Linguistics post-secondary school Flashcards

vocal folds
Terms Definitions
What is Phonetics?
study of production and perception of speech sounds

related to the science of acoustics, as uses much the same
techniques in the analysis of sound that acoustics does.

articulatory, acoustic and perceptual phonetics.
What is Phonology?
sound patterns of language.

examines what occurs to speech
sounds when they are combined to form a word and how these speech sounds interact with each other.

Explanation of these phonological processes
What is Morphology?
study of word formation and structure

how words are put together from smaller parts, and rules governing this process.

elements that combine to form words are called morphemes. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning you can have in a language.
What is Syntax?
study of sentence structure.

Description of what is grammatical in a particular language in terms of rules
What are Semantics?
study of meaning.

Description of how we represent the meaning of a word in our mind

how we use this representation in constructing sentences
effect of situation on language use, or meaning in context
Historical Linguistics
study of language change and the relationships of languages to each other
study of interrelationships of language and social structure, linguistic variation, and attitudes toward language
Language acquisition
L1 acquisition: how infants/children learn to speak their first language

L2 acquisition: how adults/children learn a second language
how language is implemented in the brain
study of the brain and how it functions in the production, perception and acquisition of language
Applied linguistics sub-fields
Language teaching


Language revitalization

Speech pathology

Computational linguistics

are even;

form an unbroken barrier;

are upright;

top and bottom set meet.

-not needed for eating, but great for articulation of several sounds.
Muscles are more developed than other primates

Mouth can be opened and shut rapidly

simple to pronounce certain sounds
Thick, muscular and mobile

Allows possibility to vary the size of the mouth cavity, allowing pronunciation of a large range of vowels

Above allow us to produce a variety of sounds rapidly and in a controlled way\
Simpler than other primates

allows air to move past without hindrance

Not necessarily good : specialized larynx means though that we can’t seal our mouth off from our windpipe and breathe while eating, like monkeys
Function in similar ways to other animals, but

Don’t need to learn to breathe while talking
easily adapted to language
very different from other animals

Heavier, more surface folding of the cortex (outer layer which surrounds the inner core of nerve fibres).

2 hemispheres of brain do not function in the same way
Phonetic alphabets
are designed for writing down utterances in a way that records how they sounded
Specialized alphabet
Many have been invented

One with widespread use is International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), used by phoneticians, linguists, speech/language pathologists, and increasingly by dictionary makers and second language teachers
The International Phonetic Alphabet
Guiding principles
One sound, one symbol

A symbol should always represent the same sound, regardless of the language being transcribed. A sound should always be represented by the same symbol
The International Phonetic Alphabet
Guiding principles
use letters of the Roman alphabet where possible

BUT: more speech sounds than there are letters of the Roman alphabet.

Modifications [ ɲ ĸ ɢ ʍ ʏ ɥ ħ ]
Letters from Roman-based alphabets of Europe [ œ ø ð ]
Greek letters [ɛ Ɵ ]
New symbols [ ʃ ] [ ʘ ]
The International Phonetic Alphabet
Guiding principles
Major sounds are represented by symbols; minor modifications of sounds are represented by diacritics on symbols

[õ] - a nasalized [o], like [o] but with air flowing through the nose as well as the mouth

[n̥]- circle indicates that the sound is like an ordinary [n], except that the vocal folds are not vibrating. .
Random Facts
revised a number of times since 1888, most recently in 1993, few minor changes in 1996

standard system of phonetic transcription in linguistics.

adopted by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), licensing body for U.S. speech/language pathologists and audiologists

used for the entries in most foreign language dictionaries and recent British ones.
Phonetic units
Human language is made up of a finite number of possible speech sounds.

vocal folds are on top of trachea, bands of ligament & muscle lying across the air passage which can be opened and closed, allowing air to pass or not.

opening between the vocal folds is called the glottis
Glottal states
vocal folds can be positioned in different ways

As the air passes through the spaces between the vocal folds (the glottis), different glottal states are produced
Vocal folds are too far apart to vibrate, but close enough that they can cause some turbulence in the airstream.

air is allowed through freely, with slight friction noise.
Vocal folds are nearly closed, forcing a vibration when air passes in the vocal folds, which is called a voiced sound
Vocal folds are open, but adjusted so that the anterior portions are close together while posterior portions are apart
Murmur/Breathy voice
Vocal folds are vibrating, closed almost like voiced, but relaxed to allow some air to pass through the glottis causing turbulence, hence breathiness
Creaky voice
only the front part of the vocal folds are vibrating, giving a very low frequency.

