Assimilation & elision
Features of the intonation pattern:
Emphatic: more lexical words are accented (typically through the use of an emphatic head)
(i) The root of the problem lies in the committee’s mandate.
(ii) The root of the problem lies in the committee’s mandate.
Emphatic: A tone unit boundary occurs in the middle of a clause (usually at a phrase boundary).
Note that the reservation can be implied even if there is no ‘but’, cf. ex. (ix).
|That’s not what I \meant! |
| Well what \did you mean? |
The fall-plus rise
The falling part is new, the rising given information.
| He’s always \wanted to go to South A/merica |
Assimilation: a sound becomes more like (similar to) an adjacent/nearby sound.
a) Allophonic variation
Most (but not all) instances of allophonic variation in consonants result from assimilation to neighbouring sounds.
e.g. /t/ - basically alveolar, but dental before a dental sound, e.g. eighth 
b) Phonemic assimilation
Assimilation also results in one phoneme ‘changing into’ another. This applies to consonants only.
e.g. /s/ // in this shirt / ()/ / ()/– i.e. in front of //, //, /j/.
/z/ // in the same environment: these shirts /()/
(i) This may be fixed or optional within words
e.g. picture /()/ (no longer /p - /
(ii) Across word boundaries this is usually optional
Assimilation may affect (a) place of articulation; (b) place and manner of articulation; (c) force of articulation.
This affects the alveolar sounds /t, d, n/, articulated as /p, b, m/ before bilabial sounds, and /k, g, / before velar sounds.
Across word boundaries this assimilation is regressive as in
Regressive assimilation of place of articulation also affects /s, z/ before /j, / (Examples above: this shirt, these shirts)
This is progressive and involves substituting /, / for /j/ after /t, d/, forming /t, d/, most commonly when ‘you’ follows an auxiliary verb (with or without n’t).
Lenis /v, z/ are replaced by /f, s/ before fortis sounds within certain compound words and fixed phrases only! It is usually compulsory, unlike types (a) and (b).