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ING507 Linguistics The Nature of Language

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1 ING507 Linguistics The Nature of Language
Asst. Prof. Dr. Emrah Görgülü In the last lecture we looked at phonetics, an area of linguisitcs that is concerned with characterizing, classifying and transcribing speech sounds. In this lecture we are going to look into phonology! Lecture 5: The sound patterns of language

2 What is this? "Uans appona taim uas tri berres; mamma berre, pappa berre, e beibi berre. Live inne contri nire foresta. NAISE AUS. No mugheggia. Uanna dei pappa, mamma, e beibi go bice, orie e furghetta locche di dorra. Bai ene bai commese Goldilocchese. Sci garra natingha tu du batte meiche troble. Sci puscia olle fudde daon di maute; no live cromma. Den sci gos appesterrese enne slipse in olle beddse.“ Bob Belviso, quoted in Espy (1975) The chapter begins with something interesting. Who wants to read it? Once upon a time was three bears; mama bear, papa bear and baby bear. Live in the country near a forest. NICE HOUSE. No mortgage. One day, papa, mama, and baby bear go to beach, only they forget to lock the door. By and by comes Goldilocks. She got nothing to do but make trouble. She push all the food down the mouth; no leave a crumb. Then she goes upstairs and sleeps in all the beds. This is used as a lesson on how readers use previous knowledge & deep grammar to decode unfamiliar text. Read it as much as you can and translate it into English. If we can manage to make sense of Bob Belviso’s comic introduction to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we must be using our phonological knowledge of likely combinations of sounds in English words to overcome some very unusual spellings of those words.

3 Phonetics and Phonology
In phonetics, we looked at the physical production of speech sounds in terms of the articulatory mechanisms of the human vocal tract. Physical properties of some sounds: [t] voiceless alveolar stop [i] high front tense vowel [eɪ] a diphthong, a combo of one mid and one high vowel When we considered the human vocal tract, we did not have to specify whether we were talking about a fairly large person, over six feet tall, weighing 200 pounds, or rather a small person….. Where in our mouth do we make these sounds and how do we make them?

4 Phonetics and Phonology (cont’d)
Physically different individuals would inevitably have physically different vocal tracts, in terms of size and shape. Since every individual has a physically different vocal tract, every individual will pronounce sounds differently. Each individual will not pronounce the word “me” in a physically identical manner on every occasion. How do we manage consistently to recognize all those versions of me as the form [mi], and not [ni] or [si] or [ma] or [mo] or something else entirely? We know that…… The answer to that question is provided to a large extent by the study of phonology. The quality of sounds might change depending on the physical characteristics of a person? In purely physical terms,

5 What is phonology? Phonology is the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language. E.g. speak / *sb splint / *slpint It is concerned with the ways in which speech sounds form patterns and systems in human language. It deals with the abstract or mental aspect of the sounds in language rather than with the actual physical articulation of speech sounds. What sound patterns do we have in a language speak - *sb… splint - *plsint sing *ng... kalem, çocuk, sıra, masa Permissible sound sequences, only certain sound sequences are good, others are not permitted.

6 What is phonology? (cont’d)
When we think of the [t] sound in the words tick, stick, writer and eighth as being the same, we mean that, in the phonology of English, they would be represented the same way. In actual speech, these [t] sounds are very different. tick [tʰık] stick [stık] writer [raıtər] / [raıDər] eighth [eıtθ] Q: Can you think of any other sound in English that behaves like /t/ in English? [t] is a sound in English but it may have variations. Not all [t] sounds are the same in these words. / the presence of a dental sound causes a dental articulation of [t]. Because of meaningful consequences. kite – skirt – doctor (unreleased) pick - speak

7 Phonemes Each one of the meaning-distinguishing sounds in a language is described as a phoneme. How do we know [t] and [d] are phonemes in English? We need to find minimal pairs: ten – den ten [tɛn] / den [dɛn] How about [b] and [p]? Are they phonemes in English? _________________________________________ What about [g] and [k]? Are they phonemes in English? A phoneme is an abstract segment. A phoneme makes a difference in meaning. It is contrastive.

8 Phonemes (cont’d) An essential property of a phoneme is that it functions contrastively. There are two phonemes /f/ and /v/ in English because they are the only basis of the contrast in meaning btween the words: fat and vat fine and vine This contrastive property is the basic operational test for determining the phonemes which exist in a language. If we substitute one sound for another in a word and there is a change of meaning, then two sounds represent different phonemes. It is contrastive in the sense that it makes a difference in meaning.

9 Phonemes (cont’d) Place of articulation, manner of articulation, voicing are the distinguishing features of phonemes. If the feature is present, we mark it with a plus (+) sign. If it isn’t present, we use (-) minus sign. /p/ [-Voice, +Bilabial, +Stop] /k/ /v/

10 Phonemes and Allophones
The phoneme is an abstract unit or sound-type in the mind, there are different versions of that unit regularly produced in actual speech in the mouth. /t/ – phoneme (t-ness) [tʰ] [t] – allophones tar star The first sound in the word tar is pronounces with a stronger puff of air than is present in the first sound in the word star. You should feel some physical evidence of aspiration (puff of air)…… allo- means one of the closely related set. puff: a short and forceful exhalation of breath ….. İf you put the back of your hnad in front of your mouth

11 Phonemes and Allophones (cont’d)
The crucial distinction between phonemes and allophones is that substituting one phoneme for another will result in a word with a different meaning as well as a different pronunciation. [b] ban, bat, robe [v] van, vat, rove Substituting allophones only results in a different and perhaps unusual pronunciation of the same word. pot [pʰat] [pat] spot [spat] - [spʰat]

12 Phonemes and Allophones (cont’d)
Exercise: Look at the data from Thai and decide whether [t] and [tʰ] are different phonemes or allophones of the same phoneme? [paa] ‘forest’ [pʰaa] ‘to split’ [tam] ‘to pound’ [tʰam] ‘to do’ [kat] ‘to bite’ [kʰat] ‘to interrupt’ Answer: [p] and [pʰ] does distinguish meaning in Thai.

