Good day I am facing a problem to distinguish between assimilation of place and assimilation of manner So in Peter R's book he said that (AOM) is much less noticeable, and he provided examples which is:

1- That side /ðæs saɪd/

2- Good night /ɡʊn naɪt/

For Assimilation of place (AOP) brought up examples which is, for me, similar to AOM :

1- Good boy /ɡʊb bɔɪ/

2- this shoe / ðɪʃ ʃuː/

3- get those /ɡeð ðəʊz/

As you can see, in these two examples (good night, good boy) they are similar, and what is the reason to classify (that side) as Assimilation of manner? . I think we can classify it as assimilation of place too.

Please giude me and help me. Many thanks

  • If you look at the IPA chart, it should be clear why. Where are these consonants there? en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Alex B.
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 14:11
  • example 3 of AoP does also have AoM going on. In addition to going from an alveolar to a dental, it's gone from a stop to a fricative. @AlexB. is right about the others though, look on an IPA chart and see if it changes column (AoP), row (AoM), or both
    – Tristan
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 15:09
  • what do you mean by do the opposite?
    – Tristan
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 16:09
  • You keep saying Peter’s book. Do you mean Peter Roach?
    – Alex B.
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 2:44
  • How do you understand these terms, "place of articulation" and "manner of articulation"?
    – Alex B.
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


It is questionable whether there is such a thing as "assimilation of manner" in the same sense that there is assimilation of place. Assimilation of place traditionally refers to wholesale shift in POA as represented in the IPA charts, to t → p, p → k and so on: columns of cells identify a "place". "Manner" cross-classifies rows including nasality, continuance, sonorance and other features. An assimilation of manner would be where t → θ before all fricatives, → n before all nasals, and so on, likewise changes of p, d, z (→ d before all stops, → dz before all affricates). A language can certainly have partial assimilation of one feature: the question is whether there is ever a case of assimilation of all manner features?

The examples ts → ss, dn → nn are not clear cases, in fact they are completely ambiguous in that they could simply be total assimilation (all features). Typological research has revealed ample evidence for cases of place assimilation, and laryngeal assimilation, as well as total assimilation, and no evidence for manner assimilation. This is the foundation of the conclusion that "manner" is not actually a constituent in phonological feature structure.

Since there is no such thing as general manner assimilation in languages (distinct from single-feature "nasalization" e.g.), you'd have to understand the concept in hypothetical terms. For example, the following collection of changes:

{p → ɸ / _{s,ɸ,ɣ}

θ → t̪ / _{p,b,k,q,ɗ}

s → n / _{m,n,ŋ},

t → ts / _{pf,t̪θ,ts,kx,qχ}}

If you encounter something like that, you have found assimilation of manner. If you find complete assimilation, that is simply the extension of assimilation of place and laryngeal features to cover all features, and thus not specifically "assimilation of manner".

  • My last list says what the idea implies, but as I say, there are no real examples. You might take this to linguistforum.com, which is more a chat-forum and better suited for discussions outside the realm of simple questions and answers.
    – user6726
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 17:31
  • 1
    Take, for example, the English example of nasal (including /m/ or /ŋ/) + voiced 'dental fricative'. The voiced dental fricative phoneme is usually realised as an approximant. When preceded by a nasal it often becomes a dental nasal (stop). This seems to be an example of assimilation of manner without an assimilation of place. Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 23:46
  • just to clarify, in your example s → n / _{n}, you'd still call it an assimilation of place and not an assimilation of manner or did I misunderstand you?
    – Alex B.
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 3:12
  • btw fwiw Gordon 2016 (Phonological Typology) mentions Capell and Hinch 1970, "a single case of manner assimilation, involving hardening of /l/ to a stop after a nasal in Maung" (p. 128) - but I haven't actually looked at their data.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 20:48
  • As I mentioned above, there are many examples of single-feature assimilations which involve manner features, or any other features. But no cases of multi-feature manner assimilation. If this were actual "manner assimilation" then the l case would assimilate nasal as well.
    – user6726
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 21:05

In good boy, /ɡʊb bɔɪ/, we see that the last consonant of good has become a /b/. In isolation the last consonant of good would be a /d/. If we give these two phonemes their Voice Place Manner labels, /d/ would be a ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇᴅ ᴅᴇɴᴛᴀʟ ᴘʟᴏsɪᴠᴇ and /b/ would be a ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇᴅ ʙɪʟᴀʙɪᴀʟ ᴘʟᴏsɪᴠᴇ. So we can see that whilst the last consonant of good is still voiced and still plosive, its place of articulation has changed. Instead of being alveolar and made with the tongue making a complete closure with the alveolar ridge (that little shelf behind your top teeth) for a [d], it is now bilabial and made with the closure at the lips, giving us a [b].

In terms of that side, both /t/ and /s/ are made by the tongue making a stricture at the alveolar ridge. So when we consider a /t/ becoming an /s/, the place of articulation is judged not to have changed. The Voice Place Manner labels for [t] and [s] are ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇʟᴇss ᴀʟᴠᴇᴏʟᴀʀ ᴘʟᴏsɪᴠᴇ and ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇʟᴇss ᴀʟᴠᴇᴏʟᴀʀ ғʀɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ, respectively. So we can see that whilst [t] is both voiceless and alveolar, it is plosive; it involves a complete closure in the vocal tract behind which the air coming up from the lungs compresses before it is released. In contrast, with [s] there is no complete obstruction of the air leaving the vocal tract. Instead we have a narrow stricture through which the air escapes, namely a channel down the mid-saggital line of the tongue. The narrowness of the stricture causes audible turbulence as the air passes through it, thus making this sound fricative. So, as described, there is a difference of manner, but not of voicing or place.

  • Good explanation (@Araucaria), but what about (That thing) or (get those) ? Is it assimilation of place or manner?
    – Baber Fa
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 23:49
  • @BaberFa Well, it's very rare that we'd get that assimilation there, because normally the original /t/ will be realised as a glottal stop. However, where it does happen, it's both place and manner. The /t/ in get would normally be alveolar but becomes dental, and while it would normally be a plosive it becomes fricative. However, it's a bit of a question here whether we'd regard the change of place to be a case of assimilation. If there was no change of manner and the /t/ was realised as a dental [ t̪ ]instead of a normal [ t], we would not regard them as separate phonemes, ... (cont) Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 2:17
  • @BaberFa ... because there are no words where we would differentiate between a dental and an alveolar [t]. And therefore we might regard the dentalisation of the /t/ to be merely coarticulatory [a small non-phonemic change in the way the sound is produced influenced by an adjacent sound, one that does not change the identity of the phoneme] and not a case of assimilation. Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 2:25
  • @BaberFa Your welcome! :-) Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 19:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.