Word Phonology in a Systemic Functional Linguistic Framework - Phonological Studies in English, German, Welsh and Tera (Nigeria) - Paul Tench

Word Phonology in a Systemic Functional Linguistic Framework - Phonological Studies in English, German, Welsh and Tera (Nigeria) - Paul Tench

Phonology of Complex Words in English

Word Phonology in a Systemic Functional Linguistic Framework - Phonological Studies in English, German, Welsh and Tera (Nigeria) - Paul Tench

Paul Tench [+-]
Cardiff University (retired)
Paul Tench was formerly Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University, Wales. He retired in 2007 after more than 40 years in full-time academic life and is now active as a Research Associate at Cardiff. His main teaching responsibilities were in phonetics, the phonology of English, applied linguistics in language teaching and introductions to Systemic-Functional Linguistics. His research focussed mainly on the description of British English intonation, which resulted in The Roles of Intonation in English Discourse (1990), the Intonation Systems of English (1996) and Transcribing the Sound of English (2011) and many journal articles. His first major publication was Pronunciation Skills (1981). Since retirement he has devoted time to exploring system networks at the level of word phonology, and to working with minority language groups in devising orthographies for hitherto unwritten languages in Nigeria and Zambia. His publications can be viewed in http://www.paultenchdocs.co.uk/.

Description

In this chapter we extend our presentation of the phonology of English words from free, basic, monomorphemic words to a consideration of words with complex structures, i.e. with affixes and compound elements. Linguists in the SFL tradition have been preoccupied with the grammar of the clause and have not shown a great deal of interest in morphology; it barely gets a mention beyond an acknowledgement that morphemes exist as the very smallest unit in the grammatical hierarchy (see Halliday et al. 1964: 51; Berry 1975: 91; Young 1980: 13–14; Halliday 1984: 20; Thompson 1996: 20; Downing and Locke 2004: 10, 13; Halliday and Matthiessen 2004: 9; Fontaine 2013: 35). For this reason, we must seek support from elsewhere, from other traditions including psycholinguists such as Aitchison (2003). We will show how the principal features of Systemic Phonology apply to complex, polymorphemic words as well as simple, free forms. Affixes, i.e. bound morphemes, provide specifications of details of a grammatical nature to the meanings of the words and stems that they are attached to. Likewise, compound elements provide a more specific focus of the meaning of the words and stems they are attached to. Just as the primary function of phonology is to provide a (more or less) unique spoken form of all the units that make up a language’s lexicogrammar, this applies to affixes and compound structures too. We noted that typically words in citation form are represented in phonology as feet, which display a prosodic shape and a structure of syllables, which themselves have a structure of phonemes. In the case of compound words in citation form, there are two elements, each represented by a foot, but one subordinate to the other as an ‘extension’; however, in a small number of cases the second element is simply an unstressed syllable. In the case of affixes, the matching phonology is the syllable and phoneme. We will deal with the bound morphemes of affixes first, where, traditionally, a division has been established between affixes that designate either inflections or derivations. Inflections indicate the addition of a grammatical category to a word that does not alter their word class designation, whereas derivations indicate a change of word class or an additional category of meaning. We consider inflections first, and then derivations, with a brief interlude on numerals that share some features of both. And then, finally, compounds.

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Citation

Tench, Paul. Phonology of Complex Words in English. Word Phonology in a Systemic Functional Linguistic Framework - Phonological Studies in English, German, Welsh and Tera (Nigeria). Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 55-77 Aug 2024. ISBN 9781800503212. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=44117. Date accessed: 24 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44117. Aug 2024

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