Hockett’s -al

I’m consulting Hockett’s Manual of Phonology for something to do with minimal pairs, and I’m perplexed by his avoidance of the morpheme –al in words where I’d have assumed it was obligatory. For example:

phonologic, psychologic, empiric, hypothetic

in comparison with:

mathematical, statistical, logical

and of course I’m fine with:

acoustic, heuristic, phonemic

Since he never seems to use phonological in addition to phonologic I assume this usage must have been perfectly acceptable in American writing in the 1950s, but I can’t recall seeing it anywhere else (in my admittedly fairly limited contact with this literature).


As part of my continuing abuse of the ‘phonology’ category, this gets filed under phonology by virtue of mentioning Hockett and his manual and for no other obvious reason. (It doesn’t quite qualify as an instance of Hale/Reissian substance abuse since it has neither phonetic nor phonological substance, but at least it has the virtue of being phonologically arbitrary.) (Oh no, I just made a phonology joke.)


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