13 Minimal pairs and sets Phonemic distinctions in a language can be tested by way of minimal pairs and sets of words. When two words such as pat and bat are identical in form except for a contrast in one phoneme, occurring in the same position, the two words are described as a minimal pair. fan – van /f/ - /v/ bet – bat /ɛ/ - /æ/ site – side /t/ - /d/ rich – ridge /ʧ/ - /ʤ/ ban – pan /b/ - /p/

14 Phonotactics Phonotactics is the linguistic term for possible phoneme combinations in a language. big, rig, dig, fig There are no such words as lig and vig in English. However, they could be viewed as possible English words. Our phonological knowledge of the pattern of sounds in English words would allow us to treat these forms as acceptable. So lig and vig could exist in English but they happen not to = accidental gap. rig: a costume or an outfit: wore an outlandish rig to the office. Not English words but possible

15 Phonotactics (cont’d)
It is no accident that forms such as [bizm], [fsɪɡ] or [rnɪɡ] in English do not exist or are unlikely ever to exist. There are sounds that appear at the end of a word but never at the beginning. ________________ Knowledge of sound distribution or phonotactics: Which one sounds ok? /glark/ or /tlark/ /ʔip/ or /mip/ The words /tlark/ and /ʔip/ were formed without obeying some constraints on the position of English phonemes. Such constraints are called the phonotactics (i.e. permitted arrangements of sounds). -ng, Phonotactics has a strong correlation and relationship with the syllable structure.

16 Syllables A syllable is composed of one or more phonemes and it must contain a vowel sound. Every syllable has a nucleus, usually a vowel, or a syllabified liquid or nasal. The basic elements of the syllable are the onset (one or more consonants) preceding the nucleus and the rhyme that includes a nucleus and any following consonant(s) called the coda. Phonotactics has a strong correlation and relationship with the syllable structure. Words are composed of one or more syllables. A syllable is a phonological unit that is composed of one or more phonemes. Every syllable has a nucleus, usually a vowel. The nucleus may be preceded by one or more phonemes calle the syllable onset and followed by one or more segments called the coda. From an early age, children learn that certain words rhyme (have the same sounds at the end). In rhyming words, the nucleus and the coda of the final syllable are identical. We use the Greek letter sigma as the symbol for the phonological unit syllable. Jack an Jill Went up the hill To fetch a pail of water Jack fell down And broke his crown For this reason, the nucleus and coda constitute the subsyllabic unit called the rhyme.

17 Syllables (cont’d) There are generally two types of syllables:
The syllable that does not have coda is known as an open syllable. see [si], I [aɪ], too [tu] If the coda is present, it is called a closed syllable. cup [kʌp], grace [grejs], child [tʃaɪld] Consonant Clusters Both onset and coda can consist of more than one consonant known as a consonant cluster. The combination /st/ is a consonant cluster (CC) used as an onset in the word steam [stim], and as coda in the word best [bɛst].

18 Syllables (cont’d) There are many CC onset combinations permitted in English phonotactics as in: black, bread, trick, twin, play, clean, crayon What can we say about the first and the second consonant of these words? _________________________________ English can actually have larger onset clusters, as in the words: stress, splat, spring, splash (consisting of three inintial consonants) Do you think the phonotactics of these consonants is difficult to describe? /s/ + (/p/, /t/,/k/) + ( /r/, /l/, /w/ ) Now that we know more about individual sounds and have a new way of looking at sounds in languages, let’s consider these words in English and see how they are formed. We know that these sounds do not appear randomly. The order/combination of sounds in a word follows a specific system in the language. So what is going on in these words? Liquids /l/, /r/ and a glide /w/ are being used in the second position.

19 Coarticulation effects
Our talk is fast and spontaneous and it requires our articulators to move from one sound to the next without stopping. The process of making one sound almost at the same time as the next is called coarticulation. There are two well-known articulation effects: assimilation and elision Assimilation When two phonemes occur in sequence and some aspect of one phoneme is taken or ‘copied’ by the other, the process is known as assimilation. This process is occasioned by ease of articulation in everyday talk.

20 Coarticulation effects (cont’d)
Assimilation (cont’d) Think of the word have [hæv] and how it is pronounced in the sentence I have to go in everyday speech. As we start to say the /t/ sound in to, which is voiceless, we tend to produce a voiceless version of the preceding sound. What is the voiceless version of the sound /v/? [aɪ hæftə goʊ] Think of the phrase I miss you and how it is pronounced in rapid speech. [aɪ mɪs yu]  [aɪ mɪʃ yə] How about the sentence I can play and might be? Rules that make sounds more similar are called assimilation rules.

21 Coarticulation effects (cont’d)
Elision (the omission/delition of a sound) Omission of a sound segment which would be present in the deliberate pronounciation of a word in isolation is technically described as elision. In consonants clusters, especially in coda position, /t/ is a common casualty in this process, as in the typical pronunciation for: He must be [hi mʌst bɪ]  [hi mʌst bɪ] Handbag [hændbæg]  [hænbæg] He passed his exam [hi pæst hɪz ɪgzɛm]  [hi pæst ɪz ɪgzɛm] How about the word aspects and the phrase you and me? __________________

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