Phonology as Human Behavior

Theoretical Implications and Clinical Applications

Phonology as Human Behavior

Sound and Meaning: The Roman Jakobson Series in Linguistics and Poetics

More about this series

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 47 charts Published: April 1997

Author: Yishai Tobin


Phonology as Human Behavior brings work in human cognition, behavior, and communication to bear on the study of phonology—the theory of sound systems in language. Yishai Tobin extends the ideas of William Diver—an influential linguist whose investigations into phonology reflect the principle that language represents a constant search for maximum communication with minimal effort—as a part of a new theory of phonology as human behavior. Showing the far-reaching psycho- and sociolinguistic utility of this theory, Tobin demonstrates its applicability to the teaching of phonetics, text analysis, and the theory of language acquisition.
Tobin describes the methodological connection between phonological theory and phonetics by way of a comprehensive and insightful survey of phonology’s controversial role in twentieth-century linguistics. He reviews the work of Saussure, Jakobson, Troubetzkoy, Martinet, Zipf, and Diver, among others, and discusses issues in distributional phonology through analyses of English, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, and Yiddish. Using his theory to explain various functional and pathological speech disorders, Tobin examines a wide range of deviant speech processes in aphasia, the speech of the hearing-impaired, and other syndromes of organic origin. Phonology as Human Behavior provides a unique set of principles connecting the phylogeny, ontogeny, and pathology of sound systems in human language.


Phonology as Human Behavior provides a unique set of principles connecting phylogeny, ontogeny, and pathology of sound systems in human language.” — Folia Linguistica

“[W]ell-conceived. . . . I recommend this tome as a textbook for introductory phonology courses for several reasons, [among them] . . . its strengths in dealing with a non-Indo-European language (Hebrew) . . . [and] the engaging material.” — Alan S. Kaye , WORD

“Tobin’s book is an exemplary scholarly work on phonological theory as seen from the perspective of the Columbia-Diver school of linguistics. The inclusion of clinical studies serves as a finely constructed bridge between the realm of linguistics proper and the numerous applications of linguistic theory in the fields of psychology and speech analysis.” — Edna Andrews, Duke University


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access