Phonological Features and Processes

CONSONANT CLASSIFICATION
consonants:
o relatively greater constriction of the vocal tract
o less prominence, sonority, (usually) not a syllabic nucleus
• describing place of articulation:
– labial, labio-dental, dental, alveolar, postalveolar, palatal, velar, uvular, pharyngeal,
laryngeal, glottal (passive)
– apical, coronal, dorsal, radical (active)
• describing manner of articulation:
– stop (complete closure in the vocal tract)
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– stop (complete closure in the vocal tract)
– fricative (narrow constriction with turbulent airflow)
– approximant (greater constriction than in a vowel, but no turbulence)
– nasal (stoppage in the oral cavity, but airflow through the nasal cavity)
– trill (vibration of an articulator)
– tap (extremely short closure)
– flap (very brief contact of articulators in passing)
• describing voicing:
– vibration of the vocal folds
Phonological Features and Processes
IPA PULMONIC CONSONANTS
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Phonological Features and Processes
CLASSIFICATION EXERCISES
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Phonological Features and Processes
VOWEL CLASSIFICATION
vowels:
o no audible obstruction in vocal tract
o sonorous, prominent, syllable peak,
potentially carries accent
Defining features
Height
- distance of tongue to roof of mouth
Backness
Deriving the vowel trapezium
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Backness
- position of smallest distance
between tongue and roof of mouth
Rounding
- lips rounded or not
Tenseness
- overall tenseness of vocal tract
settings (advanced tongue root)
Phonological Features and Processes
IPA VOWELS
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Phonological Features and Processes
• Phoneme = bundle of simultaneous units (phonological features)
• features are binary: +/- specification
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Phoneme A Phoneme B Phoneme C Phoneme D
PHONOLOGICAL FEATURES
+ X
+ Y
+ X
- Y
- X
+ Y
- X
- Y
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• Contrastive function: each phoneme must differ from the other in
at least one feature
• Descriptive function: accurately describe the phonetic nature of a
sound (may include redundant, non-contrastive features)
• Classificatory function: explain and allow generalizations and
common phonological processes
Phonological Features and Processes
MAJOR CLASS FEATURES
• [consonantal]: sound produced with a radical obstruction in the
vocal tract
• [sonorant]: sound whose phonetic content is predominantly made
up of the sound waves associated with voicing (high energy
output relative to effort)
• [continuant]: sound during whose production the air stream is not
blocked in the oral cavity
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blocked in the oral cavity
Phonological Features and Processes
VOWEL FEATURES
Tongue-body features:
• [back]: body of the tongue is retracted from neutral position
• [high]: body of the tongue is raised above neutral position
• [low]: body of the tongue is lowered below neutral position
Lip feature:
• [round]: the lip orifice is rounded
General vocal tract setting feature:
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General vocal tract setting feature:
• [tense]: deliberate, accurate, maximally distinct gesture with relatively high
muscular effort
Quantity feature:
• [long]: long duration
Redundancy rule in RP and GA : [+tense] [+long]; [-tense] [-long]
Phonological Features and Processes
FEATURE ANALYSIS OF ENGLISH VOWELS
Monophthongs
i Ǻ u ʊ ǫ ə Ǭ Ȝ ɑ a Ǥ Ǣ
[consonantal] - - - - - - - - - - - -
[sonorant] + + + + + + + + + + + +
[continuant] + + + + + + + + + + + +
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[continuant] + + + + + + + + + + + +
[back] - - + + - - - + + - + +
[high] + + + + - - - - - - - -
[low] - - - - - - - + + + - +
[round] - - + + - + + - - - + +
[tense] + - + - - - + - + - + -
Phonological Features and Processes
CONSONANT FEATURES I
• use of major class features
• reduction of the excess of place features
• compatibility with vowel features
Place features:
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Place features:
• [anterior]: obstruction in front of the palato-alveolar region
• [coronal]: blade of the tongue raised above its neutral position
Acoustic feature:
• [strident]: relatively noisy sound
Phonological Features and Processes
CONSONANT FEATURES II
Original vowel features (largely redundant):
• [round] also covers /w/ and /ȝ/, distinguishes them from /j/, /x/ or /h/
• [back], [high], [low]: redundant, except to distinguish /x/ and /h/
Obstruent features:
• [voice]: glottal setting consistent with vocal fold vibration
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• [voice]: glottal setting consistent with vocal fold vibration
• [tense]: competes with [voice], would help distinguish fortis/lenis differences in
only potentially voiced obstruents ([+ tense] [- voice]; [- tense] [+ voice]);
problem: /x ȝ h/ have to be classified as [+tense] (phonetically untenable)
More redundant features:
• [+ sonorant, - continuant] [+ nasal]
• [+ son, + cont, + ant, + cor] [+ lateral]
Phonological Features and Processes
ENGLISH CONSONANT FEATURES
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(Includes redundant features [tense, nasal, lateral, low, high] and phoneme /x/)
Phonological Features and Processes
EXCERCISES – FEATURES I
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
/m n/
/ǫ/
/l/
/ɑ/
/p b t d/
/h/
/u ʊ/
/Ȣ/
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/ǫ/ /ɑ/
Phonological Features and Processes
EXCERCISES – FEATURES II
[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
/ȉ/
/Ǻ/
/f v θ ð s z/
/Ǣ/
/y/
/x/
/ŋ/
/ tʃ /
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/Ǻ/ /Ǣ/
Phonological Features and Processes
