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  • 1. Phonology:
    The sound patterns of language
    LCD 101: Introduction to Language
    2011 Fall
  • 2. Objectives
    Phonemes, phone and allophones
    Minimal Pairs
    Syllables and clusters
    Phonological processes
    To observe how the same phones are organized differently among languages
    Solve Phonology problems/data sets
  • 3. What do phonologists ask?
    What is the organization of sounds in a given language?
    Of all the sounds in a language, which are predictable and which are unpredictable in particular contexts or environments?
    Which sounds affect the identities of words?
  • 4. Introduction
    Phonetics – investigation of the physical production of speech sounds. We looked at the articulatory mechanisms of the human vocal tract
    In physical terms, there are an infinite number of ways a word like “me” will be produced
    Individuals pronounce a particular word differently on every occasion
  • 5. Introduction
    Differences in pronouncing a word?
    bad cold, tired, angry, regional/dialectal differences, size of person, etc.
    Phonology helps us consistently recognize the different versions of a word, e.g. “me” as the form [mi], and not [ni], [si], [ma], [mo]
  • 6. What is Phonology?
    Phonetics and Phonology - both can be generally described as the study of speech sounds
    Phonetics – specifically the study of how speech sounds are produced, what their physical properties are, and how they’re produced
    Phonology – the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds; based on a theory of what every speaker of a language unconsciously knows about the sound patterns of that language
  • 7. What’s a phoneme?
    • The smallest unit by which one can distinguish one word from another (meaning-distinguishing units in a language), See Yule pages 30 and 34 for English phonemes.
    • 8. The psychological (abstract) representations or units of actual physical realizations of phonetic segments.
    • 9. A set of speech sounds that are identified by a native speaker as the same sound
    e.g. tar star eightwriter
    the [t] sounds in these examples make up a class of
    speech sounds that English speakers know as /t/
  • 10. Phonemes
    Let’s examine the [t] sound in the following:
    tar star eightwriter
    • We might think of these as being the ‘same’, but actually they are pronounced quite differently.
    • 11. However, in the phonology of English, they would be represented in the same way  /t/
    - These articulation differences are important, but the distinction between [t] and, for example [c], [b], and [f] are more important because they distinguish meanings of words such as tar, car, bar, far.
  • 12. Phonemes
    Note: Phonetics - brackets [ ] are conventionally used to indicate a phonetic/physical segment. Phonology – slashes
    / / are used to indicate an abstract segment
    • An essential property of phonemes: function contrastively.
    • 13. e.g. In English /r/ and /m/ are phonemes because they are the only basis for contrast in words such as ‘rowing’ and ‘mowing’.
    • 14. Contrastive property test: if substituting one sound for another will result in a change of meaning, then you have phonemes. Other examples?
  • Phones and Allophones
    PHONES: general term for speech sounds
    ALLOPHONES: the different speech sounds of a phoneme are called allophones
    Let’s look at some examples of phonemes and allophones….
  • 15. English Phoneme /t/
    • Phoneme
    • 16. Allophones of /t/
  • 12
    English Phoneme /p/
    [ph] and [p] are the allophones of the same phoneme /p/ in English:
    /p/ phoneme
    [ph][p] allophones
    ‘paper’ ‘spill’
    The ‘p’ in ‘paper’ is normally pronounced with aspiration. That is, there is a release of a puff of air. The ‘p’ in ‘spill’ is normally not aspirated.
  • 17. Phonemes and Allophones
    English Phoneme /p/
    Compare in English:
    [sphɪn] “spin”
    [spɪn] “spin”
    • Aspiration doesn’t affect the meaning of the word.
    • 18. Either [p] or [ph ] gives the same meaning. In English they are considered to be the ‘same’ sound though they may be phonetically different.
    • 19. Thus, [p] or [ph ] are NOT contrastive in English. They don’t affect the meaning of words.
    • 20. They are allophones of the same phoneme /p/.
  • English Phoneme /p/
    Does it work this way in all languages?? Let’s look at Hindi, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in northern and central India.
    Hindi: [phal] "knife edge“ [pal] "take care of"
    [kaphi] "ample“ [kapi] "copy”
    • In Hindi, [ph] and [p] ARE contrastive. They create a contrast in meaning.
    • 21. Therefore, they are different phonemes.
    • 22. In Chinese languages, Icelandic, Korean, Thai, and Ancient Greek, [p t k] and [pʰtʰkʰ] are different phonemes.
  • Phonemes and Allophones
    Two of more languages might share the same sound or sounds but this does not mean that those languages organize these sounds in the same way.
    Hindi: /ph/ /p/  phonemes
    English: /p/  phoneme
    [ph] [p]  allophones
  • 23. Writing Conventions:
    Allophone or Phoneme?
    /p/ 4. [i]
    /æ/ 5. /z/
    [p] 6. [th]
  • 24. Detour: Aspiration in English
    PHONETIC FACT: There is a burst or puff of air after the /p/ in pill, till, and kill, that is absent in spill, still, and skill.
