Questions tagged [phonology]

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

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1answer
163 views

Final intonation of a question in a pitch-accent language

How do pitch-accent languages deal with potential confusion between the pitch to distinguish two words, and the pitch to make a question? For example, if you got word 'Ab' and word 'aB', how could ...
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Fundamental questions about natural classes in phonology [closed]

Could you help me with these questions? Thank you in advance!
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How well do Semitic languages preserve consonants over time?

I'm not too familiar with the details of Semitic languages, but as far as I can tell it seems the tri-consonantal roots of words are relatively important. If the consonants change over time, did they ...
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206 views

Is there a linguistic term for replacing past tense verb with present tense?

In my dialect of English (North West England), we sometimes use the present tense of a verb when standard English employs the past tense, such as in the sentence below: "I waits for the bus ...
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33 views

How can we trace the source of orthographic inconsistency?

It is known that orthography has both positive and negative effects on second language acquisition. However, I can't really figure out when the effect is due to the L1, the L2 or both. For example, ...
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55 views

How were this feminine mutations originated in Welsh?

It is known that the celtic languages have mutations, for instance: Welsh: *transcription depicts North Welsh dialects • normal form: Cymru [ˈkəmrɨ̞] (Wales); • soft mutation: Gymru [ˈɡəmrɨ̞] (ex.:...
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Why do Spanish and Greek have such a similar phonology?

Is it just a matter of coincidence or did the two language influence each other in some way?
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The schwa in [meɪkəθ] for *maketh* in KJV English

This Wiki article seems to suggest that words like makes had lost their final syllable schwa in normal speech already by Chaucer's time (palmeres > palmers is the example they give). The rule, as ...
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107 views

Why are dental sounds rare?

Dental stops are rare in the languages of the world (other than in Australia). Most languages outside of Australia containing dental stops belong to Indo-European, Uralic, Kartvelian, and Dravidian. ...
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Is the “p” in “spin” really a “b”?

Daniel Everett claims in Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes (Ch. 11) that the English "p" and "b" in "pin" and "bin" are separate phonemes, since they alone distinguish the words "pin" and "bin," whereas ...
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64 views

Familiarity with any/innie merger in American English?

It was recently pointed out to me that I pronounce “any” ( and the related anything, anymore, etc.) as /ˈɪn.i/ instead of /ɛn.i/. Does anyone know a regional variation of American English that has ...
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What happened to “accented velars” in Anatolian?

One of the oldest splits within Indo-European was between the Centum and Satem languages; they differ in what they did to the "accented velar" phonemes (like *ḱ and *ǵ). However, if I understand ...
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Does the analysis of syllables via mora imply that syllable duration is quantized?

From the wikipedia article: "The definition of a mora varies. In 1968, American linguist James D. McCawley defined it as "something of which a long syllable consists of two and a short syllable ...
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Why are PIE C+glide clusters so rare?

I noticed that *Cj/*Cy (depending on if one uses IPA or IEist notation) and *Cw sequences are rare in PIE (with most being the result of schwebeablaut or regular ablaut). Among sequences that aren't ...
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115 views

Long vowels in the world languages

The English language has long and short vowel sounds. Short and long vowels also exist in some other languages. And it's interesting to know when native English speakers come to let it be the Czech ...
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54 views

Looking for Spanish varieties/accents

This might not be the right place to ask this, and if so, I apologize. I'm a student conducting research on Spanish varieties and I am wondering if anyone knows where I could find short texts read by ...
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1answer
99 views

Understanding VOT

I am a third year bachelor student of Linguistics. It would be nice if I don't get mean comments, because I genuinely do not understand what I am about to ask. I have to write a paper on phonetic ...
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1answer
46 views

What sort of features contrast in some signed languages but not others?

I don't know anything about sign language linguistics, and the Wikipedia page on ASL phonology wasn't very helpful, and suggested wide ranges of allophony. In considering phonemes as equivalence ...
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87 views

How to read and understand linguistics articles?

I was wondering if there is a good way to read and understand Quantitative linguistics articles that has graphs in it? For example, For a class, I am currently reading: "Recognition of spoken ...
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79 views

Glottal stops- comparative frequency among commonly spoken languages

I'm a brand new member who enjoys words and languages but I am not a trained linguist. Which common languages of the world, and families of languages, are considered the most glottal (most glottal ...
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239 views

Do voiceless approximants exist? What is the consensus among phoneticians/phonologists?

Voiceless sounds that are produced with supralaryngeal configurations that would be considered approximants if voiced are attested in languages (i.e. [j̊], [l̥], etc.), but none are found to contrast ...
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80 views

What's a good introduction to constraint-based phonology?

I am playing with the idea of building a language parser/transformer and getting into the structure of pronunciations. This leads me to try and come up with rules for the parser for understanding how ...
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68 views

What is known about the voicing of Hittite consonants?

Most consonants in Hittite appear in two variants, conventionally called "voiced" and "voiceless": "voiceless" consonants are written twice in a row, while "voiced" consonants are written only once. ...
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Is the study of triphthongs a must to master English phonology?

Most universities in India are teaching only pure vowels (monophthongs), and diphthongs. Now we find triphthongs. ... Is the study of triphthongs a must to master the phonology of English? ...
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269 views

Does pre-fortis clipping only operate within a syllable? If not, what is its actual scope?

English is known to have a phenomenon of "pre-fortis clipping": in certain contexts, vowel and sonorant phonemes before a fortis/voiceless consonant are realized with shorter duration than the same ...
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Phonetic distortion when words are borrowed among languages

When languages borrow words from other languages, they sometimes deliberately distort words to make them phonetically easier to pronounce. For example, when Japanese speakers are taught the word "...
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(proto-)Germanic evidence for Late Latin vowel length

I would like to find a list of borrowings illustrating the reflexes in (proto-)Germanic of Latin long and short vowels. In particular I would like to find substantiation to the standard claim that it ...
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97 views

Is it possible to recognize place of articulation of consonants through spectrograms?

