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Questions tagged [phonemes]

The discrete and distinctive units constituting the internalized inventory of sounds of a language. A sequence of phonemes is the preverbal form of a word. Phonemes may be systematically distorted upon verbalization, resulting in an allophone. Phonemes and allophones are both "phones".

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Are any of the Old Chinese reconstructions for「能」plausible descendants of Proto-Sino-Tibetan /*dɣwjəm/?

(Apologies if this is off-topic.) The Chinese character「能」was originally a picture of a kind of bear. The character was once used to represent a word meaning bear, but this word doesn't appear to ...
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With SSML phoneme tags using IPA phonetic symbols, how can I insert pauses to slow down pronounciation?

Note For my text to speech engine (I use Cereproc, William Voice). The engine can be used on the website here: https://www.cereproc.com/ and it supports the ssml tags used in this question.. ...
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The meaning of /ě/ (ѣ)

What does ˇ (haček) in *ě 'yat' mean?
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Do these vowel sounds “slip” in languages such as Spanish and Hebrew?

As far as I can tell based on recordings of languages such as Spanish and Hebrew, the phonemes /e i o u/ or /ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ/ tend to "slip" freely between being [e i o u] and being [ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ]. Is this true, ...
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Does assimilation of voice produce different phonemes, or just allophones?

During assimilation of voice, voiced consonants become voiceless and vice versa: s - z, d - t, etc. cats ([ts]) dogs ([ɡz]) missed ([st]) whizzed ([zd]) Are these sound pairs different phonemes, or ...
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Why do we transcribe the vowel sound in 'how' as /aʊ/?

The diphthong /aʊ/ doesn't really make sense to me as a transcription. I'm a Southern British English speaker, and when I say and hear 'how' it sounds to me like /hæɒw/. /a/ doesn't seem to exist as ...
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Why does schwa have a special place among vowels?

What makes schwa so special? On my phonology exam my tutor phrased the question something like: Why is schwa the ruler/king of vowels? I don't know what he meant by this but I suppose it's got ...
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146 views

Complementary distribution and defective distribution

I'm not sure if I understood what complementary distribution and defective distribution mean. I have a definition that complementary distribution is an automatic, i.e. obligatory positional variation ...
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104 views

Which accents distinguish “golf” and “gulf”?

From Wikipedia's article on the NATO spelling alphabet: The IPA form of Golf implies it is pronounced gulf, which is neither General American English nor British Received Pronunciation. However, ...
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106 views

Phonology: Exemplars vs. Abstract Phoneme Theory

I have come across an essay title asking us to critique the evidence of language being processed as either “abstract phonemes” or “surface exemplars”. (Specifically in phonology) Is this a rewording ...
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What fraction of compound phonemes actually exist in natural language?

Are there phoneme sequences ("pairs") that have not been found in any natural language? I imagine there are some number of sequences that are physically impossible, but also some that are physically ...
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Why does John Batchelor record these vowels for Ainu?

Reverend John Batchelor who recorded some early Ainu literature had a peculiar orthography, where he records word-final vowels where phonemically there is none. Words like kor or mosir, he spells koro ...
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How linguists select phonemes to construct an alphabet for a language

For languages without written alphabets, wondering how a linguist goes out in the field and determines, "hey, these are the core sounds of the language" and defines an alphabet in terms of those ...
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If there is really an /ə/ between /dəɹ/ in “quandary”

In considering words with -er ending like "quandary" /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/, it seems like to me there is no difference between that IPA /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/ and /ˈkwɑːn.d.ɹɪ/, or "quand-ree". The [r] is like "rrrr" ...
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Finding fundamental particles of sound In ASR systems?

Q1. Can we divide phonemes which are specific to a language into some more fundamental entities same across all languages ? Q2. Will this help us in achieving language independent acoustic modelling ?...
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Why are phonemic transcriptions necessary, when phonetic transcriptions are more detailed (and more helpful for language learners)?