Try speaking at the lowest pitch you can. Then go lower
Harsh voice
very strong tension of the vocal folds
Upper and lower articulators work together to form an obstruction to the air passage.
Sound classes
We can group sounds into classes based on shared phonetic properties
Sound classes - consonants
Either complete closure or narrowing of vocal tract

Airflow is blocked or restricted so that noise is produced as turbulence/air flows past the constriction
Sound classes - vowels
Produced with little obstruction

Tip of tongue remains low


More sonorous than consonants
Acoustic differences
Vowels are acoustically strong.

Consonants are low intensity.

Can be seen on spectrograms which analyze the waveform into its frequency components.
Vowels form the nucleus/base for syllables.

Less sonorous segments surround the vowel peak.
-careful, folded, computer
Comparison of sound classes
Produced with little obstruction in vocal tract

More sonorous

Form nucleus of syllable
Comparison of sound classes
Complete closure or narrowing of vocal tract

Less sonorous

Surround a vowel in a syllable
Sound classes - glides
Show properties of both consonants and vowels.

Articulation like a vowel

Movement like a consonant

Pattern like consonants wrt syllables (never in nucleus)

/j/ ‘you’ and /w/ ‘was’in English.
English stops - variants
After initial voiceless stops, there’s a delay in voicing of the vowel which is accompanied by a puff of air.

pit [pʰɪt] spit [spɪt]

tiff [tʰɪf] stiff [stɪf]

cab [kʰæb] scab [skæb]
tongue tip raises to touch dental or alveolar upper articulator

air escapes through the mouth along the lowered sides of the tongue.

laterals are most naturally pronounced voiced.
English r
English r is retroflex – bunch the tongue upward and back in the mouth

IPA transcribes this r as [ɹ], but we’ll use [r]
Other classes of consonants - liquids
/l/ and /r/ often pattern together in phonology

I.e. plied, pried, splash, spray, etc.

called liquids
Other consonant classes: sonorants
Sonorants are more sonorous, normally voiced

Sonorants are in opposition to obstruents

Sonorants = nasals, liquids, glides, vowels.

Obstruents = stops, fricatives, affricates.
Syllabic liquids & nasals
normally vowels are nuclei of syllables, because they’re so sonorous.

But sometimes liquids & nasals can also become syllables.

Transcription is not always consistent.
Syllabic consonants
‘summer’ [sʌmr̩] or [sʌmər]
‘word’ [wr̩d] or [wərd]
‘tunnel’ [tʌnl̩] or [tʌnəl]
‘full’ [fl̩] or [fəl]
‘button’ [bʌtn̩] (or [bʌtən])
‘mm-mm’ [ʔm̩ʔm̩]
Glides, revisited
2 glides in English:

/j/ = Palatal glide
‘you’ [ju] and ‘toy’ [toj]

/w/ = labiovelar glide
‘wish’ [wɪʃ] and found [fawnd]
14 vowels in English

Two types of vowels

Simple vowels: consistent quality in articulation

Diphthongs: change in quality within the syllable.
Simple vowels
pat [pæt];

list [lɪst];

rest [rɛst];

pot [pɑt];

feet [fit];

foot [fʊt];

lust [lʌst];

boost [bust]
pie [paj];
pow [paw];
boy [boj]

pay [pej];
blow [blow]
Parameters for vowels



how high is the tongue raised

Divided into 3 classes

High: [i], [ɪ], [ʊ]. [u]

Mid: [ej], [ɛ], [ʌ], [ə], [ow], [oj]

Low: [æ], [aj], [aw], [ɑ]
What part of the tongue is moving.

Divided into 2 classes

[i], [ɪ], [ej], [ɛ], [æ].

[ʌ], [ə], [aj], [aw] [ʊ], [u], [ow], [oj], [ɑ]

(all central are back)
lip rounding

Divided into round or unround

[ʊ], [u], [ow], [oj].

