The measurement of functional load

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of functional load is traditionally used to quantify ‘extent of contrast’ among a set of phonemes. An attempt is made in this paper to associate with the concept a precise meaning within the framework of communication theory. It is suggested that any definition of functional load which conforms to the traditional usage of the concept must satisfy the five condidons given in the paper. The definitions of functional load given by Greenberg and Hockett, as well as several other definitions, are examined with respect to these conditions. Some empirical consequences of this line of investigation are discussed. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-54
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1967
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language


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