A Quantitative Framework for Phonology
Various parameters pertaining to selection and sequencing patterns are defined on phonological chains broadly transcribed. We apply some multivariate schemes with these parameters to produce quantitative frames for the phonological study of part of the Sankoff-Cedergren corpus of Montreal French, containing more than half a million phonological units. The frames bring a quantitative description for the notion of phonological plane with its paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes. We generalize the procedure to describe more precisely sequencing patterns of the phonological chain with various planes and spaces. We also show that there is a quantitative interpretation, in terms of our variables, for the usual but imprecise distinction between the registers of Montreal French. The same methodology can be used for the similar planes defined in the upper language hierarchy, and for a new quantitative description of perturbed languages based on the direct observation of spontaneous language chains.