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3 Phonology For BeUer or For Worse by Lynn Johnston W1U-1.tJJ A::AO AN'1ELLMe.IF , ? FOR BETIER OR FOR WORSE 1990 Lynn Johnston Productions. Dist. By Universal Press Syndicate. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. 3.0 What Is Phonology? B oth phonetics and phonology can be generally described as the study of speech sounds, but they are not the same field. Phonetics (the subject of Chapter 2) is specif- ically the study of how speech sounds are produced, what their physical properties are, and how they are interpreted. Phonology, on the other hand, is the study of the distri- bution of sounds in a language and the interactions between those different sounds. Pho- nologists ask the following kinds ofquestions: What is the organization of sounds in a given language? Of all the sounds in a language, which are predictable and which are unpre- diCtable in given contexts? Which sounds affect the identities of words? Contents 3.1 The Value of Sounds: Phonemes and Allophones Introduces thl? two levels of phonological representation-phonemes and allophones-and describes the three basic ways sounds can be distributed in a language. 3.2 PhonolRgic;I1 Rules Describes how phonological rules map between the two levels, introduces the idea of natural classes, and. i1Jtroduces several types of common phonological processes. 3.3 Phonotacticc::onstraints and Foreign Accents Introduces the idea that there are language-specific limitations on how sounds can be put together, and relates this to some of the reasons that non-native speakers of a language seem to have a foreign accent. 3.4 Implicational Laws Describes how certain phonological patterns recur in languages, in a particular ordered and introduces some explanatoryprinciples for these patterns. 3.5 How to Solve Phonology Problems Outlines some basic techniques and strategies for solving phonological analysis problems. 3.6 Practice Provides exercises, discussion questions, and activities related to phonology. 100 3.1 The Value of Sounds: Phonemes and Allophones 3.1.1 Predicting the Occurrence of Sounds In both Kikamba (a Bantu language spoken in Kenya) and English, we can hear the sounds [k] and [g]. The Kikamba word [kosuuIJga] 'to guard' contains both phones, as does the En- glish word [kagnelt] cognate. The difference between Kikamba and English lies in the way the two sounds contribute to the identity of a word. In English, the two phones can distin- gUish words, as shown by words like [trek] tack and [treg] tag! where alternating between [k] and [g] affects the message conveyed by the utterance. IIi this sense, phonologists say that the occurrence of these two sounds in English is unpredictable, since we cannot look at the rest of the word and determine which sound will occur. That is, if we know that a word in English begins with [tre], we cannot predict whether the word will end with [k] or [g] since both tack and tag are different, but possible, words.... View Full Document

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