Phonology in Generative Grammar

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This is the most comprehensive and current introduction to phonological theory and analysis. Presupposing only minimal background in linguistics, the book introduces the basic concepts and principles of phonological analysis and then systematically develops the major innovations in the generative model since Chomsky and Halle's Sound Patterns of English (1968). Careful study of the text will enable the student to read the current scholarly literature with critical understanding and some perspective. Some unique features of the book include a set of exercises reinforcing the basic concepts and principles, illustrations from a variety of languages based on published and unpublished materials, a survey of all the major lines of research in phonological theory, and an extensive bibliography.

Phonology in Generative Grammar is supported by an instructor's manual.

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My morphology professor showed this book to the class, describing it as a phonology textbook for graduate students. We undergraduates laughed together because this was our textbook for our first phonology course. "So, that's why I hated reading it." Then again, most of the students who had read the book in intro were competent phonologists. That is the central weakness and strength of this book. Being written for graduate students, the book is uncompromisingly dense and formal. I don't how many times I dozed off reading the text. If you're interested phonology because you liked the cool things that you saw in 101, this book will suck the life out of you. However, if you read it and take it seriously, your patience is rewarded. The students that read the book and took notes got A's in the class and A's in other classes. The formalism strengthens the reader's critical thinking and intellectual precision. Moreover, students with this book not only become able phonologists, but they can engage the field at the theoretic level. Simply put, this book makes its readers better phonologists -- and better linguists. And that's that: when I go to grad school, I'm taking this book with me. 

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About the author (1994)

Michael Kenstowicz is Professor of Linguistics at MIT. He taught previously at the University of Venice and at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He is author (with Charles Kisseberth) of Generative Phonology (1979).

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