« ZurückWeiter »
phonetic one. It is most certainly true that, however likely it is that at last analysis patternings of sounds are based on natural classifications, the pattern feeling, once established, may come to have a linguistic reality over and above, though perhaps never entirely at variance. with, such classifications. We are not here concerned with the historical reasons for such phonetic vagaries. The fact is that, even from a purely descriptive standpoint, it is not nonsense to say that, e.g., the s or w of one linguistic pattern is not necessarily the same thing as the s or w of another.
It is time to escape from a possible charge of phonetic metaphysics and to face the question, "How can a sound be assigned a 'place' in a phonetic pattern over and above its natural classification on organic and acoustic grounds?" The answer is simple. "A 'place' is intuitively found for a sound (which is here thought of as a true 'point in the pattern,' not a mere conditional variant) in such a system because of a general feeling of its phonetic relationship resulting from all the specific phonetic relationships (such as parallelism, contrast, combination, imperviousness to combination, and so on) to all other sounds." These relationships may, or may not, involve morphological processes (e.g., the fact that in English we have morphological alternations like wife: wives, sheath: to sheathe, breath: to breathe, mouse: to mouse helps to give the sounds f, e, s an intuitive pattern relation to their voiced correlates v, d, z which is specifically different from the theoretically analogous relation p, t, k: b, d, g; in English, ƒ is nearer to v than p is to b, but in German this is certainly not true).
An example or two of English sound-patterning will help us to fix our thoughts. P, t, and k belong together in a coherent set because, among other reasons: 1, they may occur initially, medially, or finally; 2, they may be preceded by s in all positions (e.g. spoon: cusp, star: hoist; scum: ask); 3, they may be followed by r initially and medially; 4, they may be preceded by s and followed by r initially and medially; 5, each has a voiced correspondent (b, d, g); 6, unlike such sounds as f and 0, they cannot alternate significantly with their voiced correspondents; 7, they have no tendency to be closely associated, either phonetically or morphologically, with corresponding spirants (p:f and t:0 are not intuitively correct for English; contrast Old Irish and Hebrew t:0, k:x, which were intuitively felt relations-Old Irish and Hebrew and were absolutely different types of sounds, psychologically, from English and German x). These are merely a few of the relations which help to give p, t, k their pattern place in English.
A second example is n of sing. In spite of what phoneticians tell us about this sound (b:m as d:n as g:n), no naïve English-speaking person can be made to feel in his bones that it belongs to a single series with m and n. Psychologically it cannot be grouped with them because, unlike them, it is not a freely movable consonant (there are no words beginning with 7). It still feels like ng, however little it sounds like it. The relation ant: and = sink:sing is psychologically as well as historically correct. Orthography is by no means solely responsible for the "ng feeling" of 7. Cases like -ng- in finger and anger do not disprove the reality of this feeling, for there is in English a pattern equivalence of -ng-:-n and -nd-:-nd. What cases like singer with -7- indicate is not so much a pattern difference -ng-:-n-, which is not to be construed as analogous to -nd-:-n- (e.g. window: winnow), as an analogical treatment of medial elements in terms of their final form (singer:sing like cutter: cut).
To return to our phonetic patterns for C and D, we can now better understand why it is possible to consider a sibilant like j as less closely related in pattern to its voiceless form & than to such a set of voiced continuants as v, r, m, n. We might find, for instance, that never alternates with j, but that there are cases of §:♪ analogous to cases of f:ß and x:y; that ava, aja, ara alternate with au, ai, ar; that combinations like -aßd, -adg, -ayd are possible, but that combinations of type -ajd and -avd are unthinkable; that v- and j- are possible initials, like r-, m-, and 7-, but that ß-, -, 7-, y- are not allowed. The product of such and possibly other sound relations would induce a feeling that j belongs with v, r, m, n; that it is related to i; and that it has nothing to do with such spirants as & and 8. In other words, it "feels" like the y of many other languages, and, as y itself is absent in D, we can go so far as to say that j occupies a "place in the pattern" that belongs to y elsewhere.
In this paper I do not wish to go into the complex and tangled
Incidentally, if our theory is correct, such a form as singer betrays an unconscious analysis into a word of absolute significance sing and a semi-independent agentive element -er, which is appended not to a stem, an abstracted radical element, but to a true word. Hence sing: singer is not psychologically analogous to such Latin forms as can-: can-tor. It would almost seem that the English insistence on the absoluteness of its significant words tended at the same time to give many of its derivative suffixes a secondary, revitalized reality. -er, for instance, might almost be construed as a "word" which occurs only as the second element of a compound, cf. -man in words like longshoreman. As Prof. L. Bloomfield points out to me, the agentive -er contrasts with the comparative -er, which allows the adjective to keep its radical form in -ng- (e.g., long with -n: longer with -ng-).
