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Unformatted text preview: Lecture notes: 4.1 July 2, 2009 1 Allophony On Tuesday we saw how our two classes of stops (voiceless and voiced) dont tell the whole story about whats going on phonetically. We actually have three classes in terms of VOT voiced, voiceless unaspirated, and voiceless aspirated. ( Review these terms.) e.g.: (1) bat, pat, spat duck, tuck, stuck gab, cab, scab We agreed that there was a sameness about [p] and [p h ] in the way we treat them in English we assign them to the same category. The term for that kind of category is a phoneme . And allophony and phoneme are our first terms that belong to phonology in particular, not to phonetics. Lets define those terms first. (At least preliminary definitions). Phonology and phonetics are both the study of sound. But they differ from one another: (2) a. Phonology: The study of the abstract mental representation and organi- zation of sounds. b. Phonetics: The study of sounds as physical entities, with real articulatory and acoustic properties. We can distinguish them here in practice: [p] and [p h ] are different sounds in terms of phonetics; but in English, they belong to the same phonological category a cat- egory that well call /p/. Some basic distinctions between these two branches: (3) Phonology vs. phonetics: Phonetics Phonology Concrete Abstract Continuous Categorical Language independent Language dependent 1 One famous idea that can capture this distinction is Saussures chessboard . Ferdinand de Saussure was one of the founders of linguistics as a science he taught in Europe at the turn of the last century. He made a famous comparison of speech to chess. Consider a chessboard: (4) Saussures chessboard board 1: people.ucsc.edu/ ~ kirchner/classes/intro/files/01-chessboard-1.jpg Like speech, this chessboard has a dual reality. (It helps if you think of this as a real chessboard with physical pieces; I was too lazy to actually set that up though...): (5) a. The abstract arrangement of the pieces on the board: a black king sitting on this square, a white queen on that square, etc. b. The concrete reality of this particular instantiation of the pieces and board: a king carved to look like a real person or the more familiar symbolic pieces; a board made out of plastic or marble, etc. These two realities are constrained by each other in important ways. The abstract reality doesnt totally condition the concrete reality, but it does in some ways it requires that the pieces look different from one another; there is pressure for the pieces to resemble their names in some ways, etc. But theyre also independent of each other. We can have totally different pieces and a board while leaving exactly the same abstract reality: (6) Saussures chessboard board 2: people.ucsc.edu/ ~ kirchner/classes/intro/files/02-chessboard-2.jpg In an important way, speech is similar in having a dual reality....
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- Spring '09