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Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics

The books included in this series provide comprehensive accounts of some of the most central and most rapidly developing areas of research in linguistics. Intended primarily for introductory and post-introductory students, they include exercises, discussion points and suggestions for further reading.

  1. Liliane Haegeman, Introduction to Government and Binding Theory (Second Edition)
  2. Andrew Spencer, Morphological Theory
  3. Helen Goodluck, Language Acquisition
  4. Ronald Wardhaugh, An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Fifth Edition)
  5. Martin Atkinson, Children’s Syntax
  6. Diane Blakemore, Understanding Utterances
  7. Michael Kenstowicz, Phonology in Generative Grammar
  8. Deborah Schiffrin, Approaches to Discourse
  9. John Clark, Colin Yallop, and Janet Fletcher, An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology (Third Edition)
  10. Natsuko Tsujimura, An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics (Second Edition)
  11. Robert D. Borsley, Modern Phrase Structure Grammar
  12. Nigel Fabb, Linguistics and Literature
  13. Irene Heim and Angelika Kratzer, Semantics in Generative Grammar
  14. Liliane Haegeman and Jacqueline Guéron, English Grammar: AGenerative Perspective
  15. Stephen Crain and Diane Lillo-Martin, An Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Language Acquisition
  16. Joan Bresnan, Lexical-Functional Syntax
  17. Barbara A. Fennell, A History of English: ASociolinguistic Approach
  18. Henry Rogers, Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach
  19. Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction
  20. Liliane Haegeman, Thinking Syntactically: A Guide to Argumentation and Analysis
  21. Mark Hale, Historical Linguistics: Theory and Method
  22. Henning Reetz and Allard Jongman, Phonetics: Transcription, Production, Acoustics, and Perception
  23. Bruce Hayes, Introductory Phonology

Introductory Phonology

Bruce Hayes

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For Pat and Peter


This text is meant as a first course book in phonology. The book has evolved as the textbook for a course taught to a mostly undergraduate audience over a number of years in the Department of Linguistics at UCLA. The course meets in lecture for four hours per week, with a one-hour problem-solving session, during a ten-week term.

The ideal audience for this book is a student who has studied some linguistics before (and thus has some idea of what linguists are trying to accomplish), and has already taken a course in general phonetics, covering at least the basics of articulatory phonetics and the International Phonetic Alphabet. It is possible to make up this material on the fly through reading and practice,1 but I consider this strategy second-best. A short chapter on phonetics, intended for review, is included in this text.

As the title implies, this book is meant to be an introductory text. By this I mean not that it is meant to be easier than other texts, but rather that it emphasizes the following two things:

I consider the first item to be crucial in an introductory course, because if analysis is not well done at a basic level, all of the more sophisticated theoretical conclusions that might be drawn from it become untrustable. The second item is likewise crucial, to make phonological analysis meaningful.

As a consequence of these general goals, I have left out quite a few topics that currently are of great interest to many phonologists, myself included. This reflects my goal of teaching first the material that will provide the most solid foundation for more advanced theoretical study.2

I have tried to avoid a common problem of linguistics textbooks, that of presenting data simplified for pedagogical purposes without providing some means for the student to access more information about the language. This is provided in the “Further reading” section at the end of each chapter.

A number of passages in the text offer guidance in eliciting useful and valid data from native speakers. This relates to the phonology course I teach, in which one of the major assignments is a term paper involving analysis of data gathered first hand from a native speaker.

A computer resource for phonology that I have found useful in conjunction with this text is UCLA FeaturePad, a computer program created by Kie Zuraw, which helps students to learn and use features by showing the natural classes that correspond to any selection of feature values. It also shows how the sounds are changed when any feature values are changed. The program may be downloaded for free from

Many people provided me with help and feedback on this text, for which I am very grateful. Among them were Marco Baroni, Christine Bartels, Roger Billerey, Abigail Cohn, Maria Gouskova, Jongho Jun, Sun-Ah Jun, Patricia Keating, Charles Kisseberth, the late Peter Ladefoged, Lisa Lavoie, Margaret MacEachern, Donka Minkova, Susan Moskwa, Pamela Munro, Russell Schuh, Shabnam Shademan, Bernard Tranel, Adam Ussishkin, Keli Vaughan, and Kie Zuraw. I’m certain that I’ve left names out here, and in cases where my memory has failed me I hope the unthanked person will understand.

I welcome comments and error corrections concerning this text, which may be sent to or Department of Linguistics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1543.

For sound files, updated web links, typo corrections, and other material, please visit the website for this text at

Portions of chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7 appeared in earlier form as chapter 12 of Linguistics: An Introduction to Linguistic Theory by Victoria Fromkin et al. (2000, Blackwell).