This breakthrough study argues for a significant link between phonetics and phonology. Its authors propose that phonological rules and representations are tightly constrained by the interaction of formal conditions drawn from a limited universal pool and substantive conditions of a phonetically motivated nature. They support this proposal through principled accounts of a variety of topics such as vowel harmony, neutrality, and under specification.
Unlike much work on this topic, Archangeli and Pulleyblank provide an explicit account of their assumptions, defined in a comprehensive theory of phonological rules and representations. The authors survey an impressive range of data, including an investigation of cross-linguistic patterns of ATR Harmony. They demonstrate that their theory is flexible enough to account for variation in individual phonological systems, yet it is firmly constrained by a small set of well-motivated principles. Extensive references throughout the book to published and unpublished work provide a valuable roadmap through this semicharted terrain.
The approach in Grounded Phonology is modular, in that it presents a theory composed of subtheories, each of which is independently motivated, and the role of each module is to constrain the range of possibilities (of wellformedness)in its domain. Differences among languages can arise from differing intramodular selections or from interaction among modules.
Diana Archangeli is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Arizona. Douglas Pulleyblank is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of British Columbia.