? What is the relation of 'phoneme' to 'sound', etc., etc. With the 'inner approach' in mind, we must begin by considering the 'realia', the actual 'things' to designate which the different metalinguistic instruments can or have been employed. In other words, the substance of the 'expression-plane' of language, the speech-sounds, the discrete elements of articulated speech produced by speechorgans. We must, therefore, begin with what is more or less loosely described as 'phonetics'. But even at this stage considerable difficulties are bound to arise, have arisen, in fact, in the history of our science.14 Even to-day 18 I am thinking at the moment of Charles F. Hockett's iconoclastic statements in Current Anthropology 9:2-3 (1968), 128 and 172-74. I cannot see how his well-grounded arguments to the effect that"... all efforts at algebraic grammar... are foredoomed to failure...because it starts with assumptions contrary to known facts about language" can ever be refuted. The most important fact about natural human languages is that they are not "... 'well-defined' systems like logic or mathematics". 14 See Eli Fischer-Jergensen, "Phonometry", Phonetika 11 (1964), 144-54. See also E. Zwirner, "Phonetik und Phonologie" in Phonologie der Gegenwart (referred to in full in fn. 12), pp. 15 and 16 especially, the latter including the views of Martinet and Rosetti, exposed in the course of the Discussion and favourable to what has just been postulated.



there is considerable difference of opinion between, on the one hand, proponents of a completely non-functional 'prelinguistics', an experimental science based entirely on physics, biology, physiology, etc. and those who insist that it is the linguistically relevant phonetic phenomena which should be the phonetician's primary concern. This was the view held by leading phoneticians of the classical period — Sweet, Sievers, Vietor, Jespersen — and still shared by those who think — with excellent reason — that of the innumerable differences of sound, which may be recorded by means of instruments, only those are of interest to the linguist which have distinctive value within the sound systems of concrete languages. It is certainly worth pointing out, in this connection, that all the basic Russian sources of phonological knowledge are proudly called "Fonetika .,.". 15 In all of these the inseparability of the functional aspect from the physical one is tacitly assumed to require no justification, is, actually taken for granted.16 A few pages back the semiological relevance of speech-sounds was said to depend on a special kind of relationship. This raises an important methodological (philosophical, epistemological) ques15

Thus R. I. Avanesov, Fonetika sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo jazyka (Moscow, MGU, 1956) (which not only contains a comprehensive description of the system of Modern Russian 'phonemes', but also an excellent introduction to the morphophonemics of the language; cf. Roman Jakobson's masterly review under the title "A New Outline of Russian Phonology" (!) in International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics, I/II (1959), reprinted in Selected Writings, I, pp. 533-37. M. V. Panov, Russkaja Fonetika (Moscow, 1967) (he also speaks of syntagmatic and paradigmatic phonetics as an obvious background for his "sintagmo-fonemy" and "paradigmo-fonemy" as a set of relations ("kak sovokupnost' otnoäenij"). M. V. Panov (ed.), Fonetika sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo jazyka (Russkij jazyk i sovetskoe obScestvo; sociologo-lingvisticeskoe issledovanie) (Moscow, 1968), and others. " It is made most convincingly explicit in Eli Fischer-J0rgensen, "Die Bedeutung der funktionellen Sprachbeschreibung für die Fonetik", suppl. ad Vol. 4, Symposion Trubetzkoy (1959), 7-28. What we all need is "...erstens eine Kombination von allgemeiner Phonetik und allgemeiner Funktionlehre, zweitens eine phonologisch-phonetische Beschreibung der in Frage kommenden Sprache" (op.cit., p. 17); B. Malmberg, "Levels of Abstraction in Phonetic and Phonemic Analysis", Phonetika 8 (1962), 220-43: " phonetic analysis is carried out without any foundation in at least preliminary linguistic categories and linguistic functions" (p. 240)



