Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language Made Easy
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Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language Made Easy



Fun Facts About Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language

Fun Facts About Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language



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  • Slide 14 'Complementary' not 'Complimentary'
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  • Slide 43- shouldnt the example be 'speech PRODUCTION - preach seduction'?
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    Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language Made Easy Phonology -- The Sound Patterns of Language Made Easy Presentation Transcript

    • Phonology: The Sound Patterns of Language
      By Richard Binkney, Ph.D.
    • Phonology is the study of speech sounds
      Phoneme – the basic unit
      of sound
      Semantics – the study of the
      meaning of language
      Morpheme – smallest unit
      of sound to carry
    • Phrenological map of the human brain
      Notice that the area for Language (35) is one of the smallest.
    • Speech sounds can be classified as either consonants or vowels
      Consonants – the air
      does not flow freely
      Vowels – air flows
      freely to create
      different sounds
    • Put your fingers in front of your throat:
      Say the letters “V” & “F”
      What is the difference?
      Now, try these letter
      B/P D/T G/K
      Z/S Discuss findings.
    • The Pronunciation of Morphemes
      Pronounce the plural forms of:
      Child – Ox – Mouse – Criterion – Sheep
      The old spelling rule to add s or es is misleading. These are special plurals that have to be memorized early in the use of English.
    • The old English rule of adding s or esto make a plural word is often misleading. There is no rule to predict how all plural words are formed in English.
      Allomorph is the technical term describing the plural variance. The words may vary in shape or pronunciation, but not meaning. For example, s has 3 allomorphs: the -s sound in hats
      the -z sound in dogs
      the <<z sound in boxes
    • Phonemes are not physical sounds. They are abstract mental representations of the phonological units of a language.
      The process of substituting one sound
      for another word to see if it makes
      a difference is a good way to identify
      the phonemes of a language. These
      words differ only in their vowel:
      beat [bit] [i] boot [but] [u]
      bait [bet] [e] boat [bot] [o]
      bite [bajt] [aj] bot [bat] [a]
      Can you think of any others?
    • Minimal Pairs…
      are two words with different meanings that are identical except for one sound segment that occurs in the same place in each word. Say the following word pairs and determine in which sound segment the difference occurs:
      cab/cap rot/lot had/bad pin/bin zeal/seal
    • The following Minimal Pairs show
      that English /p/ and /b/ contrast
      in initial, medial , & final positions.
      Initial Medial Final
      pit/bit rapid/rabid cap/cab
      Find similar sets of minimal pairs for
      the following consonant pairs:
      /k/ - /g/ /l/ - /r/ /s/ - /z/
    • Morphophonemic Rules
      determine the phonetic form
      of the plural morpheme and
      other morphemes. Like plurals,
      some irregular past tenses
      conform to no particular rule
      and must be learned
      For example: go / went sing / sang
      hit / hit run / ran
    • A Phoneme the basic form of a sound
      Each phoneme has associated with it one or more
      sounds, called Allophones, which represent the actual sound corresponding to the phoneme.
      For example, notice the
      differences as you pronounce:
      Aspiration allophone [p] in pit
      Without aspiration allophone
      [p] in spit
    • Punctuation Marks : phonemes use / / marks – allophones/phones use [ ] marks
      Phonemically the words
      bead and bean are transcribed
      as /bid/ and /bin/
      Phonetically the words are
      transcribed to be pronounced
      as [bid] and [bin]
    • Complimentary Distribution
      Is the relationship between two phonemetically similar segments. The sound is modified by the environment. Which variant occurs is determined by the immediate preceeding letter.
      For example: the letter l has a complimentary distribution in the words glue and blue . What other
      variants do you find in these words?
      sat vat
      mill will
      rack rock
    • - Distinctive Features of Phonemes –
      Phonetics provides the means to describe the phones (sounds) of language, showing how they are produced and how they vary.
      Phonology tells us how various sounds form patterns to create phonemes and their allophones.
    • Phoneme Feature Values
      Voicing and/or Voicelessnessis the presence of a single feature. This single feature may have two values: + = voicing or -- = voicelessness.
      Nasality presence or absence is
      designated as + or -- also.
      Determine the values of:
      feel / veal cap / cab
      m / b
    • Voicing
      When verbs add -edto become
      past tense this ending becomes
      voiced if the preceding sound is
      voiced as in “planned” or
      voiceless if the preceding sound
      is voiceless as in “jumped.”