Unround: all other vowels.

Only tense vowels occur word-finally.

generally tense vowels are the ‘normal’ looking ones.
amount of vocal tract constriction

Greater vocal tract constriction & longer = tense vowels

Less vocal tract constriction & shorter = lax vowels

[i], [ej], [aj], [aw], [u], [ow], [oj], [ɑ]

[ɪ], [ɛ], [ʊ], [ʌ], [ə], [æ].
Articulators; Again
Narrowing or closure happens with articulators.

Different articulators change airflow in different ways, and result in different sounds.

For every consonant, there is an upper and lower articulator.
Upper articulators
*Upper lip*
labial sounds

/p/ /b/ /m/
Upper articulators
dental sounds

Upper articulators
*Alveolar ridge*
Bumpy ridge behind upper teeth

alveolar sounds

/t/ /d/ /n/ /s/ /z/ /l/
Upper articulators
*(Hard) palate*
hard bit of top of mouth

palatal and alveopalatal sounds

/j/ /ʃ/ /ʒ/
Upper articulators
*Velum (also called soft palate)*
Soft rear portion of rear of mouth

velar sounds

/k/ /g/ /ŋ/
Upper articulators
long thin structure behind velum

uvular sounds

(none in English, French ‘r’)
Lower articulators
Lower articulators
*Lower teeth*
(none in English)
Lower articulators
Divided into parts:





Tip = apex = apical articulation

Blade = lamina = laminal articulation

Front = palatal articulation

Back = dorsum = dorsal articulation

Root (none in English)
Place of articulation
produced using the vocal folds as primary articulators
(ie. no articulators in oral cavity)

/h/ /ʔ/
Naming place of articulation
Always lower articulator first, upper articulator second.



Labio-dental vs. dento-labial

Some articulation combinations are impossible (try apico-velar or dorso-labial)
*Nasality vs. Oral*
Velum is raised, cuts off airflow to nasal tract, creating oral sounds.

Velum is lowered, allows airflow to nasal tract, creating nasal sounds.
Complete closure of articulators

Continuous airflow; constriction, no closure.

Combination of stop + affricate

in a stop articulation, the tongue moves rapidly away from pt of articulation.

In affricates, tongue moves slowly, and movement is considered part of the articulation

Sounds characterized by acoustics instead of articulation

Noisier fricatives/affricates are called stridents or sibilants.

Representing manner/place
3 parameters necessary to describe consonant & glide articulation: place, manner (includes nasality), glottal state.
other phonetic properties come into play which have nothing to do with place/manner of articulation

can often alter segments
Auditory property of a sound that can be placed on a scale High --> Low.

Noticeable especially in sonorants

But everything has a pitch: compare [s] to [ʃ]
In tone languages, a meaning difference may be signaled by a change in pitch.

English is NOT a tone language

Tone language:
[ma] with H tone = ‘mother’
[ma] with fall-rise = ‘horse’
[ma] with falling pitch = ‘scold’
[ma] with rising pitch = hemp
Pitch movement not related to differences in word meaning.

Can imply difference in sentence meaning.
Length is not distinctive in English

Many other languages do contrast short & long segments to make new words, however.

Indicated by a colon following the long segment, ie [i:].

fato [fatɔ] ‘fate’
fatto [fat:ɔ] ‘fact’

fano [fanɔ] ‘grove’
fano [fan:ɔ] ‘they do’
some syllables are perceived as more prominent than others

syllables perceived more prominently are called stressed.

English stress is perceived based on length, loudness and pitch.
Secondary stress
Next most prominent syllable. Not all words have secondary stress, but most long words (ie more than 4 syllables) will.
Transcribing stress
denoted by accents
Vowels and stress
unstressed vowels are generally schwas

2 regular exceptions: [-ɪŋ] and final [-i]

if unsure between ə and ʌ, pick ʌ in stressed syllables and ə in unstressed syllables.
Phonetic Processes
A process where one segment becomes more like another (usually neighbouring) segment.

