35

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 English, there is a double contrast between /p/ and /b/ in initial position: The p is voiceless and aspirated [ph], the b is voiced and not aspirated [b]. The p in ...


29

You mention the pronunciation /ˈfɹæb.dʒəs/ in the comments; this is how I would pronounce it too. Phonotactics are usually explained in terms of constraints ("you can't do this"), so the short answer is that it doesn't violate any of those constraints. If we look at all the parts individually: /fɹ/ is a valid onset, as in "frog" /æb/ is ...


27

In theory, any language could be analyzed as having only two phonemes, /0/ and /1/. Then we could say [p] is the realization of /00000/, and [t] is the realization of /00001/, and [k] is the realization of /00010/, and so on. The problem is, this isn't an especially useful analysis. It doesn't reveal any new insights about the language, or make it easier to ...


22

The term is loanword adaptation. It happens every time someone tries to use a word from a different language when speaking another. It's because every language has a different set of sounds that can be recognized as part of that language. A tongue click can be part of ordinary words in some languages in southern and eastern Africa just like any other ...


15

This is a well-written argument, but I think it's mistaken to conclude that they are the same phoneme; or, more to the point, I think this is a case that highlights a limit of phoneme/allophone analysis. Indeed, the same argument can also be used to show that /ə/ and /ʊ/ are allophones of the same phoneme: there cannot be a minimal pair because of the ...


15

When I pronounce this vowel, I would say it is the only one where there is absolutely no contraction of any muscle (except vibrating vocal chords) or any change in the mouth/throat/larynx/pharynx, and the tongue is simply relaxed. I just open the mouth and it's the sound that comes naturally. So I suppose it is justified that it has the central place in ...


15

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 acoustic analysis. The standard mostly-phonological analysis is that "pin" has aspirated [pʰ] and "spin" has unaspirated [p], but they reflect a single phoneme /...


15

Yes: forward /ˈfɔːwəd/ vs. foreword /ˈfɔːwɜːd/.


14

May be this doesn't exactly answer the question, but pure dental consonants are cross-linguistically rare. Ladefoged and Maddieson discuss in detail how stops which are generally labeled dental, are actually denti-alveolar, with the bulk of the articulation at the alveolar ridge. They also state that for languages that distinguish different types of coronal ...


14

This is a framework-dependent question. My guess is that he is referring to the representation of schwa, and the premise that it is "featureally empty". That is, front vowels have a frontness property, back vowels have a backness property, and round vowels have a rounding property. Schwa has none of these. That brings us down to the central unrounded vowels [...


13

Pirahã is claimed to have either ten or eleven phonemes (three vowels and either seven or eight consonants). If it has ten, that's one fewer than Central Rotokas.


13

Even if you had a full set of minimal pairs, that actually would not rigorously establish the number of phonemes in English because it doesn’t tell you how the phonemes are segmented: you could make the number larger by treating phoneme sequences in the current analysis (like /sw/ /tw/ /dw/) as single phonemes, or smaller by treating single phonemes in the ...


12

I think this question may be trickier to answer than you realize--it largely depends on your definition of vowel and consonant. If you take a structural phonological approach to defining those terms (i.e., if whether something is a vowel or a consonant depends on where it occurs in the syllable), then they are by definition in complementary distribution, so ...


12

There seem to be several common confusions in your question: Phonetic vs. phonemic Phoneme is a collection of sounds that serve the same function. For example, English phoneme /p/ sounds like [p] in 'spit' but like [ph] (h represents aspiration) in 'pit'. Speakers don't recognize them as two different sounds, though, because they have function e.g. to ...


12

This is one of those "it depends" questions. Dinka (Bor dialect) has the vowels [i e ɛ ɔ o u a], as well as long and over-long versions of these (21 vowels), and 4 phonatory contrasts (breathy, hollow, model, creaky) → 84 vowel, which can have 4 different tones (H, F, L, R) giving 336. Unfortunately they do not also have nasal vowels. You could redefine the ...


12

The linguists describing the language. As user6726 mentioned, phonemes are a theoretical construct. We can't actually take quantitative measurements that prove that this is a /k/ and this is a /t/, unlike in e.g. articulatory phonetics. So there are some linguists who claim Mandarin has only two vowels /ə a/, and some who claim it has five, /i y u ə a/, and ...


