Paper "distinctive and nondistinctive sounds" Lecturer : Dra. Nurmin F. R. Samola, M. Hum Compiled by



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PAPER
“DISTINCTIVE AND NONDISTINCTIVE SOUNDS”

Lecturer : Dra. Nurmin F. R. Samola, M.Hum

Compiled by :

Steifi S. L. Rotinsulu

11303215


Class A / Semester III





ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

FACULTY OF LANGUAGE AND ARTS

MANADO STATE UNIVERSITY

2012
PREFACE



I am grateful to all the people who have assisted me in doing this paper.
This paper is a part of material on Phonology. It is designed as an assignments for semester. It also helps readers to find out references dealing with “Distinctive and Nondistinctive Sounds in English”.
This Material is taken from several sources.
I hope this paper can be benefit to all the readers. Inputs and criticisms are highly appreciated due to improvement of the material.
Steifi S. L. Rotinsulu


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface …………………………………………………………………………..................... 2

Table of Contents ……………………………………………………………………………. 3

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

Content ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

References ………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
INTRODUCTION
A list of all sounds in a language does not give us information about a very important aspect of the sound structure of a language: the values that these sounds have to its native speakers. In every language, certain sounds are considered to be the 'same' sound, even though they may be phonetically distinct. For example, native speakers of English consider the / in lay to be the same sound as that in play, even though the former is voiced and the latter voiceless. And if you ask a native speaker of English how many different sounds are represented by the italicized letters in the words pinbin, and spin, he will probably say "two," grouping the aspirated [ph] of 'pin' and unaspirated [p] of 'spin' together. Though [ph] and [p] are phonetically different sounds, native English speakers overlook this difference.
A native speaker of Hindi could not overlook this difference. To a speaker of Hindi, [ph] is as different from [p] as [ph] is from [ b] to our ears. The difference between aspirated and unaspirated stops must be kept in mind by Hindi speakers because their language contains many words that are phonetically identical, except that one word will have an aspirated stop where the other has an unaspirated stop. A native speaker of English can ignore the difference between aspirated and unaspirated stops because aspiration will never make a difference in the meanings of words. If we hear someone say [tap] and d [tæph], we recognize them as variant pronunciations of the same word lap, not as different words. Because of the different ways in which [p], [ph]  and [b] lead to meaning distinctions in English and Hindi, these sounds have different values in the phonological systems of the two languages.
In general, speakers will attend to phonetic differences between two sounds only when the sounds have the ability to change the meaning of a word. Such sounds are said to be distinctive. In order to determine whether two sounds in a language are distinctive, it is necessary to identify a minimal pair—a pair of words that differ by a single sound in the same position, but are otherwise identical. For example, [tæph] and [thip] constitute a minimal pair in English, in which [æ] and [I] contrast. It is worth noting also that minimal pairs can never be found for [r] and [l] in Korean because they do not appear in the same positions in words: [ r] appears only between two vowels, while [1] does not appear in this position, And this observation about the distribution of [r] and [1] is not merely a property of these isolated examples, but is true of allKorean words containing these sounds. Observations of this sort play an important role in determining which sounds are considered to be the same by a native speaker.

CONTENT
Distinctive and Non-Distinctive Sounds

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-siqca4kj5z4/t9mm5e-cfci/aaaaaaaabws/7v0iuus34wm/s1600/distinctive+and+non+distinctive+sounds.jpg

We have discussed the phonological system of a language only from the perspective of whole sound segments. While traditional approaches to phonology have considered whole sound segments to be the smallest contrastive units of language, there is considerable evidence suggesting that it is various properties of sounds rather than whole segments that are the ultimate units of contrast in phonology.


A list of all sounds in a language does not give us information about very important aspect of the sound structure of a language: the values that these sounds are considered to be the ‘same’ sound, even though they may be phonetically distinct. For example, native speakers of English consider the l in lay to be the same sound as that in play, even though the former is voiced and the letters in words pin, bin, and the second letter in the word spin. He will probably say “two” grouping the aspirated [ph] of “pin” and unaspirated [p] of “spin” together. Though [ph] and [p] are phonetically different sounds, native English speakers overlook this difference.
We have seen that there are several phonetic realizations of the contrastive unit we identified as English /p/, including the aspirated stop [ph], the unaspirated stop [p], and the unreleased stop [p’].