For ease of articulation

Extremely common
Types of Assimilation
*Progressive assimilation*
A following segment takes on a feature of a preceding one,
ie the assimilation moves forwards.
Types of assimilation
*Regressive assimilation*
A preceding segment takes on a feature of a preceding one,
ie the assimilation moves backwards.
*Regressive assimilation*
possible impossible
probable improbable
pertinent impertinent
tolerable intolerable
tangible intangible
credible ɪŋ]credible
considerate ɪŋ]considerate
*Regressive assimilation* AGAIN

The velum, anticipating the opening for the consonant, opens early, nasalizing the vowels somewhat
Phonetic Processes
Where a dental or alveolar stop articulation changes to a flap (voiced continuant) articulation [ɾ].

ladder vs. latter
badder vs. batter
Phonetic Processes
Where 2 sounds become less alike.

Much rarer than assimilation.

fifths [fɪfts] instead of [fɪfθs]
Phonetic Processes
Removal of a segment.
Common in everyday casual speech

veterinarian -> [vɛtənɛriən]
respiratory -> [rɛspətori]
spectrogram -> [spɛktəgræm]
governor -> [gʌvənər]
surprise -> [səprajz]
Process of inserting a segment within a string of segments. Often happens with vowels.

prince [prɪnts]
warmth [wormpθ]

Transition from sonorant to obstruent is eased by insertion of a consonant which shares articulatory properties of each segment.
Phonetic Processes
Reordering of segments; very common in children.

Favre [farv]
apple [apəl]
prescription [pərscrɪpʃən]
ask [æks]
Phonetic Processes
*Vowel reduction*
When articulation moves more central in unstressed position
Phonetic Processes
*Progressive assimilation*
(a real example)

trial [tr̻ajl̩]
pliers [pl̻ajərz]
cry [kr̻aj]
play [pl̻ej]
prior [pr̻ajər]

Liquids /r/ and /l/ are voiceless after voiceless stops; ie the voiced consonants take on the voiceless feature of the preceding segment.
Other vowels to know
/y/ High front rounded tense

/ʏ/ High front rounded lax

/ø/ Mid front rounded tense

/œ/ Mid front rounded lax

/ɔ/ Mid back rounded lax

/ɯ/ High back unrounded tense
Vowel diacritics to know
Found in Czech, Latin, Cree, Finnish, Estonian…
Marked with colon [v:]
[i] vs. [i:]
[a] vs [a:]
[o] vs. [o:]
Vowel diacritics to know
Found in French, Michif, Hindi, Irish, Yoruba…
Marked with tilde [ṽ]
[ɛ] vs [ɛ̃]
[œ] vs [œ̃]
[ɔ] vs [ɔ̃]
[ɪ] vs [ɪ̃]
Consonants to know
[q] [ɢ] Uvular stops

[ɸ] [ß] Bilabial fricatives

[x] [ɤ] Velar fricatives

[ɲ] Palatal nasal
Phonetics vs. phonology
describes concrete physical properties of sounds

investigates systemic patterning of sounds, within one language and cross-lingustically.
Major phonological units


The segment
Speech is divided into segments, which is what we show in phonetic transcription.

phonetics [fənɛɾəks]
share [ʃɛr]
The syllable
Segments combine to form larger units called syllables.

Syllables consist obligatorily of a syllabic segment and often of non-syllabic segments which precede or follow.

phonetics [fə.nɛ.ɾəks.]
share [ʃɛr.]
The feature
Segments are made up of smaller units called features.

Features correspond to articulatory or acoustic categories

Segments in
Segments contrast when their presence can result in a change in meaning.

pat vs bat vs cat vs mat vs gnat

bite vs bat vs but vs bought vs boot

Contrast = be distinctive = be in opposition

Change in contrastive sound = change in meaning.
Segments NOT in contrast
[pat̚ ] vs. [pat] vs. [path]

In Cree, Michif
[o] and [u] never contrast: there is only one back vowel which is pronounced either [o] or [u] but always understood/written as [o].
Minimal pairs
Two forms with distinct meanings which differ only by 1 segment, where this segment is in the same position.

[tæp] vs [tæb] are minimal pairs

[tæp] vs [bæt] are NOT minimal pairs.
Near-minimal pairs
2 forms that have segments in nearly identical environments

author [ɑθər] vs either [ajðər]

Often need to resort to near-minimal pairs to establish contrasts, but minimal pairs are always ideal.
Segments that contrast are called phonemes.

