phonology.S18(1).pdf - LING 1010 Language and Mind...

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01/29/18 Phonology LING 1010 Language and Mind Prof. Jon Gajewski Based on lectures notes by Jon Sprouse. All errors are mine.
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Sequences of sounds
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Sequences of sounds So far, we’ve been talking about phonemes in isolation. But language is actually sequences of phonemes . So what do we find when we look at sequences of phonemes? You might think that any sound can appear next to any other sound. But this isn’t true. There are patterns in the sequences that we use. Here is a concrete example (that you probably never noticed before): What is this thing? Does the word have a “ t ” in it? This is a TEE Sure, right here. What is this thing? Does the word have a “ t ” in it? This is a TREE Sure, right here. Or does it? Try saying this word. Does it really have a “t”?
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Sequences of sounds So far, we’ve been talking about phonemes in isolation. But language is actually sequences of phonemes . So what do we find when we look at sequences of phonemes? You might think that any sound can appear next to any other sound. But this isn’t true. There are patterns in the sequences that we use. Here is a concrete example (that you probably never noticed before): This is a T EE In IPA it is [ t i] But this is a CH REE In IPA it is [ t ʃ ri]
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This forms a regular pattern Is this a T REE or a CH REE ? Is this a T RAIN or a CH RAIN ? Is this a T RUCK or a CH RUCK ? Is this a T RANSFORMER or a CH RANSFORMER ?
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Phonotactic constraints Lots of consonants can appear before [r], but for some reason, [t] cannot. There is no word in English that has the sequence [tr] at the beginning of a syllable. A ban on a sequence of phonemes is called a phonotactic constraint . fr gr kr pr br sr vr tr * We use an asterisk to indicate that something never happens. chr shr In fact, if you create novel words and ask English speakers to pronounce them, even if you spell them with a [t], they will pronounce it [ t ʃ ]. Try it! tronk trallo trimp trulip So this isn’t an accident. It looks like English prohibits the sequence [tr] , even for new words!
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A different kind of constraint There are lots of constraints like the one against [tr]. I want to show you one more because it is a little different, and therefore will give a good perspective on how to look for patterns in sequences of phonemes. You probably remember from grammar school that the plural marker is “s”. (And sometimes “es”, but let’s set that aside for now and focus on “s”.) Try pronouncing all of these plural nouns and pay attention to the plural marker “s”: cats snacks trips knobs tags lids What do you notice about the way the “s” is pronounced in the two columns?
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  • Spring '09
  • Wurmbrand
  • Writer, Phoneme, International Phonetic Alphabet, articulatory features

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