I am trying to undestand how PRAAT works and to recognize consonants through spectrograms. I Know that it's possible to distinguish fricative consonants from nasal ones (for example) but is it ...
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How do people pick an abbreviation for a technical term?

Today I heard “regex,” short for “regular expression,” out loud for the first time with a /dʒ/ instead of a /g/ as I had always guessed. I felt the same experience when I first heard the abbreviation ...
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151 views

Is it possible to speak like a native speaker of English by mastering the phonology?

I know some professors of phonetics teach phonetics(in a country like India) in a laboratory almost similar to that of the native speakers.But when they come out of the class their pronunciation does ...
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33 views

Phonology: adjacent ordered rules (Kisseberth, 1970)

I have a question when reading the paper Kisseberth(1970). It’s about when rules can be collapsed. My question is about "adjacent rules". I don't quite understand what "ordered before" and "ordered ...
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324 views

Can languages have both the alveolar approximant and the alveolar tap?

I'm trying to find a natural instance of both the alveolar approximant and the alveolar tap existing in a natural language's phonology. Could this naturally happen or do languages converge to one of ...
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Have ejective consonants ever arisen on their own?

In an old comment on another question, jlawler mentions in passing: Much the same can be said about ejective consonants -- other languages can pick them up, but nobody knows where they come from. ...
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Who are the first theorists to represent syllable structure as a hierarchical branching structure?

I have attached an example of this structure for the word 'dream', from Blevins' chapter in the Handbook of Phonological Theory, 1995.
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45 views

Lexeme phonological form

I am self-studying morphology and came across this paragraph in Martin Haspelmath book "Understanding Morphology". Although we must assign names to lexemes to be able to talk about them, lexemes ...
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88 views

What is the standard representation of a stop which could be either ejective or aspirated?

I’m working with a language which differentiates between aspirated and ejective stops. Is there a linguistic convention that I can use in writing descriptive rules for processes which both aspirated ...
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81 views

What’s the standard way of showing phonemic inventory and orthography in the same table?

I’m describing the phonology of an Asian language. I put all the phonemes in a clear table. Since I use a local (Roman letter-based) orthography in my transcribed examples, I think it’d be handy to ...
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96 views

Need data on # of syllables per word in languages with CV & CVC syllables only

In languages with limited syllable structures (CV and CVC), how can I get data on the respective percentages of words in the known vocabulary that have 1 syllable, 2 syllables, 3 syllables, and 4 ...
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87 views

Is sonority phonological or phonetic?

I've seen several mentions of "sonority" in different works, most of which define it as something like "how loud a particular sound is in relation to other speech sounds". This seems like something ...
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How to synthesize French vowels

I am trying to synthesize the French vowels [o] and [ɔ] for running a perception experiment. I have been using the Praat Vocal Toolkit and got pretty nice results with the following formant values: F1(...
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181 views

Did Classical Hebrew and/or Aramaic have allophonic continuant length?

It's well-known that Classical Hebrew had phonemic length distinctions in the stops, since geminated stops didn't turn into fricatives: compare רַב raβ "rabbi" against רַבִּי rabbī "my rabbi". But I'...
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How did vowel a in L. maneō “to remain” come from PIE *mn-eh₁- “to remain” < PIE *men- “to stay, stand still”?

AHD-IER (Watkins, 2011) P97 gives PIE *man-e- for L. maneō: Variant suffixed (stative) form *man-e-. MANOR, MANSE, MANSION, MENAGE; IMMANENT, PERMANENT, REMAIN, from Latin manere, to remain. ...
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Interactive class exercises with Praat

I’m teaching a seminar crash course in linguistics to first year undergrads next term. It’s just 3 one hour lectures, and should be fun and engaging. I want it to be hands-on, and give students a ...
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Finding Natural Classes

I have a question regarding exercise 1, chapter 4, Introductory Phonology by Bruce Hayes. Suppose we have the features high, low, back, round. We are given the table below, representing the vowels ...
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198 views

Is there a term for the way that 'th' is pronounced differently in 'thin' and 'this'?

The point of the example in the question in the title is that, to my knowledge, there are no minimal pairs that contrast [ð] and [θ] in English, yet, if someone pronounced a word with those sounds ...
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What is the best linguistic term for describing the kw > p / gw > b change, and its usual companion s > h

Celtic, Italic, Greek and several other IE languages have a P- and a Q-variety (from kw > p and gw > b). The P-variety usually also has h for ancient s. What would be the best linguistic term for ...
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246 views

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have an implicit glottal stop

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have implicit glottal stop then would the claim about regular laryngeal loss have to be revised? There's a rather recent ...
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2k views

Is the schwa sound consistent?

The first syllable in "about" (ə'baʊt) is schwa, so is the second one in the "salad" ('sæləd), but iv'e never heard them pronounced the same way. in salad it sounds more like the i in "trick". ...
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1k views

What's weird about Proto-Indo-European Stops?

I was reading Wikipedia, and it maintains that it's unusual for a language to have a voiceless-voiced-breathy distinction (without a voiceless aspirated), but that the Sanskrit 4-way distinction is ...
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396 views

Word meaning as function of the composition of its phonemes

tl;dr Linguists like to claim that the mapping from sounds to word meanings is mostly arbitrary. Can you point out research that supports this claim? Specificllay I am looking for hard evidience in ...