Questions tagged [phonology]

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

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10
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1answer
955 views

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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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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2answers
83 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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40 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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37 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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2answers
74 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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106 views

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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2answers
164 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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66 views

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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181 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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571 views

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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188 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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4answers
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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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5answers
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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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5answers
377 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 ...
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At what point did the feminine ending fall silent in Semitic languages?

Hebrew and Arabic both mark feminine nouns with a final consonant in writing, which is pronounced /t/ in certain sandhi-conditioned environments (and is otherwise silent). From what little I know of ...
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124 views

Is English opposite all other languages?

A German teacher (spoke fluent German and English) stated in high school to our class that “English is opposite every other language.” Is this accurate? What does that even mean?
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Why do some linguists say vowel length isn't contrastive in Italian?

That's what I get in Caillou & Leite (2009) and the article "Main stress in Italian nonce nouns" by Martin Krämer. The latter brings a case where vowel length is proven to be contrastive (ancóra/...
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Are mutually counterbleeding and mutually feeding phonological rules possible? Why not?

Since consonants tend to be lost next to other consonants, could all of the consonants of a consonant cluster disappear since each consonant is next to a consonant? (This would be a mutual ...
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What can we say about Classical Nahuatl <z>?

Nahuatl has two sibilant fricatives, now pronounced something like [s] and [ʃ]. The standard orthography was developed by Spanish colonizers, who wrote /ʃ/ as x, and /s/ as c before a front vowel, z ...
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Forced Aligner doesn’t work on denoised sound file

I’m using p2fa to do aligning for a sound file. Because the speaker has some heavy breath that was misinterpreted as words, I used praat to denoise it, and it sounds pretty good. However, p2fa almost ...
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50 views

Is there any difference between laminal postalveolar ʃ and laminal flat postalveolar ʃ˖

Lithuanian language has laminal flat postalveolar and Maastrichtian Limburgish has laminal postalveolar. Are they any different, or just the same sound
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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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3answers
202 views

What exactly is the definition of a syllable?

I do not consider myself a linguist. I just teach English to Japanese audience. So please excuse my ignorance if this is too basic a question. What exactly is the definition of a syllable? What I ...
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Word Boundaries and Compounding

I figure any definition for a word boundary is probably somewhat fuzzy. However, I thought, instead of banging my head against the wall trying to come with an ad-hoc solution, I would throw this out ...
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131 views

Charles Hockett - 'F' article?

In the Guardian, there is an article on cultural determinants of phonological feature choice. A recent article in Science supposedly supports the hypothesis that the existence of labiodental ...
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49 views

Is morphology always attributable to phonological processes?

I am wondering if you can justify the development of most/all morphemes to regular phonological processes if you argue that diachronically those environments existed and have just been lost in modern ...
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75 views

Phonological changes and how they spread

An important part of language change is surely phonological variation. I'd assume that phonological changes happen involuntarily, driven mainly by articulatory mechanisms, and then slowly spread to ...
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How did Ancient Greek 'πυρ' become English 'fire?'

fire is derived from the Ancient Greek πυρ. My question is: how did the plosive become a fricative? I believe pyre is also derived from πυρ; why is it that pyre didn't also undergo this "...
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The “th” sound as a plosive in British dialects

I've noticed that the th sound often becomes a plosive sound in Appalachian English. When and how did this phenomenon start?The only case I know where this happens in the british isles is Irish.Does ...
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1answer
44 views

What informative and yet easy-to-read introductory books in English are there for Spanish Phonology?

I had my eyes on The Phonology of Spanish by Iggy Roca but I can't find the book in any store, neither it's ISBN or even it's cover! Evidence indicates that it wasn't even published but it pertained ...
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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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103 views

Are there other aspirated phones in English?

It is known that English has a set of aspirated consonants, the allophones [pʰ], [tʰ] and [kʰ] of /p/, /t/, /k/, respectively. Are there other consonants with aspirated allophones? In which cases do ...
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128 views

Is it really impossible for two different languages to have the exact same set of phonemes?

Is it really impossible for two different languages to have the exact same set of phonemes? I read that somewhere and wanted to know if it was true.
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Experiment design: forced choise test for auditory recognition

I need help in experiment design. As an analogy, lets take English: I want to test if speakers can distinguish between the the word "red" and "read" if listening to recordings of it. I want to do ...
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5answers
166 views

Why are allophones called variants of a phoneme?

I initially thought that it was because allophones happened in the physical world in place of phonemes, that couldn't, but that proved to be wrong when I read this: "The segment [pʰ] is an allophonic ...
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1answer
71 views

Pronunciation of final consonants in the history of English

When in the history of the english language did the consonants begin to be pronounced as a glottal stop? I notice this phenomenon is more prevalent in American English at the end of words but ...
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In need of a simple book on English phonology - recommendations? [closed]

SPE of Chomsky and Halle entails far more than I can handle.
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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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1answer
112 views

What does a long mid-high unrounded back vowel sound like?

I'm trying to figure out what the Livonian character ȱ sounds like. As far as I can tell, it's a long mid-high unrounded back vowel. In IPA it seems to be written as /ɤː/ but that seems to be a non-...
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46 views

What would be the hypothetical phonological range of canines based on their physiology?

There are all kinds of videos showcasing "talking" dogs like huskies jabbering away, but I'm curious: In theory (in a world where dogs could have human brains) what would they physiologically be ...
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298 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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101 views

Advanced book for English Phonology?

pals. Does anyone know any advanced book(s) in Phonology of English and could give me a title/the titles, please? I am studying English Philology (so English is my 2nd language) and we've just ...
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129 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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*through* vs. *tough*: ME*-ough* /uːx/ > –? How are the sound shifts from ME -ough explained?

How is it explained that the sound sequence /uːx/ -ough has developed so differently in different words? Not-dipthongized in through, shortened and unrounded and retained fricative in tough, lowered ...
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118 views

Change from labialized velar to labial

Is there a specific auditory reason for which a labiovelar such as "kʷ" becomes a "p" sound?This could also be applied to the change in Latin from "duellum" to "bellum"
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457 views

Development of diphthongs

Is there a specific reason for which diphthongs in German and English words like "mein" and "like" arose? It seems to be a pretty common phenomenon, but somehow it seems to be limited to Germanic ...