PHONOLOGICAL VS. PHONETIC FEATURES I
example: laryngeal features of stops in English
[- vc, - sprd gl] /p t k/ ; [- vc, + sprd gl] /p
h
t
h
k
h
/ ; [+ vc, - sprd gl] /b d g/
initial medial final
[p
h
]in [b]in ra[p]id ra[b]id la[p] la[b]
[t
h
]ot [d]ot a[t]om A[d]am ma[t] ma[d]
[k
h
]ap [g]ap jac[k]et jag[g]ed pic[k] pi[g]
analysis:
feature specifications for voicing are in free distribution (many minimal pairs)
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feature specifications for voicing are in free distribution (many minimal pairs)
→Distinctive Feature phonological function
feature specifications for aspiration (“spread glottis”) are in complementary distribution,
they follow certain distributional regularities:
1. all segments except for voiceless stops are [- sprd gl]
2. [p
h
t
h
k
h
] only appear syllable-initially (in stressed syllables)
3. [p t k] do not appear syllable-initially when the syllable is stressed
→Redundant Feature phonetic function
preliminary
definition
Phonological Features and Processes
PHONOLOGICAL VS. PHONETICFEATURES II
distinctive features:
• unpredictable from phonological context
• distinguish words, morphemes, phonemes (many morphemes differ in just one feature,
e.g. place features labial, coronal, velar in English stops: pin, tin, kin, bun, done, gun)
• these features must be learned/memorized in the course of language development
redundant features:
• for any given sound of a language these features are predictable by rule from the
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• for any given sound of a language these features are predictable by rule from the
phonological environment
• speaker learns the rule, not the feature as part of the phoneme; the grammar does not list
the feature value individually for each lexical item
• often the source of persistent foreign accent
– e.g., English speakers apply the rule that syllable-initial voiceless stops are aspirated when
speaking French, although this rule does not apply in that language system (“tas” as [t
h
a]
instead of [ta])
Phonological Features and Processes
GENERAL AIMS OF PHONOLOGY
• looking for regularities that help to define a language’s inventory of
phonological elements (vowels, consonants, syllables, tones)
• determining patterns in the distribution of these elements in the language’s
representations
– may they appear in or are they banned from initial, medial, final positions in the
word, stressed/unstressed syllables?
– may an element of type A immediately precede/follow an element of type B?
• investigating alternations in the shapes of morphemes composed of these
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• investigating alternations in the shapes of morphemes composed of these
elements within the word and variant pronunciations of words within the
sentence
discovered regularities are assumed to be the joint product of the principles and
parameters of Universal Grammar and the rules and representations that
develop through the course of language acquisition
Phonological Features and Processes
SOME PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES IN ENGLISH
Clear and dark /l/ /l/ /l/ /l/ in RP (“like” vs. “feel”):
Anticipatory assimilations:
- /n/ becomes dental before a dental consonant (“tenth”, “in theory”)
n [+ dental]/ _ [+ dental]
- /k/ is labialized before a rounded segment (“quick”, “cool”)
k [+ round]/ _ [+ round]
ǻ l / $ ((C)C) _ l ɫ / V _ (C(C)) $
or
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k [+ round]/ _ [+ round]
- Yorkshire Assimilation (“bed-time”, “subcommittee”, “big piece”, “live show”)
[- sonorant] [-voice]/ _ # [-voice]
Northern T-to-R Rule (“shut up”, “get off”)
t ȉ/ [- cons, - long] _ # # V
Phonological Features and Processes
COMBINATORY PHENOMENA (IN CONNECTED SPEECH)
• Assimilation (one segment takes over one, more or all features from another):
– Palatalization (“would you”, “what you”, “miss you”)
[- son, + alveolar] [+ palatal] / _ j
• Unreleased stops (“captain”, “good dog”, “black cat”):
[- son, - cont] [- release]/ _ [- cont]
• Vowel reduction / weak forms (“rather uneven”, “good as gold”)
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[- cons, - stress] ə
• Nasal place assimilation (“ten pounds/minutes”, “in Crewe”)
[+ son, - cont, + ant, + cor] [α ant, β cor] / __ [- cont, α ant, β cor]
These phenomena occur in free variation !!
Phonological Features and Processes
MORPHOPHONOLOGICAL RULES
Morphophonology: intermediate between phonology and morphology
- allomorphs of an underlying morpheme whose surface form is
controlled by phonological rules
[PLURAL] {
Ǻz /[-son, + cont, + cor, + str] #_
z /[+ voice] #_
s /[- voice] #_
(English plural suffix as in
“wishes”, “beads”, “beats”)
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[IN_NEGPRFX] {
vowel alternations: e.g., obscene – obscenity, convene - convention
Ǻm / _# [+ labial]
Ǻŋ / _# [+ velar]
Ǻn elsewhere
(“in”-prefix as in
“insolvent”, “improbable”,
“incorrect”)
Phonological Features and Processes
Jane’s husband tends to always lose his keys in the wardrobe
tune [ʧu:n] shot [ʃǢʔt, ʃǢtʔ, ʃǢʔ]
PHONOLOGICAL RULES APPLIED: PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION
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tune [ʧu:n] shot [ʃǢʔt, ʃǢtʔ, ʃǢʔ]
width [wǺdʮθ] pool
trial button
[p
hw
u:ǻ]
[bȜt
N
nʐ]
°
[t

ȉaǺəǻ]
˚
Phonological Features and Processes
TRANSCRIPTION EXERCISE
I was born in the year sixteen hundred thirty-two, in the city of York, of a good family,
though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, named Kreutznaer, who
settled first at Hull.
bȉǫmən kȉǤǺtsnɑ:
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Call me Ishmael. Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, having little or no money
in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a
little and see the watery part of the world.
ǺʃmȜǫl

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