phonoloblog reading group

In my last post I mentioned wanting to read the following paper just published in Phonology:

Generative phonology in the late 1940s (pp 37 – 59)
John A. Goldsmith

I’ve now read it, and I’d like to suggest that the two or three people who might be reading these words read it, too, so we can have a little online discussion about it. If you don’t have access to the journal, you can find a pre-print here (a quick skim reveals it to be about 95% identical in content to the published version). You might also want to heed the encouragement that Goldsmith offers in the next-to-last paragraph:

Needless to say, I encourage the reader to read Wells’ paper for himself, and to judge whether it is not a cautious and careful exegesis of the benefits that can be reaped from derivational analysis, aimed at an audience that was leery of confusing synchronic and diachronic analysis. As a phonologist working at the beginning of the 21st century, I would argue that we should not characterise the work of linguists such as Wells, Harris and Hockett as the last gasp of a dying structuralism, but as a body of scholarship out of which generative phonology was a natural development.
Surely this conclusion is reasonable and, ultimately, not at all surprising. My admiration for generative phonology is in no way diminished by the realisation that its key ideas were being considered and developed by the mid 1940s. It is, after all, the ideas that matter to us now.

(And if that JSTOR link doesn’t work for ya, try this.)

OK, we’ll reconvene sometime next week. I’ll plan to start, but if anyone feels like chiming in before I do, please feel free.

8 thoughts on “phonoloblog reading group

  1. Ed Keer

    I haven’t fully finished the paper (i’ve read through section 6), but I wanted to get some notions out there in note form before I lose them.

    1) There are obvious ties between this paper and the Mr. Verb affair

    2) The whole section on Harris’s thoughts on rule ordering reminds me of discussion Eric and I have had around richness of the base.

    Look forward to exploring these and other ideas in more detail!

  2. Jonah Katz

    I’m having a bit of trouble piecing together what the ‘static’ analysis actually consists of. Is it basically a statement such as ‘morpheme X surfaces as i in context j, but k in context l’?

  3. Eric Bakovic

    Ed — remind me about that RotB discussion. I forget.

    Jonah — I think that’s correct. The whole static vs. dynamic thing is probably worth discussion, which I encourage you to start if you want. (As a new post would be best, I think.)

    Marc, I’m happy you’ll join us. Next week looks like it’ll be just in time — I was hoping to get to my own topic-for-discussion by now, but I’m still working on the post. (I was just released from jury duty about an hour ago…)

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