For BeUer or For Worse®
FOR BETIER OR FOR WORSE © 1990
LynnJohnston Productions. Dist.
Universal Press Syndicate. Reprinted with
permission. All rights reserved.
oth phonetics and phonology can be generally described as the study of speech
sounds, but they are not the same field. Phonetics (the subject of Chapter 2) is specif-
ically the study of how speech sounds are produced, what their physical properties
are, and how they are interpreted. Phonology, on the other hand, is the study ofthe distri-
bution of sounds in a language and the interactions between those different sounds. Pho-
nologists askthe following kinds ofquestions: What is the organization ofsounds in a given
language? Of all the sounds in a language, which are predictable and which are unpre-
diCtable in given contexts? Which sounds affect the identities of words?
The Value of Sounds: Phonemes and Allophones
Introduces thl? two levels
phonological representation-phonemes and allophones-and
describes the three basic ways sounds can be distributed in a language.
Describes how phonological rules map between the two levels, introduces the idea
classes, and. i1Jtroduces several types
common phonological processes.
Phonotacticc::onstraints and Foreign Accents
Introduces the idea that there are language-specific limitations on how sounds can be put
together, and relates this to some
the reasons that non-native speakers
a language seem
to have a foreign accent.
Describes how certain phonological patterns recur in languages, in a particular ordered
and introduces some explanatory principles for these patterns.
How to Solve Phonology Problems
Outlines some basic techniques and strategies for solving phonological analysis problems.
Provides exercises, discussion questions, and activities related to phonology.
Phonemes and Allophones
Predicting the Occurrence
In both Kikamba (a Bantu language spoken in Kenya) and English, we can hear the sounds
[k] and [g]. The Kikamba word [kosuuIJga] 'to guard' contains both phones, as does the En-
glish word [kagnelt]
The difference between Kikamba and English lies in the way
the two sounds contribute to the identity of a word. In English, the two phones can distin-
gUish words, as shown by words like [trek]
where alternating between [k]
and [g] affects the message conveyed by the utterance. IIi this sense, phonologists say that
the occurrence of these two sounds in English is unpredictable, since we cannot look at the
rest of the word and determine which sound will occur. That is, if we know that a word in
English begins with [tre], we cannot predict whether the word will end with [k] or [g] since
are different, but possible, words.
In Kikamba, on the other hand, the sounds [k] and [g]
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