Original Articles

Distinctive feature theory: from the linear to the nonlinear. An application to Isizulu

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 21, issue 1, 2001 , pages: 80–88
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2001.10587467
Author(s): Shamila NaidooDepartment of IsiZulu,


During the last century distinctive feature theory evolved from a linear to a nonlinear framework. At present experimental phonetics plays a vital role in furthering the evolution of distinctive feature theory. This paper traces the development of distinctive feature theory from the linear framework to feature geometry. Using examples from isiZulu, problems with the feature geometry structure are discussed and solutions through use of the experimental model are considered.

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