tion : what is primary, the 'relation' or the objects, the 'things' between which a certain relation is observed or established. I have always thought — and still think — that the two points of view, the two contending answers to this question reflect the two basic philosophic directions — materialism and idealism. From the materialist point of view the primary element are the 'objects', the particular phenomena or facts; the relations (or dependencies) are derivative, secondary.17 They cannot be conceived independently, for they exist only in, by means of, through the appropriate objects. 'Pure' relations are, therefore, unimaginable. It follows naturally that complete 'estrangement' between phonology and phonetics is inadmissible on methodological grounds. There are at least two more methodological problems which are never out of the linguist's mind: the problem of the linguistic system and that of the relationship between the static and the dynamic aspects of linguistic description. Saussure's idea of language as an ordered ensemble (Meillet's "...un système où tout se tient...") was a useful exaggeration at a time, when the 'atomism of neogrammarians' still reigned supreme: in the hands of neo-saussurian structuralism it became a hindrance, an obstacle to the progress of linguistics. The mistaken belief that all the elements of a language are fully integrated (to use Martinet's phrase) in a closed, static, and immutable system (i.e. a system which cannot change without losing its identity) has led an evergrowing number of linguists to the conclusion that the sole object of the science of language consisted in pigeonholing 'linguistic units' in as neat and non-contradictory way as possible.18 A wealth of facts from different languages, together with important and " In contrast to Braque, then, I do believe in THINGS! See Jakobson's "Retrospect" to Vol. I of his Selected Writings, p. 632. It should be added that Professor Jakobson's explanation of "the principle of relativity as applied to linguistics" (pp. 631-33) will be illuminating to those phonologists who turn to sound-symbolism in their explorations of the sound systems of different languages. 18 What K. L. Pike has wittily described as "compartmentalization". See his "Interpénétration of Phonology, Morphology and Syntax", Reports to the 8th Congress of Linguists II, 334.



copious theoretical research and generalisation have made it abundantly clear that natural human languages are 'open' systems, that they are permanently in a state of flux: the language of each period, of every single epoch, is always a curious blend of (1) features that are on the rise, and 'productive' and viable and (2) moribund ones.19 Both must be distinguished, in their turn, from those features which for a given stage in a language's development may be regarded as relatively stable and forming the neutral background against which the features of the other two categories stand out. But even this more stable stratum is always fraught with relentless potentialities of change.20 Nevertheless, at every stage, unceasingly, languages function as a means of communication, as a specific kind of semiotic system. Therefore at a certain point in our research, abstraction must needs be made both from the underlying past states and the processes which have been and may still be at work. Thus, for instance, [i] and [y] in the system of modern Russian are no longer two independent functional units, but variants of a single one — a state brought about by the changes and processes connected with the functional (semiological) status of the category of "hardness-softness" of consonants.21 19

Pages and pages could be filled with references to support this statement. Especially helpful and suggestive are the works of J. Vachek: "On Peripheral Phonemes", Proc. 5th Int. Congr. Phon. Sci (Münster, 1964), 561-564; "The Non-static Aspect of the Synchronically Studied Phonological System", Phonologie der Gegenwart (see above, fn. 12, p. 16), 79-88; "Notes on one Aspect of the Internal Structuration of the Phonological System", To Honor Roman Jakobson: Essays on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (The Hague, 1967). To Vachek's initiative and influence is also due the comprehensiveness of Travaux Linguistiques de Prague, 2 (1966) called "Les problèmes du centre et de la périphérie du système de la langue". Very impressive, among other things, are the list of names and bibliographic information contained in the article by Jiïi V. Neustupny, pp. 39 and 48. 20 Cf. E. Coseriu, "Sincronía, diacronia y tipología", Actas del XI congreso internacional de lingüística y filología románicas (Madrid, 1968), 273: " puede decir que la lengua se constituye diacrònicamente y funciona sincrónicamente; mas tal distinción no implica ninguna separación real, puesto que en la lengua el funcionar ('sincronía') y el constituirse o 'cambiar' ('diacronia') no son dos momentos, sino UNO SOLO". 81 R. I. Avanesov, "Iz istorii russkogo vokalizma, zvuki I i Y", Vestnik Mos-