      Since /t/ is not voiced and vowels
      are voiced, a /t/ between vowels
      often becomes voiced so that
      “latter” and “writer” are
      pronounced like “ladder” and “rider.”
    • Aspiration
      /p/ /t/ and /k/ form the natural class of
      voiceless stops. In English, voiceless
      stops are aspirated if they are followed
      by a stressed vowel and not preceded
      by /s/.
      This makes sense because aspiration
      is a puff of air. This puff would occur
      after a stop. It would occur into a
      stressed syllable. If the consonant
      were voiced or if some of the air had
      leaked out because of a preceding
      /s/, the aspiration would be less
    • Palatization
      When a word that ends with a /t/ is followed by a
      –ual, -ial, or -ion ending, the palatal vowel <y-> changes
      the /t/ sound into a /č/ sound. Examples include:
      addict addiction
      act actual or action
      part partial
      predict prediction
    • 20
      Places of articulation (passive & active):1. Exo-labial, 2. Endo-labial, 3. Dental, 4. Alveolar, 5. Post-alveolar, 6. Pre-palatal, 7. Palatal, 8. Velar, 9. Uvular, 10. Pharyngeal, 11. Glottal, 12. Epiglottal, 13. Radical, 14. Postero-dorsal, 15. Antero-dorsal, 16. Laminal, 17. Apical, 18. Sub-apical
    • Active Articulators
      Bilabial is one of the 5 active
      Put your lips together and say
      the letters –
      B P M
    • Active Articulates
      Labiodentalis another
      example of an active
      Put your lip to your teeth:
      Now say - F V
    • Active Articulates
      The third example of an active articulate is
      Place your tongue on the
      back of your incisors
      Say the letter N
    • Nasality is a nondistinctive feature for English vowels. There is no way to predict that the difference between the words meat and beat. You simply learn the words.
      On the other hand, the nasality feature value of the vowels in bean, mean, comb, and sing is predictable because they occur before nasal consonants. When a feature value is predictable by rule for a sound, the feature is nondistinctive or redundant or predictable (the three terms are equivalent). Thus, nasality is a redundant feature in English vowels, but a nonredundant feature for English consonants.
    • Feature Values : Nasality
      Nasality occurs with a lowering of the soft palate or velum so that air escapes both through the nose and the mouth.
      The presence or absence of nasality is designated as
      [ +nasal ] or [ -nasal ]
      Determine nasality for:
      /m/ /p/
      mother patrol
      parrot milk Can you think of any others?
    • Aspiration of voiceless stops illustrates the asymmetry of the phonological systems of different languages.
      Both aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops occur in English and Thai, but they function differently. Aspiration in English is not a distinctive feature because its presence or absence is predictable. In Thai, it is not predictable.
    • What is the difference between distinctive and phonemic?
      * The phonetic representation of
      utterances shows what speakers know about the pronunciation of sounds.
      *The phonemic representation of utterances shows what speakers know about the patterning of sounds.
      *The words pot/pat spot/spat have
      identical phonemes (e.g., /p/ )
    • In English, vowel length and consonant length are nonphonemic.
      Prolonging a sound in
      English will not produce
      a different word. In other
      languages, long and short
      vowels that are identical
      except for length are
      In such languages, length
      is a nonpredictable distinctive feature.
    • Natural classes of sounds are those groups of sounds described by a small number of distinctive features.
      One example is where the [-- voiced], [--continuant], which describes /p/, t/, /k/.
      Any individual member of a natural class would
      require more features in its
      description than the class
      itself, so /p/ is not only
      [ -- voiced ], [--continuant]
      but also [ + labial].
    • The Rules of Phonology
      The relationship between the phonemic representations of
      words and the phonetic
      representations that reflect
      the pronunciation of these words is rule-governed.
      Although the specific rules of phonology differ from language to language, the kinds of rules, what they do, and the natural classes they refer to are the same throughout the world.
    • Assimilation Rulesrules make two or more neighboring segments more similar by making the segments share some feature.
      The vowel nasalization rule in English is an assimilation rule, because it involves taking the [+nasal] feature on the segment following the vowel and adding it to the vowel, making the value of [nasal] identical for the two segments. Say the following words and discuss your findings:
      bone/bow bean/bee line/lie hand/hat
    • Dissimulation Rules
      Dissimulation rules make sounds less
      Similar. Sometimes it is easier to articulate dissimilar sounds:
      Say the “tongue twister:”
      The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep is sick.
