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36 votes
Accepted

Is the "p" in "spin" really a "b"?

It is kind of convention to assign the phonemic value /p/ to the p in spin, since there is no minimal pair /p/:/b/ in this environment (words like *sbin don't exist). Now comes the fun part: In ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
15 votes

Is the "p" in "spin" really a "b"?

First, there is a lot of variation in English, so don't expect the facts to be the same for all speakers. Second, it's unclear what you mean by "really". There is phonological analysis, and there is ...
user6726's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

Contrast of degree of aspiration in Korean

The notion "degree of X" really requires a three-way distinction to be valid, as in degrees of length (Estonian, Saami, Dinka), nasalization (Palantla Chinantec) or breathiness (Bor Dinka). If there ...
user6726's user avatar
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10 votes
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Why are voiceless plosives (p, t, k) unaspirated after /s/?

Since syllable-final voiceless consonants are also not aspirated ([ɹæt], not *[ɹætʰ]), we generally focus on saying when you get aspiration, and don't say that voiceless stops are intrinsically ...
user6726's user avatar
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9 votes

Were Iranian languages originally separated and more related to Slavic?

It has been the standard theory that Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian are a significant subgroup in IE, as opposed to Germanic, Celtic, Italic, Hellenic. Then Indic and Iranian are significant ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes
Accepted

Are there any languages in which a simple puff of air (like blowing out a candle) is phonemic?

Many languages have sounds that could be called puffs of air, which may be transcribed as [ɸ w̥ ʍ h ɦ hʷ] People generally blow out candles with pursed lips, which could reduce the set of candidates ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes
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What are partially voiced stops (as in Danish)?

Danish has no voiced plosives but two series of voiceless plosives, aspirated and unaspirated. These are typically transcribed with <p, t, k; b, d, ɡ> rather than the more phonetically ...
Nardog's user avatar
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7 votes

Is there such a thing as aspiration harmony?

Some examples from Consonant Harmony: Long-Distance Interaction in Phonology by Gunnar Olafur Hansson (2010): Aymaran varieties, where homorganic consonants have aspiration interactions: [B]oth ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,516
6 votes

Is the "p" in "spin" really a "b"?

In English, aspirated "p" as in "pin" ([pʰ]) and unaspirated "p" as in "spin" ([p]) are allophones: two different phones that represent the same phoneme /p/. However, there are languages that do ...
chepner's user avatar
  • 162
6 votes
Accepted

Why there are few aspirated fricatives in the world?

Aspiration is usually defined as a distinctive increase in voice onset time between the release of a consonant and the initiation of voicing on the segment after the release of the consonant. This is ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Voiced aspirated alveolar trill

There is no phonetic difference between voiceless aspirated vs. unaspirated trill, and phonologically speaking, voiceless trills (and other sonorants) behave like they are aspirates. The distinction ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes

Is there such a thing as aspiration harmony?

It is claimed to exist in Zulu, but only as a constraint on root-consonant co-occurrence. For example there are roots like [pʰatʰa] 'hold' and [peta] 'dig up', but not [pʰata, patʰa]. Unlike typical ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

Aspiration of Voiceless Affricate in English

The fundamental (and contrastive) difference between phonologically aspirated stops and phonological affricates is the nature of the release. Aspiration is turbulent noise whose source is the glottis, ...
bsmith's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes

Aspiration of Voiceless Affricate in English

The affricate /tʃ/ does not behave differently from the stops /p t k/ w.r.t. aspiration. The relevant contexts for aspiration are bit more complicated and are best stated in terms of foot-initial (...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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Limitations of the parrot speech?

I don't think issue has been explored in a systematic way, and it's not clear how it could be. Theoretically, one might record human language contrasts like tal, thal, ttal uttered by a parrot (how do ...
user6726's user avatar
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4 votes

Why are voiceless plosives (p, t, k) unaspirated after /s/?

A bit late to this very interesting question which had also troubled me for years to find the answer. My answer for this question is that it's simply the way those sound are pronounced in English! ...
Tran Khanh's user avatar
4 votes

Languages with a three-way distinction between voiced, aspirated, and unaspirated stops

Just to give you some more data, by analyzing the UPSID, I have come up with the following list of languages that specifically have this three way contrast in stops, and no other phonation ...
Mr. Nichan's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Why do I hear the p, t, k in Portuguese as aspirated plosives?

There are two aspects to this: the greater aspiration of /p, t, k/ in Portuguese than in Spanish. the greater lenition of /b, d, g/ in Spanish than in Portuguese. From one 2008 study of 35 South and ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,516
4 votes

Is there such a thing as aspiration harmony?

I haven't heard of such a thing, but it seems entirely possible. We know that aspiration can cause dissimilation, as famously seen in Grassmann's Law for Greek and Sanskrit (an aspirated consonant ...
Draconis's user avatar
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3 votes

non-aspirated voiceless stops versus their voiced counterparts before a vowel

Phonetically, the main theory I've heard is that voiced/voiceless/aspirated consonants are distinguished by voice onset time. VOT is the time delta between when the consonant stops and when the vocal ...
Draconis's user avatar
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3 votes

Are there languages which require aspiration for some stops?

The problem is that if all consonants are the same thing, what are they? Aspiration is generally understood to refer to voice onset time, with larger values being "aspirated". But there is no ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes

Languages that have phonemic aspirated post-alveolar affricates

You can search for the segment [tʃʰ] at Phoible and get quite an impressive list of languages having it. Clicking on Mundari as a randomly chosen example confirms that it contrasts with non-aspirated [...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Can a phonemically aspirated consonant have an unaspirated allophone?

Georgian has a three-way laryngeal contrast in stops, which is often treated as /pʰ b p'/. If supposed /pʰ/ is realized phonetically as [p, pʰ] depending on context, then it is an open question ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

What's the rule dictating when to use aspirated and unaspirated [t] in English?

Since the question is about the method of determining the rule for complementary distribution and not specifically about British English, this can be illustrated with analogous analysis of American ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

Contrast of degree of aspiration in Korean

I am bilingual in Korean and English. I have always held the view that the difference between 'ㅂ' and 'ㅍ' is not aspiration -- they are both aspirated as you have observed. However, the uniqueness of ...
Justin's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes

Can a stop be both voiced and aspirated?

they're opposites in terms of voice onset, which would make them mutually exclusive. As far as I know, that is true. A sound that can be produced is a murmured plosive (they are sometimes called ...
unknown_person_1000's user avatar
2 votes

Are there other aspirated phones in English?

Apart from the fact that English p,t,k are aspirated, b,d,g are also different from b,d,g in French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese in not being "as voiced", in initial position – often, they are ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Tenuis nasal consonants

The term "tenuis" in linguistics is not an absolute phonetic description, it is a relative term, similar to "unmarked". The consonant b is voiced, the consonant p is not. When describing an instance ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

Tenuis nasal consonants

Tenuis is a term used to refer to voiceless plosives [p, t, k], especially ones that are unaspirated, so it doesn't apply to [m], which is by definition voiced. Burmese has voiceless [m̥], but not ...
Nardog's user avatar
  • 4,951
2 votes

Languages that have phonemic aspirated post-alveolar affricates

Sanskrit, and most other Indian languages, have (at least in the script) a four-way distinction of c - ch - j - jh. I would have to rummage a bit in the dictionary to establish minimal pairs.
fdb's user avatar
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