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''Phonetic bases of distinctive features'': Introduction

Abstract : Distinctive features have long been involved in the study of spoken language, and in one form or another remain central to the study of phonological patterning within and across languages. However, their phonetic nature as well as their role in mental representation, speech production and speech processing has been a matter of less agreement. Many phoneticians consider features to be too abstract for the purposes of phonetic study, and have tended to explore alternative models for representing speech (e.g., gestures, prototypes, exemplars). Psycholinguists, too, have sometimes hesitated to integrate features into their models, often preferring to work with traditional phonetic categories, segments, or syllables. The resulting breach between the representational categories of phonology on the one hand and those of the experimental speech sciences on the other has tended to increase the gap between phonology, phonetics and psycholinguistics, challenging the underpinnings of the movement to reintegrate these approaches (Laboratory Phonology). Compounding this problem is the fact that much of the experimentalist's under- standing of features is still based on largely outdated theories of thirty or forty years ago, due in large part to the absence of accessible recent overviews of the subject. It would therefore seem useful to provide an up-to-date overview of the phonetic bases of distinctive feature theory as it is conceived at the present time. The papers collected in this issue emanate, for the most part, from a conference on the theme ''Phonetic Bases of Distinctive Features''heldattheCarre ́desSciences,MinisteﰀreDe ́le ́gue ́dela Recherche, Paris, on July 3, 2006. This conference gathered a number of specialists from several disciplines within linguistics and the speech sciences to exchange views on the phonetic bases of distinctive features from a variety of perspectives. The larger goal was to address current issues in feature theory and to take a step towards synthesizing recent advances in order to present a current ''state of the art'' of the field. These brief introductory remarks will attempt to lay out the theme as it was addressed by the conference participants.
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George N. Clements, Pierre Hallé. ''Phonetic bases of distinctive features'': Introduction. Journal of Phonetics, Elsevier, 2010, 1 (38), pp.3-9. ⟨10.1016/j.wocn.2010.01.004⟩. ⟨halshs-00684211⟩

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