Phonemes are abstract representations of phones

Phones come out of your mouth/are what you hear, but phonemes are in your mind, or what you think you hear.
Phonemic transcription uses / / brackets

Phonetic transcription uses [ ] brackets

Phonemic Phonetic
/pæt/ [phæt]
/mæn/ [mæ̃n]
Vowel contrasts in English
Diphthongs are phonetically complex, composed of vowel + glide, but phonemically act as 1 vowel.

No contrast between [e] and [ej] or [o] and [ow].

So for phonemic purposes, we will consider diphthongs [ow], [ej], etc. to be single vowels.
Complementary distribution
When 2 segments do not appear in the same environment


superhero with secret civilian identity

Hannah Montana/Mylie
Complementary distribution
Distribution of [l̻] and [l] in English:
[l] [l̻]
After voiceless stops N Y
Elsewhere Y N

[l] and [l̻] are phonetically different but phonologically the same in English.

Ie. [l] and [l̻] are allophones of one phoneme, /l/.
Phonemes & allophones
predictable variants that come out of your mouth in a certain phonetic environment

Abstract mental representation of the variants; how it is stored in the brain.
Two levels of representation: phonetic and phonemic
[allophone] [allophone]
Phone - allophone - phonetic – phonetics – surface form


Phoneme - phonemic - phonological – phonology – underlying form
Free variation
Final stops in English: aspirated, plain or unreleased variants.

Neither in complementary distribution (ie. occur in same environments) nor minimal pairs with different meanings.
= Free variation.
Minimal pairs
2 forms with distinct meanings which differ by only 1 segment
I.e. /dowt/ vs /towt/

If we have minimal pairs,
we have 2 distinct phonemes: /d/ & /t/
Complementary distribution
When 2 segments only appear in opposite phonetic environments, we say they are in complementary distribution, and they are allophones of 1 phoneme.

/l/ goes to: [l diacritic] and [l]
Generalizing patterns
Phonetic processes generally target a phonetic class, not a single segment

Look for generalizations: looking for forest, not trees.

State changes in general way for classes of segments undergoing a change.
Generalizing patterns
Constrastive segments in a language, ie they make new words. /l/

Predictable variants of the contrastive phonemes.
[l̻] [l] [l̩]
Includes all sounds uttered in the language.
How to transcribe?
Note that 2 levels means we can transcribe in 2 ways.

Phonemic transcription is what we’ve been doing, mostly.

Phonetic transcription includes all predictable processes.

/plaw/ vs [pl̻aw]
/plænt/ vs [pl̻æ̃nt]
Phonemic transcription
Also called broad transcription

Only includes phonemes. I.e., just those segments in English phonemic inventory. (your charts)
Phonetic transcription
Also called narrow transcription

More detailed transcription, includes processes.

There is much more phonetic detail in a narrow or phonetic transcription
Phonetic transcription
English processes

Non-nasal sonorant devoicing

Canadian raising

Phonetic and phonemic inventories
Inventory = list

Phonemic inventories are the charts from chapter 2, which list the contrastive segments.

Phonetic inventories are much larger, as they include all the allophones.
Phonemic vs phonetic stops
Phonemic stops in English
/p b t d k g ʔ/

Phonetic stops in English
/p ph b t th d k kh g ʔ/
The Syllable; Revistited pt. 1
Composed of segments

Has a structure

Governed by both universal and language-specific constraints

Can play a role in allophonic variation, i.e. is another phonetic environment to look for.
The Syllable; Revistited pt. 2
Consists of a sonorous element as its nucleus, and associated non-sonorous elements

Elements get more sonorous as they reach the nucleus

Sonorants: vowels, nasals, liquids, glides
Obstruents: stops, fricatives, affricates

Prance [præns] Trench [trɛnʧ]
Syllable structure
Syllable consists of an onset and rhyme.

Rhyme consists of a nucleus and coda

σ= Onset (O) + Rhyme (R) = Nucleus (N) Coda (Co)
The Syllable; Revistited
Syllable tendencies
Universal tendencies:
Syllable nuclei normally consist of one vowel

Syllables normally begin with onsets

Syllables often end with codas

Onsets and codas are normally 1 consonant
The Syllable; Revistited
Syllable tendencies (2)
Most common syllables are CV and CVC.

