One of the solutions in my practice questions for a phonological rule was listed as:

C[+cont, α place] -> [+plosive] / N [α place] ___

to represent a situation where voiced consonants are realised as voiced stops after a nasal

Could someonen clarify what the +cont means?

1 Answer 1


It refers to continuants, consonant sounds that don’t have a complete oral closure (and are thus able to have continuous voicing or airflow), in contrast to plosives which have a complete oral closure. (Continuants can also be defined as any sound without a complete closure, including vowels, but that would make little sense here, since vowels do not generally become plosives.)

So the rule is saying that any consonant that has a partial, but incomplete, oral closure is ‘closed’ up to have a full closure and thus become a plosive before a nasal consonant at the same place of articulation; for example, /ɣŋ βm ðn/ would become /ɡŋ bm dn/.

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