Reviewing example of English plural Some examples



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Reviewing example of English plural
Some examples:


Final Segment

Voiced

Example

Phonetic

With Plural



no

top







no

hat







no

sock







yes

sob







yes

road







yes

dog







yes

lamb







yes

fan







yes

tongue







no

booth







yes

lathe







no

cross







yes

cruise







no

brush







yes

garage







yes

sofa







yes

boy





Observations:

We get /after the following sounds: /

These sounds are called SYBILANTS.


Assumption: Let’s assume the “normal form” of the plural morpheme is 

English Regular Plural Rule:





  1. Insert a  before the plural morpheme when a regular noun ends in a sibilant giving 

  2. Change the plural morpheme to voiceless when a voiceless sound precedes it.

Examples:


Brush:

     /brVS@z/

PlRule 1 Rule2
Hose:



Pl Rule 1 Rule 2
Rule 2 did nothing in these two examples.

Cruise:




Pl Rule 1 Rule 2

Neither rule did anything. Just adding the plural morpheme got the right form.

Sock:




Pl Rule 1 Rule 2

Rule 1 did nothing. Rule 2 applied.

English Past Tense Morpheme




Final Segment

Voiced

Example

Phonetic

With Past tense



no

tip, tipped







no

fit, fitted







no

sock, socked







yes

sob, sobbed







yes

nod, nodded







yes

flog, flogged







yes

hum, hummed







yes

fan, fanned







yes

bang, banged







no

cross, crossed







yes

cruise, cruised







no

brush, brushed







yes

judge, judged







yes

row, rowed







yes

pay. paid





Assumption: Let’s assume the “normal form” of the past tense morpheme is 




English regular past tense rule:





  1. Insert a  before the plural morpheme when a regular noun ends in an alveolar sound, giving 

  2. Change the past tense morpheme to voiceless when a voiceless sound precedes it.

Examples:


Bat:

     /

PlRule 1 Rule2
load:



Pl Rule 1 Rule 2
Rule 2 did nothing in these two examples.

jog:




Pl Rule 1 Rule 2

Neither rule did anything. Just adding the plural morpheme got the right form.

Sock:




Pl Rule 1 Rule 2

Rule 1 did nothing. Rule 2 applied.
Homorganic Nasal Rule
[in] English prefix. Attaches to adjectives with meaning “not”. Makes adjectives.

Facts about :




Allomorph

Environment

Examples



before vowels

before alveolars



inexcusable, inattentive

intolerable, indefinable,

innovation, insurmountable




before labials

impossible, imbalance,

immaterial





before velars

incomplete, inglorious,

incompatible


Assume the basic form of this morpheme is [In]:


Homorganic Nasal Rule

Change the place of articulation of a nasal consonant so that it agrees

with the place of articulation of the following consonant
Notice that in many cases this does nothing. For example, before a vowel:

This is correct.
Homorganic means “in the same place.” The nasal changes so that it is in the same place as the following consonant.
Compare our plural and past tense rules. Both morphemes changed so that they had the same voicing as the previous consonant.


Allophony




Example one:


English nasal vowels
English vowels become nasalized in front of nasal consonants.

or


“man”


This is a normal “phonetic” process that doesn’t change our understanding of the words.
Some more examples:













This sound change can be explained by a kind of laziness. In order to make

a nasal consonant the velar flap must drop down:
Consonants I
This opens the passage between the nasal cavity, allowing the sound

to resonate differently. It is easy for the velar flap to lower a little

early, which causes the vowel to nasalize.
We say the English vowels have nasalized allophones, phonetic variants that occur in certain environments. An allophone of the phoneme /ae/ is [, an allophone of the phoneme / is [], and both allophones occur before nasal consonants. We write the phoneme in slashes /…/ and the allophone in square brackets […].

Example Two:



Aspiration of stops.

Say the word “pin” and hold your hand about 2 inches in front of your mouth.

You will feel a puff of air. This puff is called aspiration. You can hear it’s

affect on pronunciation as a delay in the onset of the following

vowel. It is subtle but is it there.
Here’s how to write down what’s happening:



The superscript “h” stands for aspiration. All the voiceless non nasal stops appear aspirated in English








In fact, English has almost no pure voiceless stops. They are aspirated in

almost every context. One exception is after the sound “s”














 (as in in “pig sty”)


The other places where voiceless stops don’t aspirate is at the end

of the words or in front of other consonants (the “t” in “hat” and “strap”),

but don’t worry about that now. Let’s just pretend the only place you don’t get aspirated stops ios after [s].
We say the English voiceless stops have aspirated allophones. An allophone of

/p/ is [p]. An allophone of /t/ is [t]. An allophone of /k/ is [k].