    ASPIRATION: The period between the release of the closure of a consonant and the start of the vocal cord activity for the vowel that comes after it. This period is usually felt as a puff of air.
    pill [phɪl] spill [spɪl]
    till [thɪl] still [stɪl]
    kill [khɪl] skill [skɪl]
  • 25. Detour: Aspiration in English
    Aspiration Rule in English: Aspiration occurs on all voiceless stops [p, t, k] occurring as the first sound in a stressed syllable.
    • Although aspirated stops and unaspirated stops are physically different , we consider both to be the same sound in English.
    • For English, aspiration is not employed to create a meaning difference (unlike in Hindi, for example).
    • The diacritic(=special mark) for aspiration in the IPA is a superscript [h]
    • 26. Narrow vs. broad transcription
  • Non-language Examples
    Allophones – different versions of the same underlying representation
    The human mind also ignores other physical/perceptible differences which are not relevant for particular purposes
  • 27. Non-language Examples
    Allophones – different versions of the same underlying representation
    The human mind also ignores other physical/perceptible differences which are not relevant for particular purposes
  • 28. Phonemes: Looking for Minimal Pairs
    Phonemes are the psychological (abstract) representations or units of actual physical realizations of phonetic segments.
    • If two sounds are separate phonemes, then they are contrastive (in terms of meaning).
    • If the two phones are allophones of the same phoneme, then they are non-contrastive.
    To determine whether a given pair of sounds is contrastive, look for minimal pairs
  • 29. Minimal Pairs
    A minimal pair is a pair of words that:
    • have different meanings
    • 30. are pronounced the same except for one sound
    • [teɪk] vs. [teɪp] "take" vs. "tape“
    • 31. [tim] vs. [dim] "team" vs. "deem“
    • 32. [kapi] vs. [kaphi] "copy" vs. "ample" (Hindi)
  • Minimal Pairs
    Do [l] and [r] belong to the same phoneme in English? Look for minimal pairs!
    [lif] "leaf“ [læk] "lack“
    [rif] "reef“ [ræk] "rack“
    Since we have minimal pairs that contain [l] and [r], we can say that [l] and [r] are contrastive. Thus they are separate phonemes and are are NOT allophones of the same phoneme. Phonemes  /l/ /r/
  • 33. Minimal Pairs
    Are [r] and [l] contrastive in other languages? Let’s look at Korean, a language spoken in Korea
    (some linguists classify it as a language isolate, others consider it an Altaic language).
    Minimal pairs??
    [param] "wind“ [pal] "foot“
    [ irim] "name“ [mal] "horse“
  • 34. Minimal Pairs:Korean [r] and [l]
    • In Korean, minimal pairs can never be found for [l] and [r]; these sounds do not occur in the same position in words.
    • 35. The dataset reveals that [r] occurs between two vowels but [l] occurs at the end of words.
    V___V _____#
    occurs between vowels occurs at the end of words
    • Thus, [l] and [r] are in complementary distribution in Korean. They are mutually exclusive. In the same context, you can never find both.
  • Complementary Distribution
    Superman and Clark Kent are different "physical realizations" of the cartoon character. When Clark Kent is present, Superman is NOT.
    Remember: When sounds are in complementary distribution, they cannot be contrastive. The replacement of one sound for the other does not change the meaning of the word.
  • 36. Minimal Pair Practice
    Use the following group of words to build five minimal pairs.
    jeep, yes, tack, chips, they, mice, day, wading, bill, cheap, pill, tick, than, weight, waiting, do, tail, chess
    (a) ______________&_______________
    (b) ______________&_______________
    (c) ______________&_______________
    (d) ______________&_______________
    (e) ______________&_______________
  • 37. Dataset: Standard Spanish
    Standard Spanish is an Indo-European language of the Romance family. Examine the phones [d] and [ð]. 1) Are these allophones of one phoneme, or separate phonemes? 2) Identify the type of distribution. 3) If they are separate phonemes, give minimal pairs that prove this.
  • 38. Dataset: Standard Spanish
    Are these allophones of one phoneme, or separate phonemes? No minimal pairs found so the phones [d] and [ð] are NOT contrastive.
    They are found in different environments, and are thus said to be in complementary distribution. [d] occurs everywhere, while [ð] occurs intervocalically (V___V, in between vowels)
    They are allophones of one phoneme so no minimal pairs were found.
  • 39. Dataset: Sindhi Sindhi is an Indo-European language of the Indo-Aryan family, spoken in Pakistan and India.
    Examine the distribution of the phones [p], [ph], and [b]. 1) Determine if the three are allophones of separate phonemes, or allophones of the same phoneme. 2) What is your evidence? 3) Is the relationship between the sounds the same as in English? Why or why not?
    In Sandhi and English, /p/ and /b/ are separate phonemes. In English, [p ph] are allophones of the same phoneme, but in Sindi they’re phonemes.
  • 40. Review: a comparison
  • 41. Phonotactics the permitted arrangement of sounds
    big, rig, fig, dig, wig, lig, vig
    How do we know that ‘lig’ and ‘vig’ could be viewed as possible words in English?
    Our phonological knowledge of the pattern of sounds in English words
    What about [tsɪg] or [tnɪg]? These words have been formed without obeying some PHONOTACTIC constraints on the sequence or position of English phonemes.