'Phonemes' have been defined above as "two or more sounds, the difference between which cannot be accounted for by difference of position" (p. 11). [i] and [y] are no longer separate phonemes because at some crucial point in the development of Russian the original hard consonant did not 'soften' before an [i], leaving it to the latter to adapt itself to the new 'position', i.e. to become [y]. The importance of this particular phonetic/phonological process and the ensuing rearrangement of the functional relations within the 'system', in the present context, is not confined to a demonstration of the inseparability of synchrony and diachrony. It was chosen mainly because it exemplifies something that is even more important and basic — the fact that there always are and must be by definition, hazy points, complicated cases in which it is by no means easy to distinguish between 'phonemes' and 'positions', perhaps even impossible to achieve 'bi-uniqueness' (see below, p. 51) simply because such is the nature of things.22 To the principle of 'compartmentalization' and 'biuniqueness' we oppose then a methodology which may best be explained by a paraphrase of A. M. Peskovskij's famous approach to the classification of words kovskogo Universiteta 1 (1947), 41-57. For a very lucid presentation of the problem see A. I. Smirnickij, "Po povddu konversii v anglijskom jazyke", Inostrannye jazyki v Skole 3 (1954), 14ff. Incidentally, Smirnickij always insisted on the two sides of diachrony — the retrospective and the prospective ones: which way the oncoming change is to go, what direction is it going to take? Cf. now G. Y. Shevelov, "On Predicaments, Predictability and Futurism in Phonology", Phonologie der Gegenwart (see above, p. 16, fn. 12), 373. Thus, e.g., the athematic -m is NOT an 'archaism' in Modern Chech, Serbo-croatian, and Bulgarian (example suggested by Vladimir Skali5ka). 22 The [i/y] situation in Russian has always been one of the most interesting training-grounds for the phonologist. To the present writer Avanesov's findings are conclusive; they have been made even more so by A. I. Smirnickij and quite recently by M. V. Panov in his Fonetika... (see above, fn. 15), pp. 58-60, and 380. One of Russia's greatest linguists, L. V. SSerba was in two minds: in spite of the positional gradation of [i] and [y] he could not help feeling they were not merely variants (the 'feeling' might have been influenced by the orthography; see below, pp. 26). He looked for confirmation of the 'subjective' impressions of the language-user in objective linguistic facts, advancing, among other things, the argument that [i] and [y] do not alternate within root-morphemes which is refuted by Panov. G. P. Torsuev, Problemy teoreticeskoj fonologii (Leningrad, 1969), pp. 24-25 is positive about [y] being a separate phoneme!



into parts of speech:23 we do not divide a given linear sequence of sounds into phonemes by distributing all the phones among a fixed number of phonemes, alleged to form a strictly ordered system of correspondences and oppositions. Instead we insist on an unbiased approach to the search for the actual functional invariants, those unities on which the extremely complex psychophysiological phenomenon called speech is really based. The same basic idea is very clearly expressed by A. I. Smirnickij: "In general not all the sounds, by far, of which the sound-envelope of a word of morpheme is composed, appear in the quality of phonemes. Phonologists are perpetually worried by 'archiphonemes', 'hyperphonemes', 'neutralization', etc., because the actual functioning of the sounds (the phonic matter) of language is too complex and pliable to be reduced to just two basic concepts — the phoneme and the concrete sound, the latter as the representative, modification, variant, variation, etc., of the former. The desire to confine oneself to just these two and try to reduce the sound-envelopes of words and morphemes to phoneme inventories (fonemnyj sostav) results in a deliberately oversimplified and schematic picture of reality and in failure to understand the problem in its vital complexity and dynamic character."24 The fact is that the different positions in which speech-sounds occur do not possess the power of phoneme differentiation in the same degree. The 'strong' positions (and, accordingly, the 'strong' phonemes) are those which assure with utmost clarity the greatest phoneme-differentiation (fonemorazlicenie), while the 'weak' po23 Russkij sintaksis v naucnom osvescenii, 4th ed. (Moscow, 1934), p. 135. The temptation to lean on one more authority in this indirect way is too strong to be resisted: "The doubtful categorization of several of the above examples yet once again shows that we must not regard the category of proper names as a rigidly demarcated domain, but rather as a sort of eminence attained by a large number of words, though their foothold is often somewhat insecure and may be made more so by an incautious step in one direction or another." (Sir Alan Gardiner, The Theory of Proper Names, 2nd ed. [Oxford, 1954], p. 29). Substitute'phoneme'for 'proper name' and 'sounds' for 'words' and this beautifully worded quotation will fit our case like a glove! 21 See A. I. Smirnickij, "FonetiCeskaja transkripcija i zvukovye tipy", Vestnik moskovskogo universiteta 7 (1948).



