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Chapter 3.1,3.3

LINGUIST 1A03 Chapter 3.1,3.3: Week 7: Contrast and Variation (Phonology) Textbook+Module Notes

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Catherine Anderson

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Thursday, February 25, 2016
Week 7: Contrast and Variation (Phonology)
Ling 1a03
Sounds can vary in many ways
-Voicing, tongue placement, place of articulation, pitch, length
Sounds can differ in voicing
[plijz] vs [plijz] (alveolar approximate on l in second please!)
Sounds can differ in length
-Free versus freeee <— second “free” the “e” is longer
Sounds can vary… Some variation is meaningful and other is not
-Core principle in phonology is idea of contrast.. If sounds make a different meaning in
the word, there is CONTRAST! ex: Fan and van… [f] and [v] contrastive in English so
its two different phonemes in english
-A mental category of phonetically similar sounds
-Phonetic variation within the category is not contrastive ex: all different l’s different
phonetically, but not contrastive because don't lead to a different change in meaning
to words
Evidence for Phonemic Contrast
-If a phonetic difference leads to a difference in meaning, then it is a phonetic
-We look for MINIMAL PAIRS!
Minimal Pairs
-Two words
-Two meanings
-Minimally different phonetically; than phonetic difference is phonemic!
-ex: Van and fan, Reviews and refuse, serve and surf, veal and feel, have and half

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Thursday, February 25, 2016
-Contains non contrastive phonetic variants
Allophones of /l/
Distribution of Allophones
-What phonetic environment do they appear in?
-Something all speakers know unconsciously about their language
-Free variation
-Predictable variation; phonetically conditioned
Some Allophones are in Free Variation
-ex: Lucky you say without alveolar l but when trying to distinctly say it you have the
alveolar l
Most allophonic variation is predictable
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