Contributions of the Eighth International Conference on Formal Description of Slavic Languages – FDSL VIII 2009 University of Potsdam, December 2-5, 2009
I. Phonetics & Phonology 11
I. Phonetics & Phonology Structure of syllables in Czech Aleš Bian In the following paper we will describe the syllable in present standard Czech. In particular, we will focus on syllable-initial and syllable-final consonantal combinations and the way their structure can be predicted from the model called distributional unit, originally developed by JAN MULDER (1968, 1989). The sa- me model was used by EL-SHAKFEH (1987) for English, and it was applied on other languages, too. Something similar to the tree schemes we present for Czech at the end of this paper was offered for English e.g. by WHORF (1940; reproduced in GOLDSMITH 2009) and FUDGE (1969). They, however, used a dif- ferent theoretical background. 1. Preliminaries Every description must be based upon a certain theoretical framework. We have chosen to follow the theory of functional phonology originally conceived by the Prague School and NIKOLAI TRUBETZKOY (1939), later developed by ANDRÉ Martinet and his school (MARTINET 1991, AKAMATSU 1992) and further expanded and formalized by Jan Mulder and his followers (MULDER 1968, 1989, EL-SHAKFEH 1987). Functional phonology views phonemes as unordered bundles of distinctive features. Phonemes enter into mutual paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations, oppositions and contrasts, respectively. Oppositions are valid if there is some relevant paradigmatic difference between two or more phonological entities. Similarly, contrasts are valid if there is some relevant syntagmatic difference between phonological entities. However, both oppositions and contrasts may become invalid if some differences become irrelevant, i.e. if they are canceled under clearly defined circumstances. In that case...
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