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PHONOLOGY: a property of a sound segment. Segments can be considered to be composed of more elementary characteristics, i.e. a finite set of features with (preferably) a phonetic correlate. Distinctive features are used to explain that phonological rules apply to natural classes of sounds, i.e. sounds which share certain (phonetic) properties. Features are introduced in phonological theory by Trubetzkoy and Jacobson ('the Prague School'); Chomsky & Halle (1968) (SPE) proposed a major revision of the theory of distinctive features. In SPE, features are considered to be binary, i.e. a feature has two values + (present) or - (absent). For instance, [p] is (among other things) [ -voiced] and [ -nasal] while [m] is [+voiced] and [+nasal]. After SPE different feature inventories have been proposed. Some features have been replaced with structure (for instance [stress] and [syllabic]). Furthermore, the binarity of features is under debate: multi-valued features and single-valued or unary features have been proposed. The development of feature geometry (cf. Clements 1985), in which natural classes are represented by hierarchical structure as well as by features themselves has been a major revision of the theory proposed by Chomsky & Halle (1968). For a detailed summary of various segmental features and their current status, see Keating (1988) and references cited there.

SYNTAX: the syntactic features encompass lexical and grammatical features. The lexical features ±N and ±V define the four lexical categories (N=[+N,-V]; V=[-N,+V]; A=[+N,+V]; P=[-N,-V]). See X-bar theory. Among the grammatical features we find features for person, number and gender (Phi-features); the verbal features ±past, ±tense; and the binding features ±anaphoric and ±pronominal introduced in Chomsky (1981).
LIT. Chomsky, N. (1981)
Chomsky, N. and M. Halle (1968)
Clements,G.N. (1985)
Jacobson, Fant & Halle (1963)
Kerstens,J.G. (1993)
Muysken & Van Riemsdijk (1986)
Sagey, E.L. (1986)