The phonological investigation is multi-leveled. It involves segmental and suprasegmental analysis. At the segmental level, phonology is interested in the nature of a segment as a mental component (phoneme) and how each phoneme may have several CONTEXT-DEPENDENT variants (alternations). Phonological rules are another mental component that controls how segments behave. Phonology is also interested in how segments combine in words as syllables and feet. Syllable and foot structure play various roles in rule application either in segment alternations or in conditioning suprasegmental phenomena such as stress. At the suprasegmental level, phonology investigates stress assignment, tone behavior, and intonation.
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