Phoneme and feature theory


Published on

phonetics and phonology

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Slide number 6: "a phoneme is meaningful".........that's not correct. A phoneme is contrastive, that is to say CAPABLE OF CHANGING MEANING, but in themselves, THEY ARE MEANINGLESS. What's the meaning of /p/ then?
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • great!
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • That's enough to get knowledge about the topic
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • We all know them very well but is it all we know about phoneme? No its notta as simple as it looks like there is much to be explored yet
  • Source:
  • Sign language: visualsSign writing: grapheme
  • Segments are called discreet bec they are separate and individual and occur in a distinct temporal order.
  • Like other linguistic notions, such as “sentence,”“syllable,” and “topic,” what starts out as a relatively unproblematic intuitiveconcept inevitably gets caught up in theory-internal considerations. In the caseof the phoneme, three issues have been particularly contentious: (i) what sort ofentity is the phoneme (physical, psychological, other); (ii) what is the contentof the phoneme; and (iii) how does one identify phonemes?
  • SAPIR(1933): “the phonemic attitude is more basic, psychologically speaking,than the more strictly phonetic one,”
  • Representing the underspecified phoneme. The remarks concerning Sapir, Jakobson,and Trubetzkoy above suggest a view of the phoneme as having a single representation,from which other variants, or allophones, are derived. Moreover, ifthe interpretation of these proposals given above is correct, it would appearthat this one representation of the phoneme is underspecified, in the sense that itconsists only of contrastive properties (chapter 7: feature specification andunderspecification). Underspecified phonemic representations were proposedby Jakobson and his colleagues (see, among others, Jakobsonet al. 1952 and Jakobsonand Halle 1956). They proposed that contrastive features are assigned by successivelydividing up an inventory until each phoneme has been assigned a uniquerepresentation. This theory has been taken up within generative phonology underthe name Modified Contrastive Specification (MCS; Dresher et al. 1994; D. C. Hall2007; Dresher 2009).
  • Jakobson notes (1962: 224) that the presence of /æ/ in Slovak, though “a mere detailfrom a phonetic point of view . . . determines the phonemic make-up of all the shortvowels.” Thus all the short vowels in Standard Slovak come in pairs that contrastin the frontness/backness dimension, so that the vowels /i e æ/ are contrastivelyfront (acute, in terms of Jakobson’s features), and /u o a/ are contrastively back(grave). Lip rounding, though present phonetically in /u/ and /o/, is not contrastiveand therefore does not enter into the phonemic make-up of these vowels.This concept can be illustrated with respect to the phoneme /r/ in three differentlanguages. German has two liquids, /r/ and /l/, which are set apart fromall other consonants by being liquids (3a). Trubetzkoy (1969: 73) observes that thephonemic content of German /r/ is “very poor, actually purely negative: it is nota vowel, not a specific obstruent, not a nasal, nor an l. Consequently, it also variesgreatly with respect to its realization” (see also chapter 30: the representationof rhotics). By “purely negative,” Trubetzkoy means that the contrastivespecifications of /r/ are all the unmarked members of their respective contrasts.He proposes that because /r/ is not contrastively specified for place or specificmanner of articulation, some speakers pronounce it as a dental vibrant, some asa uvular vibrant, some as a noiseless guttural spirant, and it varies a great dealin different contexts as well. By contrast, “Czech /r/ has a much richer phonemiccontent,” because it stands in a relation not only to /l/ but to /Å/ (3b): /r/is distinguished from /Å/ in that it is not an obstruent but a liquid, and from /l/in that it is a vibrant. “For this reason, Czech r is always, and in all positions,pronounced as a clear and energetically trilled sonorant.”3 In Gilyak (also calledNivkh, a language isolate spoken in Russia along the Amur River and on SakhalinIsland) (3c), /r/ is opposed to a voiceless spirant, and the two fall into place as thedental members of a series of oppositions between voiced and voiceless spirants,from which it follows that Gilyak /r/ is always dental (the Gilyak phonemes arelisted as in Gruzdeva 1998: 10).
  • Chroneme: word IPA meaning pala /ˈpala/ shovel palla /ˈpalla/ ball
  • Bloomfield recognised the need for underlying forms tosimplify the description of morphopho161616nemic alternations.Only later (1939) did he call for a separate discipline calledmorphophonemics whose basic units weremorphophonemes.He chose the forms and used ordered rules to achieve thesimplest possible description.He even set up “artificial” underlying forms to achieve asimpler description.Post-Bloomfieldians were strictly insistent on theseparation of levels (morphophonemics from phonology)and did not accept ordered rules.
