Conquer Primal Fear: Phonological Features are Innate and Substance-Free
Charles Reiss, Veno Volenec
November 2020
 

Our main goal in this paper is to sketch a neurobiologically grounded view of the symbolic primes of phonological representations, features. Before doing so, we discuss the nature of phonological computation and we argue that the innateness of features remains the best hypothesis for their origin in individuals. We offer these concrete arguments about various aspects of phonological primes in the hope of mitigating an apparent pandemic of primal fear in the field--—a resistance to positing innate primes, born of an unjustified and tenacious empiricist bias. In brief, we present a model of phonological competence in which both the computational part and the representational part are substance-free, and we argue that the primes of phonological representations, features, are innate brain-based symbols related to--—but distinct from--—phonetic substance.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005683
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted to Canadian Journal of Linguistics
keywords: features, innateness, phonology, substance-free phonology, cognitive phonetics, phonology
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