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The study of sound patterns

of language
 Phoneti cs provides the means to
describe the sounds.

 Phonol ogy tells us that the sounds

function as phonemes, patterning &
acting to contrast words
Languages have words.
Words are made up of the string of
speech sounds.
Sounds tend to vary with their context.
They occur in different environment.
The distribution of the sounds follows
complex, rule-governed patterns.
 The basic sounds serve as the building blocks
for distinguishing words from each other.
These basic sounds are phonemes
Phoneme : the smallest unit of language which
does not have a meaning, but it can distinguish

 the smallest segment of sound which can

distinguish two words
 the distinctive (contrastive) unit of sound which
can be used to change meaning
fine – vine ( /f/ – /v/ )
chunk – junk / tʃ or č / – / dӡ or ĵ/
( different forms and meanings )

English: 44 phonemes (24 consonants, 12 vowels,

8 diphthongs)
Phonemes are called to be distinctive
sounds : they cause a difference in the
meaning of words.
Phonemes are meaningless.
Single sounds are meaningful only if
they are at least a morpheme (a smallest
meaningful unit)
such as [ә] and [ɔ:] in English.
Indonesian ?
Javanese ?
Phoneme combination (sequence of
 After a consonant like /b/,/g/,/k/,or /p/ another stop
consonant is not permitted.
 know, knot, knight ?
 pneumonia ?
 glimp ?

a word begins with /l/, /r/, /tʃ/, /dӡ/, the next segment
 If
must be a vowel.
 Word may begin with three consonant-type
 Words must obey three strict rules:
1. if the first phoneme is /s/
2. the second phoneme must be /p/, or /t/, or /k/
3. the third phoneme must be /l/, or /r/, or /w/, or /j/
 Spring /spriŋ/
 String /striŋ/
 Splendid /splendid/
 Spume /spju:m/, Spurious /spjuәriәs/
 Square /skweә/
 Skew /skju:/ , skewer /skju:ә/
 (Br) Student /stju:dnt/

 The expression /sbrint/ doesn’t meet the

strict rules above. That’s why it is
impossible in English.
Phonemic principles
Criteria for contrast:
 minimal pair: a pair of words that are
distinguished by just one segment.
Two different forms are identical in every
way except for one segment sound that
occurs in the same place in the string.
fine – vine /f/ – /v/
ch unk – junk / tʃ or č / – / dӡ /
Substituting /v/ for /f/ changes the form
(word) & meaning
minimal set : a set of words that
are distinguished by just one
 distinguishing the initial consonant:
pan → ban, man, ran, etc.
 changing the vowel:
man → mean, moan, mine, moon
 the final consonant:
hat, pat, bat
b , mat
m , fat
f , vat
v , that
th , sat
s , rat
r , chat
ch , cat

 /h/ contrasts with a number of English

consonant phonemes word-initially; but there
is no minimal pair for /ŋ/.
 In word-final position, we find contrasts for /ŋ/,
as in rang – ran, ram, rat, rag, etc. but there
is no equivalent minimal pair for /h/

/h/ and /ŋ/ are in complementary distribution.

 There are variations in the form of
phonemes, known as allophone.

 Allophones: variants of phoneme

which occur in certain designable / in a
different and predictable set of

 The variations can be conditioned by the

sounds round it, or by its position in the word.
Phoneme /p/
 → [ ph ] aspirated
In the beginning of a word or initial syllable
stress, it is pronounced with a puff of breath
as in pot, power, paper , com’p
com’ are
 → [ p ] unaspirated
After a phoneme /s/ , it is unaspirated
as in spot, spray, spoil
 → [ p- ] unreleased
At the end of a word, it is unreleased
as in cop, cap, lip
Phoneme / t /
 top [ th ] - aspirated
 stop [ t ] - unaspirated
 spot [ t- ] unreleased
 button [ ʔ ] - glottal stop
 letter [ leDә r ] flap
Phoneme / l /
 clear [ l ]

‘light’; occurs before vowels

 dark (unclear) [ ł ]

‘kill’; before a consonant or a pause

 Voiceless (fricative) [ ļ ]
clean’, ‘play’; occurs initially in a stressed syllable
after /p/ or /k/
Lesley told Paul to clean the children’s playroom.

[l] [ł] [ļ]


Because allophones have systematic

distribution, they are called to be in
complementary distribution.
complementary distribution:

one set of environment complements

the other
complementary distribution

Two sounds X and Y are said in

complementary distribution if
Y never occurs in any of the
phonetic environment in which X