The study of the abstract aspect of the sounds or *phonemes* in a given language.

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Which Romance language has the simplest phonotactics?

I have decided to give my latest conlang romance vocabulary, but I want the phonotactics of this language to be as simple as possible and yet still be recognizably Romance. (I don't generally spend a ...
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70 views

Why is the past participle of the French « lire » « lu », but « rire » « ri »?

Phonologically,« lire » and « rire » sound like a minimal pair, with the first letter as the only difference. So what might explain the difference between their « participes passé »? Their etymons ...
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39 views

How does a rule explain how « à chef » evolved into « achever »?

Etymonline refers to the "An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language" by Auguste Brachet, translated by G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878. Its entry for achever, on page 152 of 558, states: For f ...
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53 views

Languages showing affricate-to-plosive fortition (especially diachronically)

It is well known that consonant lenition or weakening tends to be far more common cross-linguistically than the opposite process called fortition or strengthening. Now, some languages have been ...
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37 views

Should the voiced /t/ in the word “ninety” in General American English be considered a tap or a plosive?

[Please note that in the end this is not essentially a question about English!] Intervocalic /t/ in Gen Am English may be realised as a voiced alveolar tap, [ɾ]. In words like entertain or ninety ...
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15 views

How do I figure out hypernyms / superordinates automatically?

Given a set of phrases like this create a logo avoid kidney stones bcc in office 365 draw a horse bypass surveys 2015 awaken kundalini cycle clenbuterol amend a pdf dm a girl on twitter avoid ...
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40 views

Tackling cross-linguistic vowel markedness system[at]ically: features or what?

I have been trying to find alternative ways of representing vowel phonemes for cross-linguistic comparisons in a unified, systematic way that would also reveal their relative (un)markedness. At the ...
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20 views

How to understand the difference between “Strong” & “Weak” Hypotheses in the case of Bolinger/Lieberman's views of Intonation?

1. Non-Whorfian contexts and missing Czech equivalents To begin with, I am not sure if this is the right place to ask a question that may just as well pertain to scientific terminology in general. ...
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58 views

What is the approximate time of the loss of the intervocalic /s/ in Greek?

Teachers of Ancient Greek at my university have always been emphasising the importance of being aware of the loss of the intervocalic sigma in the language's history, because it helped to understand ...
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38 views

Is the idea of “simultaneity” in sign language as opposed to “linearity” in spoken language really tenable?

I have seen scholars claim that... "sign languages are simultaneous whereas spoken languages are linear". In my opinion, however, the notion of "linearity" vs. "simultaneity" is misleading at ...
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83 views

What is autosegmental phonology?

I am an armchair music theorist and trying to read about John Goldsmith's theory of autosegmental phonology. Can someone summarize the basic principles behind his theory for a linguistic layman?
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108 views

Why is /f/ easier to pronounce than /p/?

[Source:] Assistant Professor of Linguistics Andrew McKenzie, University of Kansas In particular, there is no real reason why certain changes happen while others don't. For instance, the * p ...
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31 views

Schwa syncope in “hundred”

My girlfriend noticed that I say when I pronounce a word like 'hundred' it sounds like I'm deleting the schwa sound in the final syllable and pronouncing the word mroe like, "hundrd". Does this fall ...
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50 views

Are there phonetic symbols for grunts/growls and would place be glottal?

I don't know if grunts/growls are considered a legitimate part of a linguistic system, but they get used from time to time to convey things like, "I'm gonna kill you" or an angry "Yes!" so I thought ...
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43 views

Why isn't “N” considered a partial vowel

I'm wondering if N could be a partial vowel much like Y is. Since, at least to my understanding, vowels are used in between many consonant to make a word flow without having to pause, so why isn't n a ...
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71 views

Are there languages that disallow initial vowels and lack glottal stop?

Which, if any, of the world's languages have both the following features? Syllable-initial vowels are disallowed; all syllables must begin with a consonant. There is no glottal stop phoneme.
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Vowel-Backing in English?

