To appear in the Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society
Emergent phonology is proposed to promote a new vision of the relationship between phonetics and phonology. By substituting it for the traditional division of labor, we would get away from what Chomsky calls the 'inescapable dogma' of 20th century linguistics: the logical priority of linguistic form over substance.
It is argued that the distinctions between form/substance and competence/performance should be abandoned having served their historical purpose. There is no split between analog phonetics and digital phonology because, from the developmental point of view, phonology remains behavior and continues to be analog. Phonology differs qualitatively from phonetics in that it represents a new, more complex and higher level of organization of that behavior. For the child, phonology is not abstract. It represents an emergent patterning of phonetic substance.