If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Primary Features and Their Enhancement in Consonants

Kenneth N. Stevens and Samuel Jay Keyser
Language
Vol. 65, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 81-106
DOI: 10.2307/414843
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/414843
Page Count: 26
  • Download PDF
  • Cite this Item

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Primary Features and Their Enhancement in Consonants
Preview not available

Abstract

Among the distinctive features for consonants, we distinguish a set of primary features that are perceptually the most salient. The strength with which a primary feature is manifested in a given sound is influenced by the secondary features that co-occur with it. The features [sonorant], [continuant] and [coronal] are designated as primary, and this designation applies in all of the eight possible configurations in which they occur. The features [anterior] and [lateral] are also designated as primary, but only under restricted conditions. We examine systematically which combinations of secondary features provide maximal enhancement of the acoustic manifestations of the primary features. This analysis leads to an inventory of eleven preferred feature combinations or segments. There is a close fit between this preferred inventory and a list of the most frequently occurring segments in the languages of the world, based on Maddieson 1984. This match constitutes support for the view that the frequently occurring feature combinations in the languages of the world come about because those combinations maximize perceptual distinctiveness through the mechanism of feature enhancement. It is suggested that these concepts of enhancement and of preferred feature combinations are directly relevant to the notion of markedness.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
81
    81
  • Thumbnail: Page 
82
    82
  • Thumbnail: Page 
83
    83
  • Thumbnail: Page 
84
    84
  • Thumbnail: Page 
85
    85
  • Thumbnail: Page 
86
    86
  • Thumbnail: Page 
87
    87
  • Thumbnail: Page 
88
    88
  • Thumbnail: Page 
89
    89
  • Thumbnail: Page 
90
    90
  • Thumbnail: Page 
91
    91
  • Thumbnail: Page 
92
    92
  • Thumbnail: Page 
93
    93
  • Thumbnail: Page 
94
    94
  • Thumbnail: Page 
95
    95
  • Thumbnail: Page 
96
    96
  • Thumbnail: Page 
97
    97
  • Thumbnail: Page 
98
    98
  • Thumbnail: Page 
99
    99
  • Thumbnail: Page 
100
    100
  • Thumbnail: Page 
101
    101
  • Thumbnail: Page 
102
    102
  • Thumbnail: Page 
103
    103
  • Thumbnail: Page 
104
    104
  • Thumbnail: Page 
105
    105
  • Thumbnail: Page 
106
    106