Example 3

English flap rule.


We noted last week that “t” and “d” could sound an awful lot alike

in words like “writer” and “rider”







The “t” and “d” both become a sound written  which is called a flap. The

“:” represents the fact that vowel is slightly longer in “rider”.


Of course sometimes t and d don’t become flaps. When do they? They become

flaps between vowels. If we abbreviate vowel as “V” we might write this:


V __ V

V __ V


The part before the “\” tells you WHAT happens and the

part after tells you WHERE it happens.


The phonemes /t/ and /d/ both have  as an allophone.

Allophonic rules

In each of the 3 cases we’ve discussed a phoneme of English takes a different shape in a predictable environment. The environment is phonetic. We can characterize it entirely in terms of sounds. It’s not a matter of saying, it happens in this word and not

in that one. You just look at the sounds.
p  p

t  t


k  k
after anything that‘s not “s”. Similarly a vowel becomes nasalized before a nasal consonant. Again the environment is predictable and phonetic. We say there

is an allophonic rule that predicts the occurrence of the allophone.


Minimal Pairs/Contrasting Sounds
These rules are specific to English. For example, Thai does not have allophonic

aspirated stops. Why not?


The reason is that in Thai aspirating a stop can change the meaning of a word:


Voiceless

Unaspirated

Meaning

Voiceless

Aspirated

Meaning

[paa]

forest

[paa]

to split

[tam]

to pound

[tam]

to do

[kat]

to bite

[kat]

to interrupt

Pairs of words that have different meanings but differ in just one sound are called minimal pairs. Minimal pairs are used to show something: They show that the sounds the two words differ in are contrastive. That is, they can be used to make

meaningful contrasts in the language. The table above shows that aspirated versus unaspirated stops are contrastive in Thai.
When two sounds appear contrastively in the same environment that shows that that environment cannot be used to predict which of the two sounds will occur. There is

no rule in Thai like the English rule “Voiceless stops will be aspirated except after s.” In

Thai voiceless stops can occur anywhere they please and make meaningful contrasts.
Just as Thai has no phonetic environment predicting voiceless aspirated stops, so English has no word pairs that contrast a voiceless stop with a voiceless unaspirated stop.

In English, unlike Thai, that contrast is not meaningful.


This raises a question: How does a linguist tell the two kinds of situations we’ve just seen apart? On the one hand the case where a contrast between aspirated and unaspirated stops is meaningful, on the other, where the two sounds are allophones,

and there’s an allophonic rule telling you when you get which allophone.


So here’s a chain of reasoning. Pay attention:


  1. If two sounds occur in a minimal pair then we know they are contrastive.

  2. If two sounds are contrastive they MUST be different phonemes (and not allophones).

  3. If two sounds NEVER occur in a minimal pair then we have reason to suspect they might be allophones of a single phoneme. [But we can’t quite be SURE]

Here’s some definitions:



Distribution: The set of sound environments that a phoneme occurs in is called its

distribution.
Example: The distribution of the phoneme /p/ includes: 

 and so on.


Complementary: When two sets share NO members we say they

are complementary.


Complementary distribution: Two sounds are in complementary distribution

when they never occur in the same environment.


Example: The distributions of aspirated [p] and [p] (aspirated p and unaspirated

p) are complementary. [p] occurs after s and [p] occurs everywhere else.


So saying two sounds are in complementary distribution is just a way of saying they share no environments, which means they will never occur in a minimal pair.
Example: Although [p] and [p] are in complementary distribution in English,

they are not in complementary distribution in Thai. The table above shows

numerous minimal pairs,
Example: [t] and [4] are in complementary distribution. [4] occurs between

vowels. [t] never does.


Example: [ae] and [ae~] are n complementary distribution. [ae~] occurs only

before nasalized consonants. [ae] never does.


Conclusion: All allophones are in complementary distribution. Why?

Because there are allophonic rules predicting when they occur, sorting them

into separate complementary environments. Phonemes tend not to be in

complementary distribution. Why? Because they tend to contrast, meaning



they occur in the same environment. A minimal pair shows two sounds

occurring in the same environment functioning so as to contrast.
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