Where C=consonant, V=vowel
Onset constraints
Not all consonant sequences are permissible in every language.

French /pnø/ /psikoloʒi/

Russian /fprɔk/ /fstrɛʧa/

Phonotactics is the set of constraints on how segments pattern within syllables;
how we form syllables
Accidental gaps
Not all possible words exist in a language.

Accidental gaps are non-occurring but possible forms in a language.

Strack, prum, snal.
Systemic gaps
Not all forms are possible in a given language.

Systemic gaps are those which are impossible given a language’s phonotactics.

Considered unacceptable by speakers.

/pnø/ /fprɔk/
Universal general syllable shapes
Syllables have onsets

Onsets tend to be as large as possible

Nuclei are usually vowels; in the absence of a vowel, another sonorant may do.
Setting up syllables
(4 steps)
Form the nucleus (find the vowels)

Maximize the onset (based on language-specific phonotactic constraints)

Form the coda (any consonants left)

Construct the word (syllables form word)
Distribution of English aspirated stops
Aspirated stops appear syllable-initially

Unaspirated stops appear elsewhere (elsewhere in syllable, in a coda)
Why we use features
Allows us to classify segments

Allows us to generalize

Natural classes of sounds: share a feature or features which pattern together.
Obstruent natural classes:

What are different features of obstruents?
[-sonorant], [±voice], [±continuant].

From these features, we may observe and describe natural classes of segments; I.e. segments which pattern together.
9 natural obstruent classes
[-sonorant, -continuant]
[-sonorant, +continuant]
[-sonorant, -voice]
[-sonorant, +voice]
[-sonorant, -continuant, -voice]
[-sonorant, -continuant, +voice]
[-sonorant, +continuant, -voice]
[-sonorant, +continuant, +voice]
Obstruent natural classes
[-sonorant] [p t k b d g f s ʃ v z ʒ]

[-sonorant, -continuant] [p t k b d g]

[-sonorant, +continuant][f s ʃ v z ʒ]

[-sonorant, -voice] [p t k f s ʃ]

[-sonorant, +voice] [b d g v z ʒ]

[-sonorant, -continuant, -voice] [p t k]

[-sonorant, -continuant, +voice] [b d g]

[-sonorant, +continuant, -voice] [f s ʃ]

[-sonorant, +continuant, +voice] [v z ʒ]
Feature matrices
Features are organized in matrices.

Major class features
- consonantal
+sonorant + syllabic

Laryngeal state
+ voice

o Dorsal

Precise place or articulation
+ high
- low
- back

+ tense
Features and allophonic variation
Some processes we’ve seen:
Vowel nasalization
Liquid & glide devoicing
Intervocalic voicing

Assimilation processes = change of a feature.
Feature representations
Organized into groups reflecting natural classes

Most features are binary [±consonantal]

3 unary features:
Major class features:
Glides, vowels, /h/ & /ʔ/ are [-consonantal].
Major class features
Sounds which may be syllable nuclei are [+syllabic].
Major class features
Sonorants are [+sonorant]: nasals, liquids, glides, vowels.
Manner features
Sounds with free airflow are [+continuant].
Manner features
[±delayed release]
Affricates are [+del rel].
Manner features
Sounds produced with open velum are [+nasal].
Manner features
Varieties of /l/ are [+lateral].
Laryngeal features
Voiced sounds are [+voice];
voiceless are [-voice]
Laryngeal features
[±spread glottis]
Aspirated consonants are [+SG].
Laryngeal features
[±constricted glottis]
Sounds produced with closed glottis are [+CG]:
only [ʔ]
Place features
Unary features [LABIAL] [CORONAL] [DORSAL] indicate articulator(s).

Each unary feature has specific binary subfeatures.
Place features
[LABIAL] = labial articulator
Rounded vowels & [w] are [+round]
Other labial consonants are [-round]. [p b f v]
Place features
[CORONAL] = tongue tip or blade as articulator
In front of alveopalatal region = [+ant]
Behind alveopalatal region [-ant]. (alveopalatals)

Noisy fricatives & affricates [+strid] = [s z ʃ ʒ ʧ ʤ]
Others = [-strid].
Place features
[DORSAL] = Body of tongue as articulator
Tongue body is raised from central position.

