Phonology What is Phonology? First we should know that the study of speech sounds is: 1- phonetics. 2- phonology. Phonetics is concerns with the following

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What is Phonology?

First we should know that the study of speech sounds is:

1- Phonetics.

2- Phonology.

Phonetics is concerns with the following:

1- Auditory.

2- acoustic.

3- articulatory.

▪ Phonetics is the study of how the speech sounds are produced.

▪ Phonology is the physical properties or aspects.

Phonology on the other hand:

▪ investigates the organization of speech sounds in a particular language.

▪ It is the principle that govern the distribution of these sounds.

▪ It is the mental abstract.

To make the difference clear look to the following :


The Basis for phonological analysis

Analyzes the production of allregardless of language


The basis for further work in morphology, syntax, discourse, and orthograpgy desgin

Analyzes the sound patterns of a particular language by:

Explaining how these sounds are interpreted by the native speaker.

Phonemes and Allophones:


It is an abstract entity.

Contrastive/distinctive sound within a particular language���������(notation: /�/)

It is unpredictable

Over lapping distribution occurs in different places.


A physical entity.

Also variant) = sound which counts as an alternative way of saying a phoneme in a particular language (notation: [�])

It is predictable

Occurs in complementary distribution i.e. occurs in certain places.

Variations of the phoneme

Aspiration feature:

/p/voiceless bilabial stop phoneme and have three different pronunciations

[pʰ]means that it is aspirated i.e. when you pronounce it you produce a puff of air like in the word /Pot/. It is aspirated because it comes in initial position of a word or syllable.

[p] It is unaspirated sound and it comes after the /s/ sound like in the word /spot/.

[p̚ ], it comes in final position like in the word /leap/.

Phonetic similarity:

[pʰ],[p], [p�] all of them share the main phonetic features it still a voiceless bilabial stop.

Phonetic Complementary distribution:

When these sounds �allophones� complete each other and occurring in different environment and can�t take the place of other and it symbolizes as (CD). So, each allophone occurs in its own environment.

- /t/ is a voiceless alveolar stop and has different allophones:

- [tʰ] aspirated because it is in initial position ex. �tick�.

- [t̚]unaspirated after /s/ ex. �stick�.

- [ɾ ]� flap , when the /t/ comes between two vowels it is a flap ex. �better� , �pretty� .

- [ ] a glottal stop ex. �bottle� also when it becomes between two vowels or vowel and a syllabic /m/ , /n/ , /ŋ/ or /l/ .

▪ Sometimes some allophones are considered in some language as a phoneme

Minimal pair:

Word pairs whose sound structures are identical except one minimal difference, a single sound segment that occurs in the same place in the string

- The substitution of one for the other makes a different word, e.g. crick and creek (all the possible variations - crick, creek, crook, croak, crake, crack and crock constitute a minimal set).

-They are used to demonstrate that two phones constitute two separate phonemes in the language.

-An example for English consonants is the minimal pair of "pat" + "bat". In phonetics, this pair, like any other, differs in number of ways. In this case, the contrast appears largely to be conveyed with a difference in the voice onset time of the initial consonant as the configuration of the mouth is same for [p] and [b]; however, there is also a possible difference in duration, which visual analysis using high quality video supports.

Free variation

Two sounds occur in the same environment doesn�t change the meaning and they can�t be in minimal pairs because they are allophones not phoneme.

Free variation vs. complementary distribution:

- Complementary distribution: allophonic variation dependent on the phonetic environment the phoneme occurs in e.g. [ɫ] vs. [l] in English

�� - Free variation: allophonic variation independent of the phonetic environment the phoneme occurs in; random interchangeability.

- Example of free variation of a consonantal phoneme:

- Realization of word-initial th (as in then, this, there) as either [�] or [d] (possibly due to reasons of unawareness or indifference of choice)

- [�] and [d]: free variants (freely fluctuating allophones) of the phoneme; unconditioned by their phonetic environment.

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