Lecture 7 Sounds and Patterns

Lecture 7 Sounds and Patterns - Sounds and sound patterns...

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Sounds and sound patterns
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Speech sound inventories Individual languages have particular inventories of speech sounds ( phonemes ). No language uses up all possible speech sounds: * The number of consonants in the languages of the world ranges from 6 (Rotokas – spoken in Papua New Guinea) to 95 (!Xu – a Khoisan language of Southern Africa). * Most languages have between 20 and 37 phonemes. Source: Maddieson, Ian (1984) Patterns of Sounds. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
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Speech sound rules • The way sounds can combine to make words in a given language is determined by a relatively small set of rules. • These rules for combining sounds distinguish the possible words in a language from the impossible words.
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Sound patterns • What are possible words in a given language? * All actual words of a given language are possible words. For instance: brim in English * There are non-actual words that are possible. For instance: blim in English There are non-actual words that are impossible in a given language. For instance: bnim is an impossible word in English.
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When a speaker of one language uses some of their sound combination rules to speak another language, we call it a ‘foreign accent’. • Different varieties of a single language can also have (slightly or very) different rules for sound combination. • When speakers of different varieties hear each other, each will perceive that the other ‘speaks with an accent’.
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• Speech sounds themselves are clusters of sound information, built out of smaller elements of sound. • These smaller elements roughly correspond to different combinations and configurations of gestures of the vocal apparatus (the lungs, larynx, parts of the mouth, . ..). • When speech organs move in certain ways they
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This note was uploaded on 09/24/2011 for the course LIGN 8 taught by Professor Bakovic,e during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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Lecture 7 Sounds and Patterns - Sounds and sound patterns...

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