Tongue body is lowered from central position. (Vowels only, in English)

Tongue body is behind the palatal region.

Writing a feature matrix
Determine manner of articulation
Major class features
[±sonorant], [±consonantal], [±syllabic]

Manner features
[±nasal], [±cont]
If [+son, +cons, -nas], is it [±lat]?
If [-son, +cons, -nas], is it [±del rel]?
Writing a feature matrix
Determine laryngeal setting
Laryngeal features [±voice].
if ʔ, then [+SG].
If aspirated or /h/, then [±CG].
Writing a feature matrix
Determine place of articulation
Place features
Which articulator is active?
If LABIAL, [±round]?
If CORONAL, [±anterior], [±strident]?
If DORSAL, [±high], [±back]?

If a vowel: [±low], [±tense], [±reduced]?
Abstract representations, or what is in a speaker’s mind
phonetic realizations of what is in the speaker’s mind
Underlying vs surface forms
speaker underlyingly has a phoneme in mind, which is produced on the surface as an allophone

undergoes a set of phonological rules

phonetic/surface representation is derived form from the underlying phonemic representation in our mind
Underlying vs surface forms...
Underlying representation:
mental representation of speaker

Surface representation:
actual phonetic output

Surface representation is the underlying representation after having undergone a set of rules.
Rule ordering
Unordered rules: environments are different.

Sometimes applying multiple rules needs to be done in a specific order.
Feeding vs bleeding
Feeding: when one rule creates the environment for another rule.

Bleeding: when one rule removes the environment for another rule.
Rule notation
A --> B / X__Y
A = element in phonemic representation

B = the change it undergoes (referring to features) or output

X, Y = conditioning environment.

__ = position of segment undergoing the change
# = word boundary

σ = syllable boundary
Assimilation processes
A --> B / X__Y
Liquid devoicing
A: what is the changing element?

B: what is the change?

X, Y: what is the environment

__: what is the segment’s position?
Assimilation processes
A --> B / X__Y
A: what is the element?

B: what is the change?

X, Y: what is the environment

__: what is the segment’s position?
Deletion & epenthesis
Schwa deletion: English speakers may drop [ə] in open syllable preceding a stressed syllable.
[ə] --> ∅ / C0 _ σ C0
What is historical linguistics?
the description and explanation of language change

Syntactic, morphological, semantic, phonological.
Language change
All languages change over time.

Three periods of English:
Old English (450-1100)
Middle English (1100-1500, i.e. Chaucer)
Modern English (1500 to present)
Language change, more
Is inevitable

Is systematic, ie based on linguistic principles and affects natural classes.
i.e. Canadian raising

Occurs in every language
Motivation for language change
Language internal
Motivated by systemic linguistic principles.
Similar types of change happen across language families, based on articulatory or syntactic or semantic principles.
Motivation for language change
Language external
Catalyst is society, history, language policy.
Language-internal causes
Articulatory, morphological, etc.

Old English: ganra > gandra ‘gander’; simle > simble ‘always’

Modern English: Whom, thou-thee-thy-thine

Flip side: complication, ie. making new distinctions. (primarily morphological
Language-internal causes
languages prefer regularity over irregularity.

Mouse, louse, house. (plurality)
Sing, swing, sting, bring. (time tense)
Dive (forms)
Language-internal causes
attributing a complex structure where there is/was none

cerise - cherise - cherries - cherry
Language-external causes
Language contact

Lexical & phonological
Language-external causes of language change
Spelling pronunciation: writing systems are more stable than pronunciation.

Language-external causes
Hypercorrection: overgeneralization of a rule.

English pronouns: myself, I.
Phonetic vs. phonological change
First stage of a sound change: creation of allophones.
= phonetic sound change

leads to splits, mergers or shifts; changes in a phonological system.
allophones of one phoneme come to contrast with each other.

one change, then another which obscures the predictability of the original change

then-thyn split of Old English /θ/ into /ð/ & /θ/ in Early Middle English.

two phonemes no longer contrast with each other.