problems of the nature and generality of sound changes in language. All that I wish to point out here is that it is obviously not immaterial to understand how a sound patterns if we are to understand its history. Of course, it is true that mechanical sound changes may bring about serious readjustments of phonetic pattern and may even create new configurations within the pattern (in Modern Central Tibetan, e.g., we have b-, d-, g-: B'-, D'-, G-," while in classical Tibetan we have, as correspondents, mb-, nd-, ng-: b-, d-, g-; mb-, nd-, ng- are here to be morphologically analyzed as nasal prefix + b-, d-, g-). But it is equally true that the pattern feeling acts as a hindrance of, or stimulus to, certain sound changes and that it is not permissible to look for universally valid sound changes under like articulatory conditions. Certain typical mechanical tendencies there are (e.g. nb > mb or -az> -as or tya> tša), but a complete theory of sound change has to take constant account of the orientation of sounds in our sense. Let one example do for many. We do not in English feel that is to be found in the neighborhood, as it were, of s, but that it is very close to d. In Spanish, is not far from s, but is not at all close to 8.8 Is it not therefore more than an accident that nowhere in Germanic does become s or proceed from s, while in certain Spanish dialects, as so frequently elsewhere, passes into s (in Athabaskan @ often proceeds from s)? In English tends to be vulgarized to t as & tends to be vulgarized to d, never to s; similarly, Old Norse has become t in Swedish and Danish. Such facts are impressive. explained on simple mechanical principles.
They cannot be
Phonetic patterning helps also to explain why people find it difficult to pronounce certain foreign sounds which they possess in their own. language. Thus, a Nootka Indian in pronouncing English words with nor invariably substitutes n for each of these sounds. Yet he is able to pronounce both ŋ and l. He does not use these sounds in prose discourse, but 7 is very common in the chants and I is often substituted for n in songs. His feeling for the stylistic character of and for the n-l equivalence prevents him from "hearing" English 7 and correctly. Here again we see that a speech sound is not merely an articulation or an acoustic image, but material for symbolic expression in an appropriate linguistic context. Very instructive is our attitude towards the English sounds j, n, and ts. All 7 B, D, G represent intermediate stops, "tonlose Medien." In this series they are followed by aspiration.
The slight objective differences between English and Spanish 0 and 8 are of course not great enough to force a different patterning. Such a view would be putting the cart before the horse.
three of these sounds are familiar to us (e.g. azure, sing, hats). None occurs initially. For all that the attempt to pronounce them initially in foreign words is not reacted to in the same way. na- and tsaare naïvely felt to be incredible, not so ja-, which is easily acquired without replacement by dja- or ša-. Why is this? na- is incredible because there is no mba-, nda-, n(g)a- series in English. tsa- is incredible because there is no psa-, tsa-, ksa-, series in English; -ts is always morphologically analyzable into t +-s, hence no feeling develops for ts as a simple phoneme despite the fact that its phonetic parallel tš (ch of church) is found in all positions. But ja- is not difficult, say in learning French, because its articulation and perception have been mastered by implication in the daily use of our phonetic pattern. This is obvious from a glance at the formula:
Is it not evident that the English speaker's pattern has all but taught him j- before he himself has ever used or heard an actual j-?
There are those who are so convinced of the adequacy of purely objective methods of studying speech sounds that they do not hesitate to insert phonetic graphs into the body of their descriptive grammars. This is to confuse linguistic structure with a particular method of studying linguistic phenomena. If it is justifiable in a grammatical work to describe the vocalic system of a language in terms of kymograph records, 1o it is also proper to insert anecdotes into the morphology to show how certain modes or cases happened to come in handy. And a painter might as well be allowed to transfer to his canvas his unrevised palette! The whole aim and spirit of this paper has been to show that phonetic phenomena are not physical phenomena per se, however necessary in the preliminary stages of inductive linguistic research it may be to get at the phonetic facts by way of their physical embodiment. The present discussion is really a special illustration of the necessity of getting behind the sense data of any type of expression in order to grasp the intuitively felt and communicated forms which alone give significance to such expression.
'Obviously we need not expect -ts and -tš to develop analogously even if s and & do.
10 Needless to say, such records are in place in studies explicitly devoted to experimental phonetics.
LINGUISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGY
ALBERT P. WEISS
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
For those psychologists for whom psychology is a study of the conditions known as the cultural status of the individual, or the anthropological status of the group, the study of the language mechanisms is taking on a new aspect. Language as a form of behavior through which the individual adjusts himself to a social environment, is not the same thing as language as a medium of expression of so-called subjective desires, hopes, and aspirations. As a form of behavior, language represents biological, physiological, and social conditions; as a medium of expression, it assumes the existence of non-physical forces or types of psychical energy whose existence has not been adequately demonstrated. Therefore, when the psychologist finds himself confronted with the request to make a "psychological" explanation, or a "psychological" interpretation of a careful and detailed linguistic investigation, he is unable to add anything and if anything is added it often only obscures the investigation.
The great gap between the achievements of the modern man and the anthropoid apes or some of the highly socialized bees, wasps, ants, can best be understood as due to the absence of language in the animals. The acuity of man's senses can be matched by those of many animals, his strength and unaided skill is surpassed by others. With respect to vision and audition for instance, the behavior of the lone individual is limited to a space of a few meters in the immediate vicinity of his body or at most to within a few kilometers from the top of a hill or mountain. For the other senses, taste, smell, touch, etc., the range is even less. From a mere consideration of man's position in the scale of biological development, his libraries, museums, telephones, cinema, microscopes, telescopes, and sky-scrapers, seem incomprehensible.
Human achievement, as compared with animal achievement, differentiates itself particularly through its greater variety and through its coöperative character. The essential condition for producing these