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The Status of the Concept of 'Phoneme' in Psycholinguistics

Uppstad, Per Henning LU and Tonnessen, Finn Egil (2010) In Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 39(5). p.429-442
Abstract
The notion of the phoneme counts as a break-through of modern theoretical linguistics in the early twentieth century. It paved the way for descriptions of distinctive features at different levels in linguistics. Although it has since then had a turbulent existence across altering theoretical positions, it remains a powerful concept of a fundamental unit in spoken language. At the same time, its conceptual status remains highly unclear. The present article aims to clarify the status of the concept of 'phoneme' in psycholinguistics, based on the scientific concepts of description, understanding and explanation. Theoretical linguistics has provided mainly descriptions. The ideas underlying this article are, first, that these descriptions may... (More)
The notion of the phoneme counts as a break-through of modern theoretical linguistics in the early twentieth century. It paved the way for descriptions of distinctive features at different levels in linguistics. Although it has since then had a turbulent existence across altering theoretical positions, it remains a powerful concept of a fundamental unit in spoken language. At the same time, its conceptual status remains highly unclear. The present article aims to clarify the status of the concept of 'phoneme' in psycholinguistics, based on the scientific concepts of description, understanding and explanation. Theoretical linguistics has provided mainly descriptions. The ideas underlying this article are, first, that these descriptions may not be directly relevant to psycholinguistics and, second, that psycholinguistics in this sense is not a sub-discipline of theoretical linguistics. Rather, these two disciplines operate with different sets of features and with different orientations when it comes to the scientific concepts of description, understanding and explanation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Functional linguistics, Connectionism, Linguistic sign, Arbitrariness
in
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research
volume
39
issue
5
pages
429 - 442
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000282326900004
  • scopus:77957261757
ISSN
0090-6905
DOI
10.1007/s10936-010-9149-8
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8c6212a0-3fe5-4e32-99f1-85e4893a3588 (old id 1727021)
date added to LUP
2010-11-26 15:01:31
date last changed
2018-05-29 09:34:00
@article{8c6212a0-3fe5-4e32-99f1-85e4893a3588,
  abstract     = {The notion of the phoneme counts as a break-through of modern theoretical linguistics in the early twentieth century. It paved the way for descriptions of distinctive features at different levels in linguistics. Although it has since then had a turbulent existence across altering theoretical positions, it remains a powerful concept of a fundamental unit in spoken language. At the same time, its conceptual status remains highly unclear. The present article aims to clarify the status of the concept of 'phoneme' in psycholinguistics, based on the scientific concepts of description, understanding and explanation. Theoretical linguistics has provided mainly descriptions. The ideas underlying this article are, first, that these descriptions may not be directly relevant to psycholinguistics and, second, that psycholinguistics in this sense is not a sub-discipline of theoretical linguistics. Rather, these two disciplines operate with different sets of features and with different orientations when it comes to the scientific concepts of description, understanding and explanation.},
  author       = {Uppstad, Per Henning and Tonnessen, Finn Egil},
  issn         = {0090-6905},
  keyword      = {Functional linguistics,Connectionism,Linguistic sign,Arbitrariness},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {429--442},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Journal of Psycholinguistic Research},
  title        = {The Status of the Concept of 'Phoneme' in Psycholinguistics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10936-010-9149-8},
  volume       = {39},
  year         = {2010},
}