Phonetics and Phonology

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Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology Phonetic description of language Phonetic explanations for language sound patterns

To explain patterns we see in language sound systems, we will make reference to two phonetic systems “the talker” articulation, aerodynamics “the listener” acoustics, speech perception

The patterns we see in language sound systems can be classified into two sets: “process” sound alternations, conditioned changes “inventory” set of contrastive sounds in a language

Some examples of this “explanatory phonetics” approach to language sound systems. Process a. Assimilation b. Merger Inventory c. Economy d. Dispersion

Talker-driven Listener-driven

a. Assimilation - talker-driven sound change. an old Latin morpheme in English “in-” a newer (OE) morpheme in English “un-” insoluble intolerable inharmonious impossible illogical irrefutable in[]congruent in[]frequent unsatisfying untouchable unhappy unpopular unlearnable unreadable unkempt unfamiliar

In assimilation, adjacent or proximal sounds become more similar to each other. In these example two points of contact (e.g. lip, tongue) are replaced by one. How does the older prefix fare compared with the newer one? This can be seen as simplifying the speaker’s task - fewer movements need to be made.

b. Merger - listener-driven sound change. Vowel merger before nasals (in OK and other western states). “pen” [pn] “pin”

Vowels before nasal consonants like [n] tend to be nasalized. Vowel height contrasts (like [] versus []) are acoustically reduced in nasalized vowels because the lowest vowel resonance is hidden by nasal resonance and anti-resonance. This purely acoustical consequence of nasal assimilation makes the listener’s task harder. Listeners are then likely to hear [] as [  ].

c. Feature Economy- talker-driven inventory constraint. Though redundant perceptual cues might be best for the listener, p b p b t ! t d k  k g Unattested stop inventory...
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