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Book Chapter

Are there brain bases for phonological markedness?


Scharinger,  Mathias
Department of Language and Literature, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Scharinger, M. (2017). Are there brain bases for phonological markedness? In B. D. Samuels (Ed.), Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology (pp. 191-218). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-0C29-3
Pursuing the question of whether there are brain bases for phonological markedness necessitates an empirical and testable approach. This approach – put forward in this chapter – is couched in a theory of phonological feature specification and tested with brain imaging methods, with an emphasis on electrophysiology, encompassing electro- and magnetoencephalographic experiments. After sketching the theoretical background and introducing the basics of the reported brain measures, the chapter contains a review of some electrophysiological findings with their re-interpretation from the point of view of phonological markedness. Furthermore, the feature-approach is contrasted with a proposed reduction of phonological markedness to frequency-of-occurrence relations. Altogether, the review provides some important suggestions and starting points for further looking into the neurobiological reality of phonological markedness.