  • 42. Phonotactic constraints: restrictions on possible combinations of sounds, these constraints operate on a unit larger than the single segment/phoneme
    Syllable structure:
    onset rhyme
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) vowel consonant(s)
    Basicelements of the syllable:
    • onset – can be empty or have one or more consonants
    • 43. rhyme – consists of the nucleus (a vowel or vowel-like sound) and coda (can be empty or have one or more consonants
  • Syllables and Clusters
    What must a syllable contain?
    At the minimum, A VOWEL or VOWEL-like sound
    e.g. English – ‘a’, ‘I’, ‘a.bove’
    Symbol for syllable
  • 44. Syllables and Clusters
    onset rhyme‘Ja.nice’
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) vowel consonant(s)
    closed n ɪ s
  • 45. Syllables and Clusters
    onset rhyme
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) vowel consonant(s)
    V ‘I’ aΙ
    V ‘a’ eΙ
    CV ‘be’ b i
    CV ‘though’ ð oʊ
  • 46. Syllables and Clusters
    onset rhyme
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) vowel consonant(s)
    ‘of’ Ʊ v
    ‘mug’ m Ʌ g
  • 47. Syllables and Clusters
    Onset Rhyme
    Nucleus Coda
    C C V C
    CCVC ‘step’ s t ɛ p
  • 48. Syllables and Clusters
    Onset Rhyme
    Nucleus Coda
    C V C C
    CVCC ‘tans’ tæ n s
  • 49. Syllables and Clusters
    Onset Rhyme
    Nucleus Coda
    C C V C C
    CCVCC ‘plots’ p l at s
    CCVCC ‘smooths’s m u ð z
  • 50. 41
    Syllables Additional Detail to Yule
    syllable (open)
    onset rhyme
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) V V consonant(s)
  • 51. 42
    Syllables Additional Detail to Yule
    syllable (open)
    onset rhyme
    nucleus coda
    consonant(s) V V consonant(s)
    g o Ʊ
  • 52. 43
    Syllables: when vowel length is contrastive
    A. Tagalog
    galing /ga: . liŋ/ from /ga . liŋ/ excellence
    pito /pi: . toh/ whistle /pi . toh/ seven
    ojisan /ozisan/ uncle ojiisan/oziisan/ grandfather
    tsuki /tuki/ moon tsūki/tuuki/ airflow
    The diacritic : means vowel lengthening = a  aa
  • 53. Syllables and Clusters
    Determine the syllable structure of the words below. The first three are done for you. Remember that a single consonant or vowel can be spelled with more than one letter, some letters are not pronounced, etc., so focus on sound and not spelling.
    up (VC) 7. map _____
    hat (CVC) 8. spring _____
    judge (CVC) 9. slick _____
    eggs _____ 10. stress _____
    and ______ 11. can.dy _____
    beat ______ 12. brea.thy _______
  • 54. Syllables and Clusters
    In English, there are a wide variety of syllable types, as shown in the table below (from Language Files):
    Languages generally prefer CV syllables, but some languages, like English, allow up to 3 consonants to start a word, as long as the first is /s/, the second /p/, /t/, or /k/, and the third /l/, /ɹ/, /j/, /w/
  • 55. Syllables and Clusters
    Other languages don’t have as many syllable structures as English, as shown in the table below (from LanguageFiles):
    Single vowel can be a syllable;
    No consonant clusters
    consonant clusters at beginning and end
  • 56. Co-articulation Effects
    • Co-articulation effects: the process of making one sound almost at the same time as the next sound
    • 57. Assimilation – becoming more like a neighboring sound
    • 58. Elision – the deletion of a sound segment; not pronouncing it
  • Assimilation
    Assimilation: the process of making one sound (or gesture) to become more like a neighboring sound (or gesture) with respect to some phonetic property
    [ɪ], [æ], [ʌ], etc. – in isolation, no nasal quality. But in a word in which it’s followed by a nasal, the vowel becomes nasalized (produced with a lowering of the velum so that air escapes both through nose as well as the mouth)
  • 59. Assimilation
    [ɪ] [æ] [ʌ]
    [bɪ̃n] [bæ̃n] [bʌ̃n]
    ‘bin’ ‘ban’ ‘bun’
    • Phonological rule: Any vowel becomes nasalized in English whenever it is immediately followed by a nasal, /m n ŋ/
    • 60. The diacritic for nasalization in the IPA is a tilde [ ̃].
    • 61. This is another example of narrow transcription.
    • 62. What was the other example we looked at?
  • Assimilation
    ‘I can go’ [ajkængoʊ] [ajkəŋgoʊ]
    The influence of the velar sound /g/ causes the alveolar nasal /n/ to assimilate, become like, into a nasal. Thus, in rapid speech, you hear the velar nasal /ŋ/
  • 63. Elision
    Elision (deletion): the process of not pronouncing a sound segment (consonant, vowel, or whole syllable) that might be present in careful pronunciation
    ‘You and me’ [juændmi]
    ‘above his hat’ [əbʌvhɪzhæt]