sitions (with 'weak' phonemes) are characterized by a very much reduced number of phonologically relevant sound-distinctions. For vowels the difference between strong and weak positions depends mainly on presence or absence of stress. Thus, for instance, in Old English there were 17 vowel-phonemes and eight diphthongs in strong positions, while only three phonemes could be contrasted in unstressed ones.28 In Modern Russian there are 5 strong phonemes — a, o, u, i, e, but only three weak ones, etc., etc. Consonants are less affected by stress, a variety of other factors serving to implement the difference between the strong and weak phonemes, such as position with respect to beginning or end of words, the immediately preceding or following sounds, etc. Another important factor which affects vowels and consonants alike is what is now described as their 'functional loading'. If we take, for example, the two 'oppositions' or 'correlations'26 which distinguish Russian bilabial stop consonants (1) voice-voicelessness, as in b-p and (2) hardness-softness, as in p-p', we shall find that the number of realizations is very great for the former and almost insignificant for the latter. It follows naturally that the p-p' opposition is correspondingly weaker than the b-p one. The disparity is easily accounted for by historical facts. The category of voice 25

See A. I. Smirnickij, Drevneanglijskij jazyk (Moscow, 1955), pp. 102-08. At the moment there is no question of vindicating the idea of "weak phoneme differentiation" or insisting on the choice of these particular (metalinguistic) terms. The really important point to be made here and now is the necessity to distinguish clearly between different positions from the point of view in question: the difference in phoneme differentiation (fonemorazlicenie) and the ensuing hierarchy of phonologically distinct sounds. 26 To understand how the concept of semiological difference (French difference) came to be supplanted by that of oppositions (oppositions phonologiques) it is useful to return to the original discussion in Français Moderne 7:1 (1939) between Martinet and Grammont. The latter insisted on différences because speakers cannot oppose every phoneme to all the rest consciously, while the former rightfully argued that sounds could be different without possessing the property that alone could lead to the idea of a phonological system. It should be observed, in this connection, that laying special emphasis on the 'differences' under the influence of de Saussure's teaching as recorded by the writers of the famous Cours, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that differences can become semiologically relevant only against a background of identities — or similarities at the very least.



