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Chapter 2

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Marcel Danesi

Each Language is equal among equals - No matter how many sounds a language possesses or how large its vocabulary is – it shares it fundamental structures with other languages To study the science of linguistic, errors were introduced in a sentence in various spots - Allows us to detect what has gone wrong – what rules were broken? - E.g. pboy- the violated principle is not a selection of individual sounds (pen or ball) but combinations of sounds – falls under the domain of phonology - E.g. an boy- not a phonological error because an in isolation is a legit word o Morphology- not only how words are distributed among a larger scale but also how units smaller than words called morphemes (affixes, s in the end for plural, etc) convey meaning o Languages can be classified depending on the number of morphemes they use  Chinese- one word = one morpheme  German- one word= several morphemes  English- one word= a lot of morphemes (equivalent to an English sentence) - Syntax- in Latin- the order of the word doesn‟t matter(they use case endings); in English it does - Drinking pizza –Semantic- meaning patterns- goes against the real world experience - Johnny being a girl- pragmatic- variations according to the context in which the language is used Thus linguistic analysis involves examining language forms as structures that belong to specific levels. Difference between form and structure - A triangle can have various forms – acute, obtuse, etc but only one structure (three lines) o Thus that structure can belong to different levels – forms - Similarly in language structures are patterns that can take on various forms Phonology - The symbols commonly used to represent sounds = international phonetic alphabet (IPA) - IPA was established for consistency because the world‟s spelling system vary so widely and are often unreliable o Fish , philosophy and enough have the same phonetic sound but spelled different  This sound is produced physically by: 1. The lower lip touching the upper teeth- labiodental 2. The airstream starting from the lungs is expelled in a constricted fashion through the slit formed in lower lip touching upper teeth – fricative 3. The vocal cords in the larynx are kept taut(t non-vibrating)- voiceless  Thus this phonetic symbol F stands for a voiceless labiodental fricative 2. The airstream expelled by the lungs can pass through the oral or nasal cavity o In general only sounds produced by nasal cavity are specifically distinguished – otherwise most are oral 3. In larynx there are two vocal cords- which can either be vibrating or taut o If they are close together when air passes through them- they vibrate producing voiced sounds – e.g. zip (touch your larynx- you will feel the vibration) o If they are apart and stationary- they are voiceless - e.g. sip 1. Consonant vs. vowel sounds - Consonants- indicate the point of articulation and manner or articulation o Sounds made by two moveable organs touch – e.g. pill - bilabial o Sounds made by one moveable and one stationary organ = fish (bottom lip and upper teeth)- labiodental o Both usually consonant sounds because they are produced in some obstructed manner o No word for tongue in consonant description- e.g. in the word train, which is produced with the tongue touching the alveolar arch (ridge just above the train) = alveolar - Vowels- o Various parts of tongue may be named because tongue height and position are relevant in the description of the sounds o Bah – expelling the airstream through the oral cavity without any significant blockage or friction o Pill – blocking the airstream and then expelling it completely o Name – directing it through the nasal cavity o Live – Expelling it on either side of the tongue as it makes contact with the teeth, the alveolar arch or the palate o Fact- expelling it through constriction in the front of the mound o Can be described in terms of the position of the tongue  Vertical –high, mid, low  Horizontal- front, central, back o The quality of a vowel depends on whether the lips are rounded or unrounded, whether lips are together or open, or the tip of the tongue is flat or curled o In some languages, vowels can take on the quality of any nasal consonant that surrounds the word  In French a with an accent in gant is nasalized o English vowel system has 12 main sounds depending on the position of the tongue (front, centre, back high, back mid, back low- tongue can also be front high, mid and low as well but I think it‟s always low to high)- if more details are required on the sounds- IPA is consulted o New symbols used to represent various phonetic sounds - In general vowels are produced by allowing the airstream to pass through the mouth without significant blockage; consonants are produced modifying blockage (complete or partial) Consonants can be described again in terms of points and manner of articulation Points of articulation - Bilabial- produced when upper and lower lips are touching e.g. pill or bin - Labiodental- lower lip touching the upper teeth e.g. fish - Dental- tongue touching the upper teeth or with the upper and lower teeth close to each other but not quite touching e.g. toy - Interdental- tongue between the teeth –e.g. thing - Alveolar- tongue touching the gum ridge - e.g. train - Alveopalantal- tongue touching the palate e.g. jar - Velar- back of the tongue touching the soft palate – e.g. king - Uvular – produced at or near the uvula – e.g. in German ich - Glottal- produced at or near the throat e.g. house Manner of articulation - Plosive/ occlusive/ stop – produced by means of complete stoppage of the airstream e.g. pull - Fricative (some phoneticians favour the sibilant) – constriction of the air stream e.g. sun, fish - Affricate- combination of plosive and fricative articulations- e.g. cats of fads - Flaps- flapping the action of the tongue- called vibrant – e.g. arrivederci (Italian- rr) - Lateral – narrowing of the tongue as the airstream escapes from the sides of the tongue- e.g. love - Nasal- directing the airstream through the nasal package- e.g. mom, nine - Flaps and lateral = classified together as liquids Voiced vs. voiceless for both consonants and vowels- - Nasal, flaps and lateral = voiced – as are the vowels in those words Certain phones can take on slightly different articulations in certain positions within words. For example, when voiceless bilabial plosive such as P is aspirated – pronounced with a slight puff h of air, it is represented as P . It usually occurs when followed by a vowel. - E.g. spit vs. pit; spunk vs. punk (Here, s is put before p blocking the aspiration even if it‟s followed by a vowel). Phoneme - /P/ - minimal unit of sound that can distinguish the meaning of words - /p/ can replace other consonant such as /w/ or /b/ to make new words –bin or win Allophones h - The pronunciation of /P/ as either unaspirated [P] or aspirated [P ] - Its due to the fact that the articulation of a sound is conditioned by its position within words - Allophones of a phoneme complement each other – where one occurs the other one doesn‟t. - The way that allophones complement each other is called complementary distribution rule Commutation test - Common test to identify phonemes of a language - Consists of sounds in minimal pairs- two words made up of same sounds except one position. E.g. sip vs. zip; sing vs. ring - If the test produces a difference in meaning – two sounds are phonemic - The proportional symbol used to indicate complementary- i.e. “is commutated with” - It doesn‟t just have to vary the letter- also the sound- e.g. beet is commutated with bet - However pronouncing economics with an I sound or E sound is called free variation not phonemes Distinctive feature analysis - Technique referring to minimal sound differences - The difference between two allophones of /p/ involved the feature aspirated - The presence of aspirated in [P ] is symbolized as [+ aspirated] and its absence in[P] is symbolized as [- aspirated] - [+/- aspirated] = distinctive feature that keeps two allophones distinct Consonants and vowel phonemes cluster in predictable way – syllabus - Defined in terms of breath groups because they allow the speakers to take a breath if required - A syllable is formed by a vowel called nucleus pronounced with a certain degree of stress o If it‟s the main stress in the word = primary; otherwise secondary or tertiary - The diacritic used to identify primary stress = [„] placed on a vowel segment o E.g. meter with an accent on the first e - The sounds after a nucleus are called contours - If another unstressed vowel comes before or after the nucleus, it‟s called a glide and the syllable is called a diphthong o E.g. yesterday  Moves from the glide [y] to the vowel [e]  Rising diphthong because voice is raised o If the glide is after the vowel nucleus e.g. y in say  Falling diphthong Phonologists also study sentence stress patterns because these affect the meaning encoded. - In English, main stress is usually on the last word; but you can change it to alter the meaning - E.g. Sarah is Italian (stress could be on Sarah or Italian) Another aspect of pronunciation is tone - It‟s the relative pitch with which a syllable, word or sentence is pronounced - In mandarin- it‟s an important feature because a single syllable [ma] can have various meanings depending on whether the tone is one of the following: o High level tone of [ma] can mean mother o High rising- hemp o Rising= horse o Falling = scold - In a Nigerian language, tone can mark a grammatical function o High-low – I am showing o Low-high- I showed o Low- I show - In English- tone is used to signal differences in the intent or function of sentences- the use of tone is more specifically known as innotation o Sentences and interrogative questions have a falling intonation pattern  E.g. Marie is French  Where do you live o Yes or no questions and questions with isn‟t he, doesn‟t he have a rising intonation pattern  Do you speak Italian?  You know her, don‟t you? - Raising or lowering tone can change the meaning of the words as well. E.g: o Yes? = can I help you o Yes – level tone = affirmation o Yes! = satisfaction Three general things to note so far about the relation between pronunciation and language use: 1. Actual pronunciation can vary from speaker to speaker a. Dialectal- when people in two different places speak English differently- slightly different pronunciation b. Sociolectal  When man and women or different classes of societies are expected to pronounce
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