Hidden Structure in Linguistics: The Organization of Sound Systems



Playing this video requires the latest flash player from Adobe.

Download link (right click and 'save-as') for playing in VLC or other f4v compatible player.


Recording Details

Speaker(s): 
Collection/Series: 
PIRSA Number: 
13010017

Abstract

I
will discuss some basic notions in the theory of phonology (sound systems
in language). The sounds of a language are generally assumed to be
composed of smaller constituents, called features. The features that
make up a sound cannot be directly obtained from its pronunciation, but
rather must be inferred from the system of contrasts that are at play
in a particular language. How to determine which features are contrastive
presents a logical and empirical puzzle that may be interesting
to students of physics, who are accustomed to explaining observable events
in terms of hidden structures that cannot be directly observed.