vs. voicelessness is a very old one, while that of hardness vs. softness has risen to the status of phonological opposition only comparatively recently. Its comparative 'weakness' is manifested in the k-k\ g - g ' situation, another pair of hazy or fuzzy points where phonologists disagree because the language itself has not yet quite made up its mind.27 Copious facts of this kind collected and carefully investigated by Avanesov give conclusive evidence of the fact that phoneme inventories are always provisional, because phonological opposition is an historical category. When what has just been said is compared with what will be discussed in detail below (p. 26) — the dissolution of 'phonemes' into their component parts and, further on, syntagmatic phonology, "queues and cues", etc., it will become ever more difficult to understand why people go on trying to make inventories and lists of 'global' entities presumably basic and invariant. At least two explanations may be offered: (1) we may follow A. Martinet in assuming that a constant and uniform representation of the phonological structure of languages is indispensable because phonology is always the first chapter in their complete structural description28 and (2) we may regard the phonological approach as something which is a natural property of language, which could not be dispensed with however hard we tried. For it is a well known fact that long before the beginnings of scientific phonology in Eastern Europe, alphabetic systems of writing were devised and widely used in different parts of the world. Obviously this could not have been the case if the semiologically relevant differences between speech-sounds as against the semiologically irrelevant ones *' See R. I. Avanesov, Fonetika sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo jazyka (Moscow, 1956), pp. 135, 136, 172, 173, 158, 182. 88 See A. Martinet, "Indétermination phonologique et diachronie", Phonetica 12 (1965), 13: "Mais lorsque la description phonologique n'est que le premier chapitre de la description complète d'une structure linguistique, on ne saurait se dispenser de trancher en faveur d'une solution déterminée qui permettrait de donner, des unités significatives, une représentation constante et uniforme. Ce qu'on peut appeler l'indétermination phonologique est donc pratiquement exclue des présentations synchroniques non seulement parce qu'il faut, en dernière analyse, trancher dans un certain sens, mais également parce qu'on se doit d'y expliciter les diverses possibilités."



were not inherent in the phonetic systems of languages. There is no getting away from the fact that since time immemorial (and certainly long before modern scientific phonology was even thought o f ) men have felt the need of reducing their languages to writing, of bringing the infinite variety of actual phonations down to a limited number of significant units. As far as alphabetic systems were concerned, there was n o other way but to divide, as systematically and consistently as was possible at the time, the sound envelopes of words and morphemes into such phonetic particles as could serve to distinguish them from one another. 2 9 This could never have been attempted — let alone achieved, without the conviction that the continuous flow of speech DOES lend itself to segmentation into a limited number of 'non-contradictory', discrete and recurring units. 80 All doubts about the interdependency of phonology and writing, with even the primacy o f letters, will be dispelled if we realize h o w difficult it was for the linguists of some fifty years ago (i.e. those w h o adhered to the views most convincingly expounded by F. de 28

Innumerable sources could be quoted in support of what has just been propounded. To adduce only a few — Panov (Fonetika, pp. 56, 276, 396-97): the segmentability of the speech chain is proved by the existence of alphabetic writing-systems, while the primary aim of phonological theories is to find for every language the most economic and usable system of writing; L. R. Zinder, Fonologija ifonetika: Teoreticeskie problemy sovetskogo jazykoznanija (Moscow, 1968), p. 213: the «¡acceptability of "hyperphonemes" is proved by the fact that they are not representable in writing; B. Collinder, "Das Wort als phonetische Einheit", Uppsala Universitetets Aarskrift II (1939): speech-sounds are those sound images (Lautgebilde) which are rendered by means of single letters in the ordinary or alphabetic writing. The Prague linguists have simply usurped the title of , phonologists , by inventing all kinds of involved terminological niceties. R. Jakobson, Selected Writings I, p. 296: "...eine Buchstabe unserer Schrift bezeichnet im Grundsatze ein Phonem". K. L. Pike, Phonemics: A Technique for Reducing Languages to Writing (Ann Arbor, 1947): that is what "phonemics" still is, when one works with languages, for which no writingsystems had been devised yet! 80 Cf. Avanesov, Fonetika, pp. 17-18: "We may prove that the creators or normalizers of ancient writing systems, i.e. men like Constantine the Philosopher and Wulfila were they too, 'natural phonologists' (stixijnye fonologi). And this is but natural for phonology deals with real and essential linguistic categories, which are bound to be reflected in phonetic writing, one way or another."