  • Source:
  • Phoneme and feature theory

    1. 1. DIFFERENCE? /k/ kit [ko] after s [kh] Initial [k] elsewhere k s ill sac kWe pronounce them differently but we know they are the same sound.How do we know two sounds are the same or different? 1
    2. 2. 2
    3. 3. PHONOLOGY Phonology is how speech sounds are organized and affect one another in pronunciation. Key terms:  Phone  Phoneme  allophone This organization is explained in phonological rules 3
    4. 4. CONCEPTUALITYArticulatory phonetics • PhonologyReal sounds = phones • system and rules of sound patterns• [p], [t], [k] • Abstractions = phoneme• [i], [æ] • /p/, /t/, /k/ • /i/, /æ/ • Inventory of sounds and how they are realized. 4
    5. 5. Phonetics Phonology• Phone • Phoneme 5
    6. 6. PHONEME a PHONEME is the minimal distinctive (contrastive ) linguistic sound Phoneme Mental unit Meaningful Not realized Phone Physical/environmental Meaningless Realized unit Allophone Phonetic unit Variation of phoneme variations
    7. 7.  phoneme  (from the Greek: φώνημα, phōnēma, "a sound uttered") is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances. (Wikipedia)  Segment: "any discrete unit that can be identified, either physically or auditorily, in the stream of speech." 1. separate and individual,multiple segments vowels, consonantssupra-segmental such as consonants and tone,stress, length,intonation vowels,secondary articulations nasalization 2. occur in a distinct vowel harmony temporal order 7Marginal segments onomatopoeic words, Source: Wikipedia interjections, loan words
    8. 8. PHONEME A unit of speech that can be used to differentiate words(e.g.“cat”/kaet/vs.“bat”/baet/). Phonemes identify minimal pairs in a language. The set of phonemes in a language subject to interpretation; most languages have 20 to 40 phonemes. The phoneme cannot therefore be acoustically defined. The phoneme is instead a feature of language structure. 8
    9. 9. what is theWhat sort of content how doesentity is the one identifyphoneme? of the phonemes phoneme Issues 9
    10. 10. 1. WHAT SORT OF ENTITY IS THE PHONEME? Twaddell (1935)  1) phoneme is a physical reality  “count for practical purposes as if they were one and the same.” JONES (1967: 258)  2) it is a psychological notion  a mental or psychological reality  the phoneme is a constant acoustic and auditory image (Sommerfelt); a thought sound (Beni); a sound idea (Trubetzkoy); a psychological equivalent of an empirical sound (UÓaszyn); In modern terms:  phoneme is some sort of mental representation 10 TWADDELL criticized this mental phenomenon
    11. 11. 2. WHAT IS THE CONTENT OF THE PHONEME What are phonemes made of? How are they represented? what position specific phoneme takes in thegiven phonemic system. Which phoneme is in the opposition to a specific phoneme Sapir (1925, 1933) Sapir’s “point in the pattern.”  phoneme as a set of contrastively underspecified features  underspecified, in the sense that it consists only of contrastive properties and other features are omitted  This notion further corresponded to the theory of Distinctive feature ⇒ this underspecification theory has been proposed under generative phonology under the name Modified Contrastive Specification 11
    12. 12. CONTINUE… Prague School: Phonemic make-up or content  phonemic make-up(Jakobson)  phonemic content of the phoneme (Trubetzkoy) those properties which are common to all variants of a phoneme Each phoneme has a definable phonemic content only because the system of distinctive oppositions shows a definite order or structure. 12
    13. 13. 13
    14. 14. 3. HOW DOES ONE IDENTIFY PHONEMES Practical aspect of phoneme: phonemic analysis whether a sound is a  single phoneme (/ts/,/nd/, or /oe/)  a sequence of phonemes (/t-s/, /n-d/, or /s-j/). Minimal pair  Differ in one phonological element (phone, phoneme, toneme or chroneme ) complementary distribution Contrastive distribution Free variation Mutation methods 14
    15. 15. VIEWS OF WHAT THE PHONEME IS Empiricist notion: Twaddell  the phoneme is a collection of sounds (a fictitious unit ) Mentalist: Chomsky ( realistic view)  the phoneme is the mental category that corresponds to a coherent set of sounds in a language American structuralist tradition:  a phoneme is defined according to its allophones and environments generative tradition:  a phoneme is defined as a set of distinctive features. 15
    16. 16. BLOOMFIELD‟S PHONEME “The smallest units which make a difference in meaning” “A minimum unit of distinctive sound feature” (p. 77).  non-mentalistic unit He identifies “primary” (segmental sounds) and “secondary” (stress and tone) phonemes according to their function in language (primary: syllable forming; secondary: structuring larger units). Phonemes are defined by their participation in structural sets.  (syllabic, open-syllable, closed syllable, non-syllabic, initial, 16  medial, final, initial cluster, final cluster, etc.)
    17. 17. COMMON PHONEMIC RULES Aspiration [h] Unreleased Stop [ ̚ ] Flap [ɾ] Dental Consonants [⊓] Velarization [ɫ] Voicelessness [˚] Vowel lengthening [ ] Vowel nasalization [~] 17
    18. 18. Phonemic Awareness  Phonemic Awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, thesmallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/, requires 18 phonemic awareness skill.
