The Dispersion Theory of Contrast
The previous chapter provided an introduction to constraints on the auditory distinctiveness of contrasts. These constraints are novel not only in referring to auditory representations, but also in being constraints on the well-formedness of contrasts. Contrast is a relationship between possible words so these constraints imply that the well-formedness of a word cannot be evaluated in isolation, it must be evaluated with reference to a set of forms that it contrasts with. This chapter focuses on this aspect of constraints on the distinctiveness of contrasts, placing them within the context of a theory of phonological contrast, the dispersion theory, which provides the basic framework for all of the analyses in this dissertation.