The Phonology of German

The Phonology of German

The Phonology of German

The Phonology of German

Synopsis

This book is the most complete and up-to-date description of the phonology of German presently available. It applies recent models of phonological theory, putting articular emphasis on the interaction of morphology and phonology. It focuses on the present-day standard language, but includes discussions of other variants and registers.

Excerpt

As a student of linguistics, I experienced phonology as the least interesting of the core areas of linguistics. It seemed obvious that classical phonology involved a few mechanical procedures, leading to the (never quite satisfactory) discovery of phonemes and allophones, while generative phonology (if presented at all) seemed to suffer from excessive abstractness and other problems. The general picture presented was that the important questions of linguistics were asked (if not answered) in other domains, such as in syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. This experience (doubtlessly shared by many contemporary students) led me to pursue other interests for a long period.

But eventually it turned out that phonology was not just a stock of uninteresting pieces of dead knowledge. Rather, in phonology, general questions on the nature of human language and its principles can be studied, which are of the same kind as questions and problems in other domains of grammatical theory. Following this discovery, I started to think about the phonological structure of my own language a number of years ago. The present book is the result and summary of these considerations.

Many colleagues have helped and supported this project in various ways during the past years. Jacques Durand has been the instigator, of the study by kindly suggesting that I write it for this series and by helping me along all the way. I have been very fortunate and privileged in that a number of colleagues in various places, particularly along the lower Rhine in Düsseldorf and Cologne, have provided numerous occasions for discussion and have read large parts of the manuscript. Heinz Giegerich and Tracy Hall have been particularly constructive and critical with their many insights and suggestions. It is quite likely that I should have taken better notice of their advice. Geert Booij, Ray Fabri, Michael Jessen, Renate Raffelsiefen, Karl Heinz Ramers, Monika Rothweiler, Heinz Vater, Dieter Wunderlich, and Si-Taek Yu have also been very helpful by reading various parts of the manuscript and pointing out problems and weaknesses. Hans-Willi Cuypers and Tim Skellett have been very careful in helping me with proofreading, and with work on the references and indexes.

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