Despite these different phonetics forms or allophones, /p/ is consistently maintained as different from /b/ by the fact the various phonetic variants. For /p/ are always voiceless while the variants for /b/ are voiced. Other properties of /p/ and /b/ are quite similar. Both share the bilabial place of articulation and the stop manner of articulation, but are consistently differentiated by the property of voicing. Voicing is widespread contrastive unit in the English consonantal system, as illustrated by its role in differentiating the following pairs of items :




VOICELESS

VOICED

Tip

Kate


Fine

Sip


Pill

Chug


Dip

Gate


Vine

Zip


Bill

Jug

There are several ways in which we can demonstrate that the contrast between features of segments is more important than contrast between segments taken as whole units. Certain regularities of phonological systems are found within sets of segments that all share particular features. The regularities seem to relate to the features themselves rather than the whole segments. Consider the fact that the regular plural in English takes three forms, depending on the final segment of the noun to which is attached. Although we think of the form boys as a single word; it is composed of a noun and the plural of two morphemes, the noun boy and the regular suffix, written –s. it is significant that the morpheme PLURAL takes several different phonetic shapes. Each of the following forms is`composed of a noun and a plural morpheme : books, dogs, buses. These three forms are examples of the regular plural. All three words obtain the same plural morpheme, but it is pronounced differently in each case ; first as [s, then as [z], and then something like[Iz]. The [z] form follows a non-sibilant sound that is characterized by the property of voicing. The [s] variant follows a non-sabilant`sound that shares property of voicelessness. There is an obvious relationship between the presence or absence of voicing in the preceding segment and the distribution of voiced [z] and voiceless [s] as realizations of the plural form, as well as a relationship between sibilancy and the [Iz] realization.

English Consonants and Vowels

Distinctive Features

An alternate way to analyze sounds makes use of the concept of binary or paired features (a concept that we will encounter again in semantics in Chapter 6) where there is an opposition between the presence or absence of a feature in a particular sound. A notation is used for features in which the name of the feature is capitalized and enclosed in square brackets, the presence of the feature is indicated by a plus sign and its absence by a minus sign. For example, if we consider the features of voicing and nasality:

/t/ is [–VOICE] [–NASAL]


/d/ is [+VOICE] [–NASAL]
/n/ is [+VOICE] [+NASAL]

Sometimes, a sound may or may not have a particular feature and is hence ±, e.g.: /d/ is [–SYLLABIC]


/æ/ is [+SYLLABIC]
/n/ is [±SYLLABIC]

Sounds are analyzed in terms of a unique set, or bundle, of features. Each sound is distinguished from every other sound by a least one feature, e.g.:



       /b/          

/m/

       [+VOICE]          

[+VOICE]

       [+LABIAL]          

[+LABIAL]

       [–NASAL]          

[+NASAL]

The sounds of a language can be arranged in a grid or matrix, in which the features are listed along one axis and the sounds along the other, as we shall see below. Phonological features are assumed to be universal; that is, there exists only a limited number of features, and languages select among the possible features and combine them in language-specific ways. The distinctiveness of the features lies in the fact that they combine both articulatory and acoustic information. In the speech situation, there is a balance between the needs of the hearer, who perceives only those features necessary for deciphering the sounds (overlooking many other features), and the needs of the speaker, who for ease of articulation often omits features of sounds. Distinctive features are, thus, those features required by both speaker and hearer. While the inventory of features is continually undergoing revision, we may identify the following features of consonants, many of which we have encountered before:

  [CONSONANTAL]  

made with closure in the vocal tract greater than that necessary for glides, resulting in an impediment in the flow of air

  [SONORANT]  

involving a regular pattern of vibration and lack of "noise", musical sounds that can be sung or held on pitch

  [SYLLABIC]  

functioning as the nucleus of a syllable and potentially carrying stress

  [CONTINUANT]  

made with incomplete closure in the oral cavity

  [NASAL]  

made with the velum lowered

  [LATERAL]  

made with the lateral flow of air

  [VOICE]  

made with vibration of the vocal cords

  [SIBILANT]  

made with a groove or trough along the center line of the tongue, resulting in a strong hissing sound

  [DELAYED RELEASE]  

made with the slow release of a stop

For place of articulation, in order to establish a binary opposition, we must introduce some distinctions that differ from the traditional places such as alveolar or velar:

  [ANTERIOR]             

made on or in front of the alveolar ridge

  [CORONAL]             

made with the tip or blade of the tongue raised

  [HIGH]             

made with the tongue raised in the palatal or velar regions

  [BACK]             

articulated behind the palatal region

See the feature grid for English consonants below.