Has anybody heard of vowel-backing in English? In East-Central Alabama, USA, I have observed forms such as: suckint ['sOkh Inˀ] for "second" butter ['bOD ɚ] for "better" woonda ['wUnd ә] for ...
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58 views

What are the possible impetuses for loss of Middle English shwa?

I'm wondering what some possible catalysts/ reasons for loss of final -e /ǝ/ in Middle English might have been (For instance, OE /tɑlu/ > ME /taːlǝ/ > MnE tale /teɪl/). I'm wondering because to my ...
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64 views

Confusion matrix for consonant clusters in English?

I was wondering if anybody knew of a confusion matrix for consonant clusters in the English language. I've seen CV, VC, and CVC phoneme/syllable confusion matrices, but never any with any sort of ...
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34 views

Making a balanced word list systematically using COCA and CMUdict

I am trying to find words in English that mirror the conditioning environments for spirantization of /b, d, g/ in Spanish. I am balancing for proceeding phone, lexical stress, word-internal vs. ...
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38 views

I am looking for a good chart that maps Orthography to Phonemes for General North American English

I am looking for a chart (or good reference) that shows every possible orthographic representation for each phoneme (in General North American English; I don't care about the low-back merger). ...
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89 views

Is there a comprehensive list of all (or many) phonological rules (specifically allophonic) of the English language available anywhere online?

It would be very helpful to have for a programming project I'm working on involving grapheme-to-phoneme translation. I've been able to find many rules for phonemes but not too many for allophones.
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The phonetic interaction between the F and the T in “often”

In the word often, the labiodental non-sibilant fricative f precedes the alveolar stop t, which is then followed by en. The Oxford Dictionaries Online offers two accepted pronunciations: /ˈɒf(ə)n/ ...
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Why does word-initial upsilon always have a rough breathing?

How did a rough breathing develop before all words starting with an upsilon in Ancient Greek? This is a commonly noted fact about the distribution of these sounds (or rather spellings), but I’m having ...
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Does word TA comes from historically, or a psychically to many languages on earth?

Does word TA comes from historically, or a psychically to many languages on earth? Ta, sumerian -root Ta, english -thank Ta, mongolian -grateful and respectful calling of "you" etc
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291 views

Phonology vs phonetics : /ʁɔz/ vs [ʁoz]

It's written on French Wikipedia that the noun “rose” is represented in phonology by /ʁɔz/ whereas Wiktionary is claiming that it should be /ʁoz/. In both case, the associated representation in common ...
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207 views

What's the evidence for and against isochrony?

The question What evidence is currently known that favors or disfavors the hypothesis that a regular beat of some kind—that is, an “isochrony”—plays some important role in languages? I've run across ...
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73 views

How to transcribe allophones of /ɒ/ in Boston English

In contemporary Boston speech and probably also in Maine it seems to me that the realization of /ɒ/ is widely much less constricted, and in some realizations allophonically more fronted/centralized ...
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43 views

stress of function words in English

Generally speaking, what are conditions under which function words in English are to be stressed. I am working on weak/strong/contracted forms in English and the textbook states that WFs are to be ...
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90 views

What human speech sounds could the canine vocal tract produce?

If dogs had brains with the same capacity for language as humans, but retained their canine vocal tracts, what human speech sounds could they produce? And what speech sounds could they produce that ...
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How do I start analysing a spectrogram?

I was recently given a diagram of a spectrogram as part of an assignment. I'm not asking for answers, but rather, how do I start analysing one? All the formants seem rather unclear to me, and as an ...
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Word classes reliant on phonological form?

1) Are there any documented languages in which a certain word class corresponds to a particular phonological structure? A. CVC(VC) = Noun In Polish, the word kot 'cat' (CVC) corresponds to a ...
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39 views

Do well-formedness constraints just refer to prosodic structure?

In reading the literature on Optimality Theory, e.g. Kager (1999), every reference to well-formedness constraints refers to prosodic structure, especially syllable structure. It seems to me that ...
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119 views

What characterises Hebrew spoken by native English speakers?

