Chapter published in:Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology
Edited by Bridget D. Samuels
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 241] 2017
► pp. 219–232
There is no place for markedness in biologically-informed phonology
Markedness is a pervasive notion in theories of language. In some phonological theories or models, it very much occupies a prominent position. In this chapter it is argued that the notion of markedness is not useful to our understanding of phonology and language in general, for two reasons. The first is that the notion of markedness has convincingly been shown in the literature to be a confusing label for a variety of things, all of which can be explained independently. The second is that if phonology is to be understood as part of a biological system (which we call language), its components must be amenable to investigation in the cognitive and biological sciences. The notion of markedness as part of a phonological component does not seem to qualify for any meaningful kind of investigation in that respect. It follows that markedness has no place in biologically-informed phonology.
Keywords: markedness, biology of language, phonological theories, ontology
Published online: 16 November 2017
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