Phonology n The study of the mental organization of a language’s sound system. n Units of organization: syllables –Biggest: syllables, metrical feet, words segments –Middle: segments (phonemes and allophones) features –Smallest: features
Segmental Phonology n There are hundreds of possible speech sounds n Each language only uses a few of these. contrast n What is of interest to phonologists is which sounds contrast. n Sounds contrast when their presence alone distinguishes forms with different meanings
The Minimal Pair Test n Two sounds contrast (or are distinctive) if you can find a pair of words that differ in only that sound, that mean different things. minimal pair[pæd][bæd] minimal pair Mean different things: /p/ and /b/ contrast not minimal pair[pæt] [pæt h ] not minimal pair Mean the same thing: [t] and [t h ] do not contrast
Crucial concept 1: Phoneme phonemes n When two sounds contrast they are part of different phonemes. /p/ and /b/ are different phonemes n Phonemes are abstract mental units that represent sounds. n Be careful! Phonemes are not sounds themselves, they are mental units representing sounds!!!
Crucial Concept 2: Allophones allophones n Phonetic forms that don’t contrast (make a difference in meaning) are called allophones [t] and [t h ] are allophones of the phoneme /t/ n Allophones are the various pronunciations of a phoneme.
Phonemes & Allophones n Phonemes are written between / / brackets n Allophones are written between [ ] brackets /t/phonemic (abstract/mental) category [t] [t h ] allophonic (phonetic) realizations in your mindwhat you actually say
Language Specificity n In English, [p h ] and [p] are allophones of the same phoneme (/p/), meaning that a word doesn’t change its meaning if you substitute one sound for the other. n For example: [p h aj] vs. [paj] ‘pie’
Language Specificity separate n But in Thai, [p h ] and [p] are not allophones of a single phoneme; each is an allophone of a separate phoneme. For example: [pAA] ‘aunt’ vs. [p h AA] ‘cloth’ n This is a minimal pair: two words that differ only in the pronunciation of a single sound. n A minimal pair’s existence tells you that the sounds in question are separate phonemes in that language.
Language Specificity n The status as a phoneme is a language specific matter EnglishThai /p/ /p//p h / [p] [p h ] [p][p h ]
File 4.4, Exercise 1.1 Sindhi [p´nu] leaf[b´dZu] run [b´nu] forest[b´tSu] be safe [p h ´nu] snake hood There is a minimal pair (trio) between ‘leaf’, ‘forest’ and ‘snake hood’. Therefore /p/, /b/ and /p h / are all different phonemes in Sindhi. There is a minimal pair between ‘run’ and ‘be safe’. Therefore /d Z /, /t S / are different phonemes in Sindhi.
Sounds in context n The pronunciation of a phoneme is often determined by the other sounds around it. environment n The nearby sounds around a phoneme are called the environment of that phoneme. n E.g. in the word [pæt], [p__t] is the environment for the [æ].
Crucial concept 3: Complementary Distribution different environments n When two phones are mutually exclusive, i.e., they appear in different environments –[spæt][p h æt]*[sp h æt] *[pæt] –[spul][p h ul]*[sp h ul]*[pul] complementary distribution n [p h ] and [p] are in complementary distribution (which means they are allophones of the same phoneme). n When sounds are in complementary distribution, you can predict where you get each sound.
Complementary Distribution n Another example: –[blu]blue[pl6aw] plow –[glim] gleam[kl6Qp]clap –[slIp]sleep[pl6ej]play –[flAg]flog
The mental concept of “supermanhood” (phoneme) In complementary distribution: never seen in the same place at the same time. Allophones!
NOT in complementary distribution: can both be present at the same time: allophones of different phonemes
Crucial Concept 4: Free Variation same n When two sounds appear in the same environment, but don’t make a difference in meaning: [lip] leap[lip|] leap [sowp] soap[sowp|] soap free variation Perceived as the same sound: another kind of allophony. This is called free variation.
Method 1 How can I tell if two sounds are phonemes or allophones? Method 1 n Check for minimal pairs. If there is a pair then the sounds are separate phonemes n Check for complementary distribution. Are the sounds found in the same phonetic environment? If not, they are allophones of the same phoneme.
