What is phonology?
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What Does phonology Mean
The union that establishes the etymological origin of the concept phonology is that of the Greek terms phonos which means "sound"; logos that can be translated as "study" and the suffix -ia which is synonymous with "quality or action".
The phonology is accepted as a branch of linguistics whose exponents have as an object of study to the phonic elements , taking into account their distinctive and functional value. Just as phonetics contemplates the analysis of the acoustic and physiological profile of sounds, phonology is in charge of interpreting the way in which sounds arise at an abstract or mental level.
Specialists identify as minimal pairs those words that refer to different things and that only differ from each other based on a sound. Two minimal pairs differ in their underlying phonemic representation in at least one phoneme. Examples of these kinds of terms would be "mass" and "house" , or "mouth" and "rock . "
It should be noted that a phoneme is identified by certain phonetic features, although its specific pronunciation depends on the context that sets its other relevant phonetic characteristics. In all languages , most phonemes are subspecified.
Among the main phonetic features that are taken into account to distinguish phonemes are their consonantness , their syllabicity , their sonoranticity , their sonority and aspiration , their mode of articulation and their point or place of articulation .
In phonetic transcription, the most widely used system is the one supported by the International Phonetic Association (AFI) , an entity that in 1886 brought to light an International Phonetic Alphabet for the standardization of the graphic symbols used to establish the pronunciation of every language dominated by man.
This alphabet includes a basic flow of signs, which are complemented by diacritical signs that allow a large number of possible combinations and allow the representation of a considerable amount of articulatory subtleties .
When talking about phonology we have to determine that, although throughout history there have been many professional linguists who have determined its development, one of the most important has undoubtedly been the Russian Nikólai Trubetzkoy who made what is considered one of the great works for the study of the aforementioned subject. This is the book entitled Principles of phonology , which was published posthumously in 1939.
Along with this character, considered the father of structural phonology, are other compatriots who also left their deep mark in the aforementioned area. This would be the case of Roman Jakobson who stood out greatly for the different studies he undertook within what was children's language. These turned out to be quite an innovation, as was the research he carried out on aphasias, which he divided into paradigmatic and syntagmatic anomalies.
To both phonologists, one must inevitably add the Frenchman André Martinet, who brilliantly continued the theories and principles set forth by Trubetzkoy. Of the entire career of this Gallic linguist, it is worth highlighting his work entitled Economics of phonetic changes , published in 1955, which is considered the first and only great work on diachronic phonology.