The Sound Patterns of Language: Phonology Chapter 5 Ms. Abrar A. Mujaddidi
Introduction • In the previous chapter, we have investigated the physical production of speech sounds. • What made that investigation possible? YET; • Every individual has a vocal tract that is physically different than others’. • So, every individual will pronounce sounds differently.
cont., • Moreover, every individual will pronounce the same word differently on different occasions. • What makes us recognize all the different versions of the word ‘me’ as [mi], not as any other word?
Phonology • Phonology is the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language. • It is based on a theory of what every speaker of a language unconsciously knows about sound patterns of that language. • Provide examples..
cont, • Phonology is concerned with the abstract or mental aspects of sounds in language. • Compare to phonetics? Phonetics is the physical properties of speech sounds, e.g. how the sound is physically produced. • Phonology serves as the underlying design for all the variations in different physical articulations of a sound type in different contexts.
cont., • We think of the [t] sound in the following words to be the same: - tar - star - writer - eighth • What we mean is that in the phonology of English they are all represented inn the same way, but physically, they are all different!
Phonemes • Phonemes: meaning-distinguishing sounds in a language. • Phonemes are written between slashes e.g. /t/ • Phonemes function contrastively e.g. /f/ and /v/ fat vat finevine
cont., • To determine the phonemes that exist in a language: we use the contrastive property: if we substitute one sound for another in a word and there is a change in meaning, then the two sounds represent different phonemes. e.g. night vs. kite
cont., • The basic phonemes of English are listed in the consonant and vowel charts of English. • The features of each sound are used to create these charts. • Those features are used to distinguish one phoneme from another. • We use the (+) and (-) to mark the presence or absence of the phonemic features. e.g. /p/ [ -voice, +bilabial, +stop] /k/ [ -voice, +velar, + stop]
cont., • Natural class: /p/ [ -voice, +bilabial, +stop] /k/ [ -voice, +velar, + stop] because these two sounds share some features, they are described sometimes as members of a natural class of sounds. • Sounds which share common features behave phonologically in a similar way. • A sound which does not share these features behave differently.
cont., • Cont. natural class: e.g. /v/ [+voice, +labiodental, +fricative] So, /v/ cannot be put in the same ‘natural’ class of sounds as /p/ and /k/. • The idea of natural class can help in explaining why we have words in English starting with /pl-/ and /kl-/ but not with /vl-/.
Phones and allophones • We established earlier that a phoneme is the abstract unit (in the mind). • There are many versions of that unit regularly produced in actual speech (in the mouth). we can describe these different versions as phones.
cont., • Phones are: phonetic units and appear in square brackets. • We can have several versions of one phoneme. These are allophones of one phoneme. e.g. /t/ 1 phone [tʰ] tar phoneme 1 phone [ ] writer 1phone [ ] eighth Allophones
cont., • The basic distinction between phonemes and allophones: - In phonemes: if we substitute one phoneme for another will result in a word with a different meaning (and of course pronunciation). e.g. tar vs. bar - When substituting allophones, only unusual pronunciations of the same word occur. e.g. فأر vs. ڤأر
cont., • Another example to clarify the idea of phonemes vs. allophones: vowel nasalization -Phonemic in French e.g. [so] (pail) [sõ] (sound) - Non-phonemic in English; since nasalizing a vowel does not change a meaning of a word. - Try it out!
Minimal pairs and sets • How do we test phonemes? We test phonemes by pairs and sets of words. • Minimal pair: When two words are identical in form except for a contrast in one phoneme occurring in the same position, then the two words are described a minimal pair. e.g. bat vs. fat bat vs. bet
cont., • Minimal sets: When a group of words can be differentiated by changing one phoneme in the same position in the word, then we have a minimal set. e.g. feat fit fat fate foot
Phonotactics • In each language, there are a number of patterns in the types of sounds combinations permitted. e.g. In English, we can create new words vig or las, but not fsig or rnig! • Phonotactics are the permitted arrangements of sounds in a a language are part of the every speaker’s phonological knowledge.
cont., vocabulary gaps accidental systematic gaps gaps e.g. vig or fsig or rnig lig
Syllables and Clusters • A syllable must contain a vowel or a vowel-like sound. • The most common type of syllable in a language has a consonant as well. • When describing syllables: C = consonant V = vowel
cont., syllable onsetrhyme (optional) Nucleuscoda (not optional) (optional) one or more consonants vowel one or more consonants
cont., syllables open syllables closed syllables Syllables which end syllables which in a vowel and end in a coda no coda ‘consonants’
cont., • Consonant clusters: both the onset and the coda can consist of more that one consonant e.g. green (CCVC) street (CCCVC) post (CVCC)
cont., • In English, consonant clusters of more than two consonants follow a certain rule:
Co-articulation effects • We have been describing the production of speech in slow motion. • On the contrary, our speech is fast and spontaneous. • Our articulators move very quickly from one sound to another without stopping.
cont., • Co-articulation: co-articulation is the process of making one sound almost at the same time of making the next sound. • Examples of Co-articulation effects: 1. Assimilation 2. Elision
Assimilation • Assimilation occurs when two sounds occur in sequence and some aspect of one segment is taken or ‘copied’ by the other. • Examples of Assimilation: • Vowel nasalization: as in pin or pan. • Velarization: as in I can go. • Vowel reduction: you and me.
Elision • Elision is the process of not pronouncing a sound segment that might be present in the deliberately careful pronunciation. • Examples of elision: • You and me • Friendship • aspects