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Lecture 5

LINB04H3 Lecture 5: LINB04H3S Le 05

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Yoonjung Kang

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LINB04H3S: Phonology Lec 4: Week 5: Phonological alternations (Reading: Odden, Chapter 4) Morpheme alternations : A morpheme that has different pronunciations in different contexts is said to alternate. The different variants are called alternants or allomorphs. Alternations involving different phonemes Very often, morpheme alternations involve different phonemes. For example, the English plural suffix is realized as [z], [z] or [s]. [z]: latch, hinge, fez, witch, breeze, fudge, wretch, garage, lash, lunch, kiss(=strident coronals, i.e., sibilants) [s]: lip, rock, myth, laugh, bat, turf, stick (=nonsibilant voiceless sounds) [z]: tree, hen, gum, law, two, bar, cove, tea, toe, row, bell, tray, rib, tag, load[i n m u v l b g ] (=all other sounds) A null hypothesis would be to list all three forms in the mental dictionary with additional information regarding which group of nouns each form goes with. This approach is problematic because 1) the distribution of the allomorphs is predictable even for a new word and possibly a new segment that doesnt exist in English. 2) The phonological relatedness of the three variants is treated as accidental. How to analyze phonological alternations Step 1: Identify the morphemes in the data. Step 2: Look for alternations in morphemes; if there is no alternation, assume that the form seen on the surface corresponds to the underlying form. Step 3: State the relevant contexts in which the alternants occur. Step 4: Choose the ONE UR that can derive the correct surface distribution of segments in the language; if there are multiple possibilities, choose the form that will allow rules to be simpler and more natural. ***Neutralization rules*** Rules like Russian final devoicing change one phoneme into another phoneme in positions where such segments already appear. Such rules are called neutralization rules because they suspendneutralize the Underlying contrast in certain positions. ***When a neutralizing rule creates alternation, the alternant in the nonneutralizing context should be chosen as the UR. ***
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