LECTURE 5

LECTURE 5 - Lecture 5 Phonotactics Part 1 What do English...

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Lecture 5: Phonotactics Part 1 What do English words sound like? What don’t they sound like?
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Phonotactics As you well know, languages do not allow random sequences of sounds. Rather, languages have restrictions on the types of sounds that are allowed to occur in particular positions in a word. These restrictions are called phonotactic constraints.
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English Phonotactics Each language has its own language- specific phonotactic constraints. In this course, we will focus on English. Specifically, we will discuss what sound sequences are possible in English phonological words. We will identify English phonotactic constraints, and see how they are ultimately related to syllable structure.
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Remember. .. At the very beginning of the course, we spent a long time trying to define a ‘word.’ We concluded that the usual meaning of ‘word’ corresponded to at least two separate ideas: a listeme (a minimal unit of meaning) and a phonological word (a minimal unit of speech).
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Main Problem: What defines a possible phonological word? The problem at hand: What defines a phonological word? We need to identify the rules/constraints that govern a possible sequence of sounds in English.
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What do you know about English words? As native speakers if English, you all have intuitions about what is an English word and what isn’t. (However, you don’t have any intuition about possible Russian words. / ˈ fstre ʧ j a/ Dogs is a phonological word (2listemes), but –s is not. Works like a dog (4 phonological words, 1 listeme)
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What do you know about English words? For phonological words ,(though not listemes), you have a set of ideas about how they can sound — about what is a possible English word. You deploy this knowledge when trying to construct a word in Scrabble — and when you’re listening to a stream of speech.
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Consider 8 strings of sounds timp rog mbotto flezk spink beh bod psore /t ɪmp/ /ɹɑg/ /mbɑto/ /flɛzk/ /spɪŋk/ /bɛ/ /bɑd/ /psɔɹ/
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Consider 9 strings of sounds Give each of the 9 words a rating from 1-5. 1- definitely not an English word. 5- definitely is an English word. Arrange the words according to the score from highest to lowest. What are your ratings? Compare your ranking with the following sample of 40 native speakers
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Word-like-ness Ratings Word Ratings 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 bod timp rog spink beh psore flezk mbotto word
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There’s a gradual decrease from bod to spink as well as from beh to mbotto. There’s a big jump between
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LECTURE 5 - Lecture 5 Phonotactics Part 1 What do English...

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