Ian Roberts, Prof. of Linguistics, Univ. of Cambridge. The Wonders of Language (2017 1 ed). p. 27 Middle Be sure to get your terminology right: phonetics is the study of the speech sounds ...
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If these letter pairs are used to distinguish two words in any language

Wondering if there are languages in which there are 2 words, 1 containing letter (a) and the other containing letter (b), such that they sound pretty much the same, yet they mean different things. The ...
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282 views

The language with the most sounds or variation

Trying to get a sense of what a complicated language sounds like, all the different pronunciations possible. Wondering if one could link to one of the most complicated spoken languages today. I just ...
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Why is [n] easy to be velarized efter a back rounded vowel?

So [n] becomes similar to [ŋ], as in "on" and "-ion". What is the phonetic phenomenon and in what languages becomes /ŋ/ separated diachronically from /n/ affected by the vowels?
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Are there languages that ban t+S (esh) sequences but have a č phoneme?

I’m not expert in typology, but I wonder if it’s possible for a language to ban t+S sequences but have a phoneme č. Does anyone know of an example of one such language?
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Correct to say that accent defines the mapping between phones and phonemes?

I'm trying to become acquainted with the language (hah) of linguistics (specifically speech perception, from the perspective of auditory signal processing), so that I can write and converse about the ...
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Sounds that are treated as phonetically equivalent

I suspect that I will not use the right terminology here. Apologies in advance. Is there a word for the phenomenon in which speakers of a language treat two different sounds as equivalent, even ...
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224 views

Whats the average duration of English phonemes?

I found this paper on phoneme length in the Polish language, but I can't see to find anything like this for English. Polish Phoneme Length Paper: http://www.dsp.agh.edu.pl/_media/pl:ltc-001-ziolko....
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Choice of phonemic symbol for /b/, /d/, /g/, /ʝ/ in Spanish

Wikipedia states this on the Spanish consonants /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ and /ʝ/: The phonemes /b/, /d/, and /ɡ/ are realized as approximants (namely [β̞, ð̞, ɣ˕]) or fricatives in all places except after a ...
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Why do so many languages have both an alveolar “light L” [l] and a velarized “dark L” [ɫ] allophone?

Various dialects in all three of English, Portuguese, and Dutch have accents that contain velarized L allophones, which are sometimes known as “dark L’s”, at the syllable coda. Why is this? There ...
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48 views

P2G Alignment Algorithm in Python (OS X)

I'm looking for a basic phoneme-grapheme alignment algorithm which can be called in Python from a machine running OS X. So far the only implementations I've been able to find are part of larger C++ ...
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333 views

Did Persian ever have a hard or soft “th” sound?

Farsi does not distinguish between ث (soft 'th' in Arabic, like "think") and ذ (hard 'th' in Arabic, like "that"). A native Farsi speaker pronounces ث like the 's' in "sing" and ذ like the 'z' in "zoo"...
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Why do I feel like “g” should mutate to “dz”?

The phoneme g is not original in Czech and is present only in foreign words. There is an official grammar rulebook declaring the inclination in locative case to be "ž" or "z", however I feel like ...
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179 views

can two phonemes of two different allophone appear in one word?

if a phoneme appears twice in a english word, it will be pronounced as the same allophone both times; ie, two different phoneme of two different allophones of the same phoneme cannot be used in a ...
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Are there any fricatives pronounced behind the tonsils?

I have noticed that I have the ability, like all, to force air out of the little places behind the tonsils, and I was curious if this is an actual articulation? I don't know what part of the mouth, or ...
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How does a field linguist record rare, unknown features of an undocumented language? Is it likely for him/her to miss the details?

A field linguists is most likely an adult, after all. We all know that babies are capable of hearing the specific sounds in natural languages. As a person grows up, however, he/she starts to lose the ...
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Does the Telugu script have near perfect phonemic orthography?

