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Unformatted text preview: Ling. 1000 6.0 12
Introduction to Linguistics 1. Phonological Contrast Sounds contrast if the phonetic difference between them is capable of distinguishing words of different meaning eg.
English [f] and [V] are contrastive since the phonetic difference between them is sufficient to distinguish between words
such as ﬁne vs. vine. Sounds are noncontrastive if the phonetic difference between them is not capable of indicating
differences in meaning eg. English p and p“. 2 . Phoneme vs. Allophone
In describing the sound system of a language a distinction can be made between phoneme and allophone. phoneme: a contrastive unit of sound
allophone: any possible realization of a phoneme Each phonetic sound in a language is an allophone of some phoneme. Allophones are represented between square brackets
(eg. [p], [ph]) while phonemes are represented between slash brackets (eg. /p/). 3. Determining Phonological Contrast Two or more sounds are noncontrastive (or, allophonic variants) if in complementary distribution or free variation.
Sounds that are not in complementary distribution or free variation are contrastive (or, phonemic). 4. Complementary Distribution Any two or more sounds are in complementary distribution in a language if they occur in different, non-overlapping,
phonetic environments eg. the alveolar stops [t] and [d] are in complementary distribution in Muskogean: [d] only occurs
between vowels while [t] occurs in other positions within words. Sounds that are in complementary distribution are
noncontrastive since they do not have the potential of signifying a difference in meaning. 5. Free Variation Sounds are in free variation if they can occur in the same position within words but the phonetic difference between them
does not result in a difference in meaning eg. some speakers of English pronounce the mid tense vowels / e 0/ as
diphthongs while other speakers pronounce these same vowel sounds as monophthongs instead. This difference in
pronunciation, however, does not result in a change in meaning as is shown by the following minimal variants (different
pronunciations of the same word). day [de]vs.[dei] wrote [rot] vs. [rout] 6. Minimal and Near Minimal Pairs A minimal pair is any two words of different meaning that differ by a single sound in the same position. Minimal pairs
establish that the different sounds in question are contrastive since both can occur in the same phonetic environment (i.e
are not in complementary distribution) and the phonetic difference between them distinguishes words of different meaning
(i.e. are also not in free variation). eg. [b]vs.[d] [i]vs.[u] [leS-[Q] [ bid ] bead [ bit ] beat [ lak ] lock
[did] deed [ but ] boot [ lag ] log A near minimal pair is two words of different meaning that differ by more than one sound in the same position but where
the immediately preceding and following environment in which two sounds occur is the same eg. the words ﬁne and lime
are a near minimal pair contrasting [f] and  since while the ﬁnal consonant in each word is different, the immediately
adjacent environments are the same (i.e. both occur word initially followed by [aj]). A near minimal pair establishes that
the sounds in question are not in complementary distribution and so can be considered contrastive provided there is no
evidence of their being in free variation. 7. Distributional Statement The phonetic environment in which the different allophones of a given phoneme occur can be listed by means of a prose
statement or a distributional formula such as the following: Muskogean [d]/V_V
/t/z [ t] / elsewhere
The prose equivalent of this distributional statement reads: The phoneme /t/ has the allophones [t] and [d]. The voiced
allophone occurs between vowels while the voiceless variant occurs elsewhere (i.e. in all positions where an alveolar stop
can occur except intervocalically).
8 . Determining the Basic Form of a Phoneme
The basic form of a phoneme is that from which the nonbasic allophone(s) can be derived by the simplest and most phonetically natural rule(s). In many, but not all cases, this is equivalent to selecting the allophone that occurs in the
greatest number of different environments i.e. the allophone that has the least predictable or least restrictive distribution. Associated Reading Chapter 6 pp. 243-251 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2011 for the course LING 1000 taught by Professor Tom during the Fall '08 term at York University.
- Fall '08