Method 1 How can I tell if two sounds are phonemes or allophones? Method 1 n If two sounds are in complementary distribution then (a) figure out which one is predictable and which one is the “elsewhere” variant. The elsewhere variant is the symbol that we use for the phoneme /X/Phoneme (in your mind) [X][Y]Allophones (what you say) elsewhere predictable same symbol
Method 1 How can I tell if two sounds are phonemes or allophones? Method 1 n and (b) write a rule that spells out where the predictable variant is found. /X/ [Y] / environment ____ environment n A fairly rare situation: If the two sounds are in the same phonetic environment (and there were no minimal pairs!) Then they are possibly in free variation.
same environment? The sounds are in complementary distribution and are allophones of the same phoneme No same meaning? Yes The sounds are free variation in free variation and are allophones of the same phoneme Yes Minimal Pair Minimal Pair: The sounds are different phonemes No data List the environments of the sounds Method 2
Sample problem: English long vowels Question: are long and short vowels in English allophones of single phonemes, or are they separate phonemes? (a vowel followed by the symbol [:] is a long vowel) Are there any minimal pairs? NO! (There are no examples that differ in ONLY one sound!) Do long and short vowels occur in the same phonological environment? NO! Therefore, these are in complementary distribution and each long/short vowel pair represent allophones of same phoneme. [p h æ:d] ‘pad’ [p h æt] ‘pat’ [hu:d] ‘who’d’[hut] ‘hoot’ [mi:d] ‘mead’ [mit] ‘meet’ [row:m]‘roam’[rowp] ‘rope’ [ti: D ]teethe [ti T ] ‘teeth’ [flu] ‘flew’ V: _ d _m _ D V _ t _ p _ T _ # Is there any overlap between the columns?
English long and short vowels, continued... n What is the rule for vowel lengthening in English, based on the data we just saw? n To answer this question, we must make a generalization about the environment in which we find long vowels. n The generalization is… –English vowels are long before a voiced consonant.
Phonological Rules n When the distribution is predictable, we can write a rule that represents this distribution. n These rules are part of your knowledge of language.
Phonological Rules n The rules take the form: elsewhere predictable / environment n English long vowels: /V/ [V ] / ___ C voiced n This rule expresses a generalization about what the speaker of English knows about their language.
Sample Problem:Classical Arabic 1. kalbdog 2. qari:bnear 3. kubbameatloaf 4. kudsheat 5. qalbheart 6. qudssanctity 7. kari:mnoble 8. qubbadome are [k] and [q] allophones of the same phoneme? Minimal pairs Near minimal pair
Sample Problem: Tojolabal 1. kisimmy beard 2. k'i S in warm 3. sakwhite 4. ? ak'read n are [k] and [k'] allophones of the same phoneme? No, we have 2 near-minimal pairs here. (Same environment for sound)
File 4.4, exercise 0.0 Mokilese [pi6san] full of leaves[uduk] flesh [dupu8kda] bought[kaskas] to throw [pu8ko] basket[poki] to strike something [ki6sa] we two[pil] water [su8pwo] firewood[apid] outrigger support [kamwçki6ti]to move[lu d Zuk] to tackle [i 6 ] p_ s k_s k_t [i] t__# p_l p_d k_# [u 8 ] p_k s_p [u] #_d l_d Z d_k d_p d Z _k same distribution? NO! therefore complementary distribution and allophones of same phoneme /i/,/u/ [i 6 ],[u 8 ] / C 8 _____ C 8
File 4.4, Exercise 1.4 Russian (Data corrected) [at´m] atom[dAlÚ] he gave [dva] two[pA : …k´] stick [dar] gift [ukrA…´] she stole [maz j ] ointment[brA…] he took [m j at´] mint a #_t v_# d_r m_z j m j _t A p_ … d_ … r_ … same environment? no therefore in complementary distribution and allophones of the same phoneme /a/ [ A] /___ … more predictable less predictable: elsewhere /a/ [a] [A][A]
Summary n Phonemes, abstract mental unit of sound Distinctive/contrastive: minimal pairs n Allophones: variant forms of a phoneme Complementary distribution: different environments Free variation: same environment but no diff in meaning n Forms in complementary distribution are predictable by rules.