 

p

b

m

t

d

n

k

g

ŋ

f

v

s

z

θ

ð

ʃ

ʒ





l

r

y

w

h

ʔ

[SYLLABIC]





±





±





±





















±

±









[CONSONANTAL]

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+









[SONORANT]





+





+





+





















+

+

+

+





[NASAL]





+





+





+

































[ANTERIOR]

+

+

+

+

+

+







+

+

+

+

+

+









+

+









[CORONAL]







+

+

+











+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+









[HIGH]













+

+

+

























+

+





[BACK]













+

+

+



























+





[CONTINUANT]



















+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+





+

+

+

+

+



[DELAYED RELEASE]



































+

+













[SIBILANT]























+

+





+

+

+

+













[VOICE]



+

+



+

+



+

+



+



+



+



+



+

+

+

+

+





[LATERAL]







































+











Note that all consonants except the glides and /h/ are [+CONSONANTAL]. Nasals, liquids, and approximants are [+SONORANT], while fricatives, liquids, and approximants are [+CONTINUANT]. The four major classes of consonants can be differentiated as follows:

  stops

  [–CONTINUANT]

      nasals

  [–CONTINUANT]

  

  [–SONORANT]

  

  [+SONORANT]

  

  

  

  

  fricatives

  [+CONTINUANT]

      approximants

  [+CONTINUANT]

  

  [–SONORANT]

  

  [+SONORANT]

In respect to place of articulation, labials, labiodentals, dentals, and alveolars are [+ANTERIOR]; and dentals, alveolars, alveolopalatals are [+CORONAL]. A way of grouping consonants according to features is as follows:

    http://www.benjamins.com/jbp/series/z/156/workbook/images/ch02-f01.gif

For vowels, the following features may be identified, which are used along with the place features [HIGH] and [BACK]:

[LOW]     

made with the tongue lowered from the neutral, central position

[ROUND]     

produced with lip rounding

[TENSE]     

articulated with increased tension in the tongue

[REDUCED]     

/ə/

See the feature grid for the basic English vowels below:

  

i

ɪ

e

ɛ

æ

ə

ʌ

u

ʊ

o

ɔ

ɑ

[HIGH]

+

+











+

+







[LOW]









+













+

[BACK]











+

+

+

+

+

+

+

[ROUND]















+

+

+

+

+

[TENSE]

+



+









+



+

±

+

[REDUCED]











+













Note that vowels are all [+VOCALIC] (an open oral cavity with voicing) as well as [–CONSONANTAL, +SONORANT, +VOICE, +CONTINUANT]. The diphthongs /eɪ, ɪu, aɪ, aʊ, oʊ, ɔɪ/ cannot be distinguished by these features but must be treated as a combination of vowel + glide.




CONCLUSION


  1. Distinctive Features

Distinctive Feature : when a feature distinguishes one phoneme from another, it is distinctive feature. This difference also accounts for the meaning difference. See the following minimal pairs seal vs zeal , the distinctive feature [voiced] tells [s] from [z]. The two are contrasting phonemes, but the two are neither allophones nor in complementary distribution. The only difference is the distinctive feature [voicing] bat/mat, rack/rock, see/zee


  1. Non-Distinctive Features

Non distinctive feature are identical phonemes, no different meanings, but just allophones. The allophones are predictable, redundant, nondistinctive, and nonphonemic.

Example 1 : Nasality

Bean/bead

The nasality feature occur before syllable-word-final nasal consonants. But the nasality doesn’t contribute to phonemes in English.



Example 2 : Aspiration

  1. Possible in the syllable initial position or before a stressed vowel : pill, till, kill, etc.

  2. Not possible after a syllable initial /s/ : spill, still, skill


REFERENCES
http://educationcing.blogspot.com/2012/06/distinctive-and-non-distinctive-sounds.html
http://www.benjamins.com/jbp/series/Z/156/workbook/exercise_2.7.html
https://www.msu.edu/course/asc/232/DF/ACofDFs.html

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