11

You should not be surprised if I tell you that the process is highly variable. Very roughly speaking, you start by eliciting a bunch of words and writing them down. Linguists have varying degrees of experience with phonetic symbols and what they stand for, and this introduces the first layer of variability. The ideal is that there is a set of standard ...


11

It's not "deliberate" – it's the automatic, nigh-inevitable result of fitting a set of sounds from one language's inventory into a different inventory. It's like changing a photo from RGB to CMYK or changing the encoding of text that includes special characters. Most values will transfer but some will just be approximated. Sometimes the change is obvious, ...


11

Intensity is the physical correlate of loudness, and is also a correlate of stress in some languages. Moreover, stress can create differences in meaning in some languages (e.g. PRO-test vs. pro-TEST); we say that such languages have lexical stress, or that stress is lexically distinctive. It follows that if we can find a language where intensity is a good ...


10

In many Germanic languages it's /ve/, as fdb said In other Germanic languages, including German, its name is similar to that of English V https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W#Name In Polish it's /vu/. In Italian it's also pronounced as /vu/ in common acronyms for brevity In Somali it's /wæʉ̯/ https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/W#Somali


10

The most widely used reading passage in research on English phonetics and phonology is The North Wind and the Sun. It includes most English phonemes and is used, for example, in the Illustrations of the IPA (translated where necessary, although it is then not guaranteed to include all phonemes of the language in question). David Deterding argued that the ...


10

Phoible is a useful database for phonological questions containing more than 3000 inventories for more than 2000 languages They have just 19 inventories with a /ʀ/ (i.e. with a phonemic uvular trill). Additionally, 2 inventories with a /ʁ/ (i.e. a phonemic voiced uvular fricative) have a [ʀ] as an allophone. In some of these, [r] is given as an allophone, so ...


9

The notion of 'distinctive' sounds indicates that the discussion must be limited to phoneme inventories found in a single language. To do this we can consider the largest known inventories of contrastive (i.e. which I'm taking 'distinctive' to mean for the purposes of this answer) consonants, vowels and tonal features. Consonant inventories According to ...


9

Update: I have cleaned up and organized this list significantly, and it is now available here. I had the same question as you, and ended up throwing together some perl scripts to scrape Wikipedia's list of the 10,000 most used French words, pipe them through eSpeak to get their IPA pronunciations, then do a simple (completely non-phonetic) comparison to ...


9

Anglo-Norman French (or Anglo-Norman) was a dialect of Old French that died out as a spoken language by the beginning of the 13th century. It was used by by the ruling elite, which constituted no more than 2-5% of the total population (Upward and Davidson 2011). Norman Blake writes that English monasteries started receiving a lot of monks trained in France ...


9

There are two different issues here. First: New Persian never had a voiceless /ϑ/, at least not in words of Persian origin (though it is possible that in early Islamic times bi-lingual speakers did pronounce ث correctly as /ϑ/ in Arabic loan words). گيومرث is simply a misspelling of گيومرت which happened to catch on in this proper name. It entered the ...


9

Nothing specific. When linguists started working with Old Church Slavonic, they weren't sure exactly how the yat was pronounced (since it had shifted in different directions in different daughter languages). But they also needed some way to represent it in their transcriptions. The same happened for the "shortened vowels" that are now known as &...


9

The goal of the NATO spelling alphabet is to make the symbols as easily-distinguishable as possible, even over noisy channels (such as radio). Brevity (keeping the words short) is secondary to that. So it comes down to optimization. In the end, the original designers determined that the extra clarity from using some three-syllable words outweighed the extra ...


9

There is an opposition between /ʒøn/ in "jeûne" and /ʒœn/ in "jeune" but the opposition between ø and œ is clearly not productive anymore. addendum #1: as you said, the opposition exists between closed syllables (/vœf/ "veuf") and open syllables (/vø/ "vœu") addendum #2 : by the way /œ/ is sometimes the way French ...


9

Linguist's choice One sense in which someone decides what the phonemes of a language are is when a linguist describes a language and proclaims what the phonemes of the language are (usually in some publication). Linguists use all sorts of logic to arrive at their list, and many linguists don't even subscribe to the concept "phoneme". Using the term ...


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