    19. 19. 19
    20. 20. COMMON TYPES OF PHONEMIC AWARENESS Isolating  Hear and isolate sounds in initial, medial or final positions in word (e.g. bat, ball, bell, pal) Segmenting  Pronounce each phoneme in order as it occurs in word (bat >> b-a-t) Blending  Combine phonemes to make a word (hear sh-ip and say ship) Manipulating  Add or delete sounds in word to make new word  (add a “t” to an” and say ant; replace the sound “d” in sad with a “t” and say sat) 20
    21. 21. THEORETICAL TIMELINE OF PHONEME Ancient forerunners of modern descriptive linguistics (P¯ANINI, PATAÑJALI (India), the Greeks & “Anon” (Iceland, 12th C.)) clearly recognized the systematic nature between distinctive sound properties and the identity of words in their languages DE SAUSSURE (1857-1913) used “phonème”, first as a term for speech sounds, later as a purely functional entity. A. Dufriche-Desgenettes 1873 21  French word phonème as a speech sound Source: B. Elan Dresher
    22. 22. TIMELINE… Structuralism (Ferdinand de Saussure(1879), E. Sapir, and L. Bloomfield)  Tried to eliminate cognitive and psycholinguistic function of phoneme  Used to refer to a hypothesized sound in a proto-language together with its reflexes in the daughter languages Polish Kazan school (Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay and MikoÓaj Kruszewski 1875–1895)  As an abstract set of alternating invariant psycho phonetic elements : fonema, Prague School 1926–1935  the first group to formulate an explicit phonological theory Generative linguistics (Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle) 22 modern phonology
    23. 23. What:• Distinctive Feature TheoryWhen:• 1939, 1949 ( around 1050s)Who:• Roman Osipovich Jakobson Russianlinguist literary theoristWhere:• Czech AcademiesHow:• by considering the phonological concepts of de Saussure and Hjelmslev
    24. 24.  De Saussure‟s emphasized on the differential function of linguistic elements . Jakobson and Trubetzkoy attached great importance to the oppositions among phonemes rather than to the phonemes themselves The notion of component features is already implicit in the idea of opposition. The notion was made explicit by Jakobson‟s and Trubetzkoy‟s recognition of such features as „differential qualities‟ or „relevant properties‟. (binary features + - )
    25. 25.  Jakobson‟s greatest insight, distinctive feature, (after the phoneme) belongs to the (Functional) Structuralist Phonology. Jakobson (1939, 1949) drawing on earlier phonological concepts of de Saussure and Hjelmslev, pointed to the limited number of “differential qualities” or “distinctive features” that appeared to be available to languages.
    26. 26. Original set appeared in Jakobson, Fant and Halle: 12 featuresChomsky and Halle : 45 featuresMost modern phonologists: A binary system of indexing features: a segment either possesses or does not any one particular features. English (with around 45 phonemes) would be six, giving us 26 or 64 segments
    27. 27. JAKOBSON AND HALLE: 12 FEATURES All of the features are polar oppositions, allowing relative values Each feature is binary, with only two opposed values along a single dimension. They employed features listed with articulatory correlates as well as acoustic cues. i) The vocalic portion ii) The presence of release burst iii) Duration of the closure interval iv) rise-time of the fricative time v) Duration of the fricative noise
    28. 28. Sonority Protensity
    29. 29. Sonority Tonality
    30. 30. If the word high-handed falls out of use, then synonyms like arrogant and presumptuous will extend their uses. If we drop the final f or v the results in English are not momentous (we might still recognize belie as belief from the context), but not if the final s is dropped (we should then have to find some new way of indicating plurals).Markedness Universalhierarchy of Saussurean structural- distinctive hypotheses functional theory features of phonology
    32. 32. THREE PRINCIPLES SURROUNDING THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURE SET It should be able to characterize all contrasting segments in human languages It should be able to capture natural classes in a clear fashion It should be transparent with regard to phonetic correlates
    33. 33. DISTINCTIVE FEATURES … Are minimal linguistic units Are limited Only binary oppositions are accepted The universal set of cognitive properties Are associated with speech sound Determine the contrast between speech sounds Describe the ways in which these sounds change Define the natural classes ( set of sounds)
    34. 34. NATURAL CLASSES A natural class of sounds in a language consists on those sounds which share certain distinctive feature to the exclusion of all other sounds in a language. They often pattern together in similar ways. The labio-velar sound [w] as in „wit‟ can not follow a specific group of sounds in English;  [w] may follow [d] or [k] sounds as in „dwell‟,‟quell‟  But can not follow natural class of „labials‟ and „labio- dentals‟ [ f,v,b,p]
    35. 35. FEATURE VALUE  The distinctive feature values for the sounds of a language are arranged as a matrix with + or – or 0 (non-relevant values obstruent vowels glides liquids nasals s[consonental] + - - + +[Vocalic] - + - - -[sonarant] - + + + +examples [p b z θ] [i: a] [j w] [l r] [m n]
    36. 36. FEATURES AND MARKEDNESS OF SPEECH SOUND Implicational law  Most common sound: unmarked  Progressively rarer sounds: marked The relationship that holds between them is called implicational law