Phonetic Segments and the Organization of Speech

Philosophy of Science 86 (2):304-324 (2019)
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Abstract

According to mainstream linguistic phonetics, speech can be modeled as a string of discrete sound segments or “phones” drawn from a universal phonetic inventory. Recent work has argued that a mature phonetics should refrain from theorizing about speech and speech processing using sound segments, and that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory. The paper lays out the tenets of the phone methodology and evaluates its prospects in light of the eliminativist arguments. I claim that the eliminativist arguments fail to show that the phone concept should be eliminated from linguistic theory.

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Luca Gasparri
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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