Backwards Phonology


Bear, J. (1990). Backwards phonology. In COLING 1990 Volume 3: Papers presented to the 13th International Conference on Computational Linguistics.


This paper constitutes an investigation into the generative capabilities of two-level phonology with respect to unilevel generative phonological rules. Proponents of two-level phonology have claimed, but not demonstrated, that two-level rules and grammars of two-level rules are reversible and that grammars of unilevel rules are not. This paper makes “reversibility” explicit and demonstrates by means of examples from Tunica and Klamath that two-level phonology does have certain desirable capabilities that are not found in grammars of unilevel rules.

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