Saussure, L. Bloomfield and many others among their contemporaries) to disentangle phonetics (phonology) from orthography. 31 Now that conventional writing-systems are no longer regarded merely as "imperfect quasi-transcriptions, hopelessly lagging behind their spoken counterparts", 32 they will, doubtless, be instrumental in preserving the integrity of the 'global' phoneme; they will save it from complete dissolution — from being torn to pieces by the combined centripetal and centrifugal forces — on one side, the refinement of the distinctive-feature approach, and on the other — the elaboration of syntagmatic phonology with the concomitant 'new morphonology"s merciless prolixity of 'generative rules'! It has been proved by Vachek33 that there is little danger of the graphemes being broken up into distinctive features or any other kind of ultimate components. The discussion of phonology in relation to writing would not be complete without a glance at, at least, one of the more adjacent disciplines.34 Because of the difference between the way the speechmotor analyzer functions for oral speech and what happens 'in the transition to writing', in the latter case there can be no question of global apperception: the word must be segmented into its component sounds, which in turn must be designated by letters. Of special theoretical significance to phonology is the fact that acquisition of orthographic habits is based on 'orthographic enunciation' or 'syllabified utterance of words', i.e. strengthening of all syllabic 81

Cf. Josef Vachek, "On the Linguistic Status of Written Utterances", in Omagiu lui Alexandra Rosetti (Bucarest, 1965), 959. The following quotation from M. A. Tulov, Ob elementarnyx zvukax celoveceskoj reci i russkoj azbuke (Kiev, 1881), p. 64 will serve as an illustration: "When the syllables ba, bo, bu, be, by are pronounced it is apparent that in each of them the sound [b] is articulated in a different way... Now, since any change in the position of the organs of speech causes a change of sound, we cannot help agreeing that there are as many [b] as there are vowels to combine with it within the syllable. We do not notice the difference but even if we did, there would be no need in special graphic symbols for the different [b], as the correct pronunciation of each is fully taken care of by the following vowel (is assured or guaranteed by it)." 32 See J. Vachek, "Linguistic Status", 959. 58 Vachek, "Linguistic Status", 962-63. 84 N. I. 2inkin, Mechanisms of Speech (Janua Linguarum, series maior 13) (The Hague, Mouton, 1968), pp. 409, 411, and 454.



positions, including the weak or 'neutralized' ones. Of inestimable importance is the ensuing bringing out of the morphological structure of words: one wonders, however, if the preservation of morpheme compositions, belonging to former states in the history of a language — 'buttressing them against obliteration' — is really such a good thing from the point of view of the ordinary languageuser? The 'Inner' Approaches in Detail. — I shall assume that the lengthy disquisitions of the preceding chapters have vindicated the objective existence of (1) phonological oppositions, i.e. sound distinctions serving to fulfil the all-important semiological function and (2) of positional or combinatory differences between sounds, the linguistic functioning of which is 'concomitant', subservient to the former. I shall also take it for granted, that no linguist can fail to see the semiological significance of, e.g., the difference between [d] and [t] in English den and ten, [z] and [s] in the Russian zar ('heat') and sar ('sphere'); between [a], [o], [e] in the Russian m'al, ('crushed'), m'o/ ('swept') and m'el ('chalk') or between [e] and [ae] in the English bed and bad. In all these cases the respective speech sounds occur in identical positions or 'environments': there can be no doubt whatsoever of their having "attained the eminence" (see above, p. 22) which entitles a speech-sound to bear the proud name of 'phoneme'. But (as has also been explained above) the functioning of the 'sound-matter' (zvukovaja materija) of language, as well as the mutual relationship of different speech-sounds, is complicated by the fact that side by side with the clear-cut 'strong' positions there exist 'weak' ones in which \fonemorazlicenie' (and 'phonemicisation', the task of assigning individual sounds to this or that phoneme) offers specific and difficult problems. I believe that the various solutions proposed so far can be subsumed in the following metataxonomic divisions: (1) Sound a when it occurs in a position in which phonemes