I was trying to find the proper term for when a language's alphabet has one to one correspondence between the letters written and the pronunciation for those letters. Turns out its called phonemic ...
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Phonemes and phonemic sounds

How is called the property of phonemes due to which one minimal pair is enough to establish the phonemic status of a sound?
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693 views

At what age do children lose the ability to hear phomene differences that their native language doesn't make?

As far as I understand, very young children have no trouble distinguishing many different phonemes. However, when they get older they lose the ability to hear the difference between different phonemes ...
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111 views

Evidence proving lingustic perception of speech in brain?

Is there any evidence that speech is perceived linguistically, meaning is there evidence that shows that speech in the brain is perceived as phonemes, morphemes, and so on? I was thinking whether ...
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Why is recognition based on phonemes and not syllables or morphemes?

Why is recognition based on detecting individual phonemes, and not chunks such as morphemes or syllables?.. My question were in relation to human perception, and the existence of phonetic boundary, ...
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Languages missing the sound P?

I've found that Arabic doesn't have the sound P - and they use B instead of it (when they pronounce non-Arabic words that contain the sound P, obviously). Is there any other language not having the ...
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What is the phonetic and phonemic destinction between a semivowel and a vowel?

I have read several articles that claim that phonemically, /j/ and /i/ are the same and distinguished from each other by being syllabic or not. What confuses me is that I can hear the difference ...
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Discussions around symbols included/excluded in the IPA

Are there are IPA symbols which are the subject of some controversy? For example, I suppose there are some who would like to have a unitary"tS" t-esh sound as a unitary phoneme... but I bet there ...
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911 views

Disambiguating place vs Manner of articulation

Some aspects of the IPA chart are not intuitive to me. I tend to think of "place of articulation" as "where a sound is produced" and "manner of articulation" as "how a sound is produced". Is this a ...
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What phonetic elements is the word yes and no put together by? [closed]

This might be a long shot but it will try it anyway?... I am currently working on developing a speech recognition application, capable of detecting utterances consisting of the words yes/no. A ...
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Where to download wav/mp3 files for each of the ipa phoneme?

I would like to be able to build a "word" using IPA symbols (ex:sʌnʃaɪn) and then be able to link together a bunch of .wav files (one per phoneme) and play it... But I need a full set of wav (or mp3 ...
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Is there a phoneme distribution graph for multiple European languages?

I am doing some research on a manuscript which I need to identify the language. My hypothesis is that it is written in phoneme by someone who does not understand the language. Spoken aloud, one that ...
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Why isn't there a dental trill?

First off, I'm an engineer with a passing interest in linguistics, so this might well have an obvious answer--it's just not obvious to me. The IPA, as I understand it, includes three distinct trills, ...
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“Phonemic” distinctions induced by morphology

As a native speaker of Bengali (Calcutta dialect), I found it quite surprising that this Wikipedia article on Bengali phonology asserts, "for most speakers /s/ and /ʃ/ are phonemically distinct." I ...
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Is a Phonemic representation ONLY at the underlying level?

Is it accurate to claim that the underlying level is (only) characterizable by a phonemic representaiton of a word and the surface level is (only) characterizable by a phonetic representation of a ...
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Impact of native language on toddlers reproducing non-speech sounds

This happened when my son was 1.5 years old. He would play with my nephew who is the same age. One of their favorite game is to act like someone who is trying to park a car and moving backward. The ...
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354 views

The naturalness principle for [a] and [e]?

I am trying to doing an exercise that requires me to reconstruct a proto language from two languages that has a difference in the [a] and [e] phonemes. I know I cannot use the majority rule because ...
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Praat: Sound analysis

In Praat after converting stereo sound to mono, the intensity reduced to (-ve) so no sound is produced although the original stereo sound has a max intensity 70 dB !
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Advice on voiced and unvoiced in sanskrit sounds

I am trying to learn Sanskrit alphabets, and want to see how I can pronounce the consonants. Then I noticed that when pronouncing the consonants, which are voiced and unvoiced, my vocal chords are ...