      Now say,
      The fifth sheik’s fourth sheep is sick.
      Which is easier for you to say? Why?
    • Epenthesis
      Epenthesis is the addition of one
      or more sounds to a word.
      Excrescense occurs if the sound
      added is a consonant.
      Anaptyxis occurs if the sound
      added is a vowel.
    • Excrescense
      An example of
      Excrescense– addition of an
      extra vowel to a word
      Hamp – ster Hamster
      Can you think of other
      examples of Excrescense?
    • Anaptyxis
      An example of
      Anaptysix – addition of
      An extra vowel to a word
      Pic – a – nicbasket
      Can you think of other examples?
    • Epenthesis can also occur as a Poetic Device where the meter of a piece of literature requires extra syllables.
      For example: In “The Umbrella Man” movie/song the word adds a 4th syllable: um – buh – rel – a
      Can you think of others?
    • Metathesis Rules
      Phonological rules may
      also reorder sequences
      of phonemes, as in
      ask/aks nuclear/nucular
      Can you add any others to
      This list?
      Dog lovers have metathesized the Shetland Sheepdog into a sheltie.
    • The more we look at languages, the more we realize that what appears at first to be irregular and unpredictable phonetic forms are actually rule-governed.
      We learn, or construct, these rules when we are acquiring the language as children. The rules form an important part of the sound pattern that we acquire from birth.
    • PhonologicalRules
      The function of the
      phonological rules
      in a grammar is to
      provide the phonetic information necessary for the pronunciation of utterances.
      Input Phonemic representation of words
      Phonological Rules
      Outputt Phonetic representation of words
    • From One to Many – From Many to One
      Rarely is a single phoneme realized
      as one and only one phone.
      Consider the vowels in the
      following pairs of words:
      A - compete B - competition
      medicinal medicine
      solid solidity
      In column A, all underlined vowels are stressed with a variety of vowel phones; in column B, the underlined
      vowels are pronounced as schwa.
    • The Flap Rule
      Flap is a rapid movement of the tongue tip from a retracted vertical position to a horizontal position, during which the tongue brushes the alveolar ridge.
      When /t/ or /d/ occurs between a stressed and an unstressed vowel, they both become a “flap.”
      The following words sound similar:
      auntie/Annie metal/medal
      planter/planner coating/coding
      futile/feudal waiter/wader
      latter/ladder matter/madder
      Can you name any others?
    • Neutralization
      Neutralization is a merger of a contrast in certain contexts or specified environment
      Some examples of neutralization
      Before /g/ are:
      bag egg
      Greg keg
      leg peg
      Can you name any others?
    • Slips of the Tongue
      Unintentional speech errors show phonological rules in action. We all make speech errors, and they tell us something about language and its use. Consider:
      Intended Utterance Actual Utterance
      gone to seed god to seen
      stick in the mud smuck in the tid
      speech pronunciation preach seduction
    • Word Stress
      In many languages, including English, one or more of the syllables in every content word is stressed.
      (the words to, the, of, a are functional/support words). A
      stressed syllable, marked by an accute accent (‘) is more prominent in the following examples:
      Pervert noun as in My neighbor is a pervert.
      Pervert verb as in Don’t pervert the idea. Can you think of other examples?
    • Stress can be shown by placing a 1 over the primary stressed syllable, a 2 over the syllable with secondary stress, and leaving unstressed vowels unmarked. Place the appropriate stress marks on these words?
      fundamental introductory secondary
      Stress is the property of the syllable rather than a segment. To produce a stressed syllable, you may change the pitch, make the syllable louder, or make it longer. We often use all three of these phonetic means to stress a syllable.
    • In English we place primary stress on the adjectival part of a compound noun.
      But, we place stress on the noun when
      the words are a noun phrase consisting of
      an adjective followed by a noun. Consider
      where you would place the primary stress:
      Compound Noun Adjective + Noun
      tightrope tight rope
      redcoat red coat
      hotdog hot dog
      White House white house
    • Pitch and Intonation
      Pitch plays an important role in tone & intonation.
      Say: John is going home.
      What’s in the tea, honey?
      Falling pitch at the end indicates a statement.
      Pitch rising at the end may indicate a question.
