O fonema: categoria percetiva e categoria descritiva


  • João Veloso


Experimental studies in the field of speech perception have demonstrated, since the 1950s, that speech perception is, fundamentally, an instance of categorical processing.
Accordingly, the phoneme has been conceived of as a theoretical-descriptive linguistic unit and, simultaneously, as a perceptual category. In this paper, we shall see that, even before the more recent experimental methods, traditional views – such as the British school of descriptive phonetics and the American first structuralists – had anticipated some important aspects of the categorical perspectives on the phoneme. We shall defend that a broader view on this unit,
based on the combination from different subdisciplines and theoretical frameworks, could offer us stronger explanations of phonological systems, phonetic processing and the inter-relation between both objects of study.