Variation in Norm
13 Universal and typological aspects
13.1 Phoneme inventories and numerical differences The table which follows gives an overview of the vocalic phoneme inventories as they have been established for all the standard varieties of the three modern West Germanic languages under study. For each system it lists the total number of distinctive vocalic segments, the number of monophthongs, and the number of different (monophthongal) vowel qualities. Total number of number of number of different distinctive segments monophthongs vowel qualities AmE c. 14 (16) 11 (13) 11 (13) AmE p. 13 (15) 10 (12) 10 (12) BrE c. 15 (17) 12 (14) 12 (14) BrE p. 15 (17) 12 (14) 12 (14) G c. 19 16 14 G p. 18 15 15 D c. 16 13 13 D p. 16 13 13 Table 14: Vocalic phoneme inventories and different vowel qualities 13.1.1 Traditional vs. minimalist analysis of English vowel systems It has become evident in the present study that the act of establishing phoneme inventories and describing vowel systems is critically dependent upon and in some cases considerably determined by the way the analyst defines or interprets linguistic primes and concepts and what principles and procedures he or she fol lows in the analysis. Theoretical considerations and decisions made on issues of this kind frequently lead to different results in the overall description. Crucial aspects of such dependencies have come to the fore particularly in the chapters dealing with the English systems. 170 In the table above, the first numbers listed for the systems of English...
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