    • Phonolactic Constraints are language specific combinations of phonemes.
      In Japanese, the /st/ consonant cluster
      is not allowed – while it exists in English
      In English, the sounds /kn/ and /gn/
      are not permitted at the beginning
      of a new word – however, they do
      exist in both German and Dutch
    • Lexical Gaps
      Advertisers often use possible but
      nonoccurring words for new
      products –
      Xerox Bic Kodak Spam
      Other words like creck and cruck
      are nonsense words found in the lexicon – often called Lexical Gaps
      Can you name some others?
    • Why Do Phonological Rules Exist?
      Because languages have general principles that constrain possible sequences of sounds.
      The rules specify minimal modifications of the
      underlying forms that bring them in line with
      the surface constraints.
      Thus, we find different variants of a particular
      underlying form depending on the phonological
      One example is the English past-tense rule.
      Can you think of any others?
    • Optimality Theory
      This proposal holds that a universal
      set of ranked constraints with
      higher ranked constraints taking
      preference over lower ranked ones,
      exists with the entire system
      governing the phonological rules.
      One example is the plural rule.
      Can you name any others?
    • Phonological Analysis: Discovering Phonemes
      Phonology shows that sounds can
      be grouped into units/phonemes
      Example: There is only one /p/
      phoneme in English – but that
      phoneme has 2 sound variations
      or allophones:/p/ aspirated as in pot
      /p/unaspirated as in soup
    • The phonological rules in a language show that the phonemic shape of words or phrases is not identical with their phonetic form.
      The phonemes are not the actual
      phonetic sounds, but are abstract
      mental constructs that are realized
      as sound by the operation of rules
      described in this chapter. No one
      is taught these rules, yet everyone
      knows them subconsciously.
    • Fun Facts About Phonology
      By first grade most children understand about 10,000 words. (Anglin, 1993,as cited in Siegler, & Akibali, 2005).
      By fifth grade children understand about 40,000 words. ( Anglin, 1993, as cited in Siegler, & Alibali, 2005).  
    • 55
      Parents and adults tend to shape word meaning in children before they shape grammar.
      (Baron, 1992; Brown, Cazden, & Bellus, 1969, as cited in Shaffer,, 2002).
    • Both infants who are deaf and infants
      who can hear babble.
      The babbling of deaf infants matches
      the rhythms of sign language and is
      similar in pattern to the babbling of
      hearing babies.
      (Petitto, Holowka, Sergio,Levy,
      & Ostry, 2004).
    • 57
      Deaf children who are  not exposed to formal sign language (ASL) develop  home sign, which has structures that are similar to the American Sign Language
      (Goldin-Meadow,Mylander,&Butcher,1995,as cited in Siegler,&Alibal,2005).
    • Final Thoughts from Ogden Nash
      The one-l lama,
      He’s a priest.
      The two-l llama,
      He’s a beast.
      And I will bet
      A silk pajama
      There isn’t any Three-l lllama.
      (Fromkin, Rodman, & Hyams, p. 290)
      In response to this poem one wit remarked,
      “A three alarmer is a really big fire.”
    • Phonology Sample Exercise Questions:
      Consider the following data from the Native American
      language – Ojibwa:
      anoki:i: she works nitanok:i: I work
      a:k:osi she is sick nita:k:osi I am sick
      ma:ca she leaves nima:ca: I leave
      wi:sini she eats kiwi:sini you eat
      What forms do the morphemes
      “I” and “You” take; that is, what are
      the allomorphes?
    • Sample Exercise #2:
      In African Maninka, the
      suffix –li has more than one
      pronunciation. It is similar
      to the derivational suffix
      -ing(cook + ing = cooking). Look at these Maninka words:
      bugo “hit” bugoli “hitting”
      dila “repair” dilali “repairing”
      dumu “eat” dumuni “eating”
      gwen “chase” gwenni “chasing”
      What are the 2 forms of the “ing” ending in Maninka?
    • References
      All text materials and quotes from -- Fromkin, Victoria, Rodman, Robert, and Hyams, Nina. An Introduction to Language, 8th ed. Boston: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2007.
      Google.Com (pictures and images)
      “Language Development – Fun Facts”
      Accessed 09/10/2009 http://language
      Nilsen, Don L. F. Accessed 09/10/2009
      (slides 17 – 19)
    • With Appreciation To –
      Google Images
      Dr. Sheila W. Binkney