Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Lexical Phonology


Lexical phonology is an approach to phonology that accounts for the interactions of morphology and phonology in the word building process.

The lexicon plays a central, productive role in the theory. It consists of ordered levels, which are the domain for certain phonological or morphological processes.


Here is a diagram of the overall structure of the lexical phonology model:



Here is an example of an application of lexical phonology:

  • Here are the words to be considered in this example:
    • sane [sejn] / sanity [sQnIti]
    • neighbor [nejb«&u0279;] / neighborhood [nejb«&u0279;hUd] *[nQb«&u0279;hUd]
  • The following rule applies across level 1 morpheme boundaries:
    • A tense vowel becomes lax when a short word is lengthened by adding a suffix, so that the words ends up having at least three syllables.
  • This derivation demonstrates affixation in lexical phonology accompanied by the application of a phonological rule, trisyllabic shortening.


Glossary Hierarchy