I was watching episode 8 of Srugim's third season and noticed, beginning at approximately 19:50 (at least in the Hulu upload), this very minor character whose Hebrew sounded weirdly "off" to me. From ...
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Survey: Do you know of an introductory phonology text that presents a clear account of juncture?

Which introductory texts on phonology contain a clear account of juncture? I have heard that juncture is a set of suprasegmental phenomenon that conveys the boundaries between words, phrases, clauses ...
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45 views

Is it accurate to think of OT and auto-segmental phonology as offering explanations on how phones are derived from phonemes?

OT offers a tool to see how a surface structure is derived from an underlying one. Autosegmental phonology also allows us to see how a surface form can be derived from an underlying representation. ...
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362 views

what is the feature notation for total assimilation?

I know the Arabic definite article /l/ is a common example of this, as it assimilates to the following consonant if it's coronal. This would probably be easier in auto-segmental notation but how would ...
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136 views

Determining underlying representation

I'm really confused about how to determine underlying representation. Every thing I read seems to contradict the last. Trying desperately to solve this problem and I just seem to be going in circles ...
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82 views

What's a good example of the explanatory power of autosegmental phonology… for first year undergrads?

Our university is making a crash coarse in phonology for first year students so, while there is a dedicated phono module, there's also this streamlined overview of phonological theory. My job is to ...
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35 views

Theoretical implications of different models of distinctive features

There are multiple models of distinctive features. Wikipedia distinguishes between three main approaches: Acoustic: Jakobson and colleagues defined them in acoustic terms,[11] Articulatory: ...
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84 views

Do languages with long clusters have minimal vowel or consonant inventories?

I assume, considering the Onset principle, that there are not many languages that have a structure with VV or VVV but are there languages that have a CV.VV structure? If there is, I would assume that ...
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114 views

What feature classes do ʙ r ʀ belong to?

I am unsure which features would be inclusive of trills, any information is greatly appreciated! Also, if anyone knows of a feature chart online that includes trills and could link to it that would be ...
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131 views

Glottal stops that aren't tenuis

Is any language known to contain a glottal stop [ʔ] that isn't tenuis? For example, an aspirated glottal stop [ʔʰ], a palatalized glottal stop [ʔʲ], or a labialized glottal stop [ʔʷ]. CORRECTION: It ...
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161 views

Which languages contrast /ɕ/ and /ʃ/?

According to Wikipedia, there's a phonemic contrast between /ɕ/ and /ʃ/ in Ubykh, North Qiang, South Qiang and Luxembourgish (though they are merging). Do any other languages exhibit this distinction? ...
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81 views

Why are non-stop nasals so rare?

Almost every language has at least two nasal stops (usually /n/ and /m/), and a language that lacks any nasal stops is extremely rare. And yet, also very rare is any kind of nasal that isn't a stop, ...
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Are there Tai languages (or Tai-Kadai) which have a voiced velar stop phoneme?

Thai and Lao each have three series of stops, unvoiced unaspirated, aspirated, and voiced. For labials and alveolars, all three exist, but for velars there is no voiced stop. Is this the case for ...
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110 views

Why do French/German speakers round [ð] to /z/ while Italian/Hebrew speakers round it to /d/?

More generally, what factors determine which phoneme a non-phonemic foreign sound gets rounded to in a specific language when there are multiple possibilities available? Is the choice always ...
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62 views

Is there a phonotactics hierarchy?

For example, Japanese is (C)V(N) [plus that geminated stops across syllable boundaries thing], while Mandarin is (C)(G)(V)(G)(/n/ or /ŋ/) and Polynesian languages are just (C)V. Is there a gradation ...
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73 views

What are the foundational papers in computational phonology?

I'm working on a paper on the history of computational phonology. As I understand it, Chomsky & Halle's SPE acted as a catalyst for research in the field, namely by laying the foundations for ...
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209 views

What is an example of a language or dialect that contains triphthongs?

I spent some time on a research project examining spectrograms and coding vowels for speakers of American English from a few rural regions in the state of Oklahoma. I noticed that certain speakers ...