Michif: French
/o/ & /u/ > /o/

Cockney English:
/θ/ & /f/ > /f/

North American English:
/w/ & /ʍ/ > /w/

Canadian English, Midwest U.S.: /ɔ/ /ɑ/ merger

Hong Kong English /s/ /ʃ/ > /ʃ/
organization of a series of phonemes within the phonological system is changed.
Great Vowel Shift
Affected English long vowels

took place in south of England 1450 to 1750
Great Vowel Shift, more
Standardisation of English spelling ~ 15th & 16th centuries

Spellings that made sense in Middle English pronunciation are retained in Modern English

Without vowel shift, vowels would sound much like they ‘should’ in IPA. (boot, beet, bead, bite, etc.)
Why do vowels shift?
Possibly due to phonological vowel space.

Tendency is for equally distributed vowels within trapezoid.

Diphthongization to reduce complex system.
Sound change
Sound changes mirror phonological changes

Start off subtly, ie the phonological processes that we saw last section, and become significant over time.
Language change
i, ii, iii
Sequential change: involve sequences of segments for articulatory reasons.

Segmental change: change of segment for articulatory reasons.

Auditorily based change: based on audition.
Sequential change
Most common:

Assimilation (varia)
Weakening & deletion (varia)
Consonant strengthening
Sequential change: Assimilation Place assimilation
Early Latin inpossibilis --> Latin impossibilis
Sequential change: Assimilation
Palatalization & affrication:
alveolar, dental & velar stops before front vowels & /j/.
Sequential change: Assimilation
/t, k/ --> ts /d, g/ --> dz

Canadian French
/t, k/ --> ʧ /d, g/ --> ʤ

Métis French
French [kø], [ky] --> Métis French [ʧø], [ʧy]
Sequential change: Assimilation
vowels becoming nasalized due to adjacent consonant, then consonant deletion.

Latin --> French
bon --> bɔ̃
fin --> fɛ̃
Sequential change: Assimilation
Manner assimilation
slæ̃pde --> later Old English slæ̃pte
Sequential change: Assimilation
Most common type of change.
Sequential change: Assimilation
Total assimilation
Latin octo, septem --> Italian otto, sette
Sequential change: Assimilation
vowel change due to vowel in another syllable.
Sequential change: Dissimilation
Latin --> Spanish
anma --> alma
arbor --> arbol
Sequential change: Epenthesis
Vowel epenthesis:
breaks up difficult consonant clusters.

Latin schola, scribere --> Spanish escuela, escribir
Sequential change: Metathesis
Change in positioning of segments

bryd, hros, waps --> bird, horse, wasp

Cajun French
grenier > [gərnje]
prenait > [pərnɛ]
vendredi >[vɑ̃dərdi]
Sequential change: Weakening and deletion
Consonantal and vowel

Natural progression until deletion
Sequential change: consonant weakening
Scale of consonant weakening:

geminate voiceless stops
voiceless stops
voiced stops/voiceless fricatives
voiced fricatives
Sequential change: Rhotacism
consonant changes into an /r/
Sequential change: strengthening
Glide strengthening

Latin --> Italian

iuvenis [j] --> giovane [ʤ]
Segmental change
turns affricates into fricatives
Auditorily-based change
Substitution: replacement of a segment by another similar-sounding segment
Language reconstruction
systemic phonetic correspondences are the most reliable sign of family relationships

by systematically comparing genetically related languages, may reconstruct an earlier form

words descended from a common source = cognates
Reconstruction strategies
Phonetic plausibility (first & foremost)

Majority rules: if no plausible change can account for differences.
Common sound changes
ie. highly plausible

Palatalization t > ʧ / __i
Assimilation n > m / _b
Voicing t > d / V_V
Frication d > ð / V_V
consonant deletion k > ∅ / __#

Opposites are very unlikely – do not correspond to any usual change.
...language family...
by studying phonetic correspondences, linguists have ascertained that most languages of Europe, Persia, and the northern part of India belong to a single family called Indo-European
Grimm’s law
series of sound shifts differentiating Proto-Germanic from other Indo-European languages.

(exception: voiceless stops following /s/)
Exceptions to Grimm’s law
Eg. pedestrian, tenuous
/f/, /θ/ expected, but borrowed directly from French/Latin.

reconstruction can be complicated by borrowings, esp. given Latin & French also come from PIE.
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