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Language Sciences

Volume 29, Issues 2–3, March–May 2007, Pages 117-153

English phonology and linguistic theory: an introduction to issues, and to ‘Issues in English Phonology’

Author links open overlay panelPhilipCarraPatrickHoneyboneb []Get rights and content


Data from the phonology of English has been crucial in the development of phonological and sociophonological theory throughout its recent past. If we had not had English to investigate, we claim, with both its unique and its widely-shared phonological phenomena, linguistic theory might have developed quite differently. In this article, we document some of the ways in which particular English phonological phenomena have driven theoretical developments in phonology and related areas, as a contribution to the history of recent phonological theorising. As we do this, we set in their context the other individual articles in the Special Issue of Language Sciences on ‘Issues in English Phonology’ to which this article is an introduction, explaining both their contents and how they relate to and seek to advance our understanding of the English phonological phenomena in question.


English phonology History of phonological theory Sociophonology Vowel shift Lexical strata Lenition Tense–lax Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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