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  1. #1
    symaa is offline Member
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    Arrow Complementary distribution

    Hi everybody,

    I want to know what is exactly complementary distribution mean, because I found many vague definitions and explanations as a beginner.

    The one that I have in my copybook is: The two allophones are also said to be in a complementary distribution, they can be used interchangable and different environment (different places in a word )without resulting in a change in a given word meaning.


    Could you please explain to me what does it mean complementary distribution?

    All the best

  2. #2
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Any ideas or informations are welcome.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Hi, symaa.

    I hope these links help you.

    Complementary distribution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    There´s an interesting real-life analogy here: http://faculty.washington.edu/wassin...phonology1.pdf

  4. #4
    symaa is offline Member
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    Post Re: Complementary distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by mara_ce View Post
    Hi, symaa.

    I hope these links help you.

    Complementary distribution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    There´s an interesting real-life analogy here: http://faculty.washington.edu/wassin...phonology1.pdf
    Thank you very much for the link especially the second, and the example of Superman.
    I think if I am not wrong, The complementary distribution is quite similar to aspirated and anaspirated sounds, if for example/k/ /t/ /p/ are placed at the begining or before stressed syllables, they should be aspirated, but when they are placed after/s/ there is no aspiration.Am I right?

    Have a nice day,
    Last edited by symaa; 20-Jun-2011 at 15:43.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    Thank you very much for the link especially the second, especially the example of Superman.
    I think if I am not wrong ,The complementary distribution is quite similar to aspirated and anaspirated sounds, if for example/k/ /t/ /p/ are placed at the begining or before stressed syllables ,they should be aspirated, but when they are placed after/s/ there is no aspiration.Am I right?

    Have a nice day,
    That's a very good example, but 'similar' is the wrong word. Aspiration/lack of aspiration is an example of complementary distribution. Another is the clear/dark 'l' in 'leek' and 'keel'. Complementary distribution just means this: where one allophone is used (clear [I]vs[I] dark 'l', aspirated vs unaspirated stop consonant...[etc etc] the other isn't, and where the other is used the one isn't.

    (The 'k' of leek and keel is another example.)

    b

  6. #6
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Thank you sir Bob, really this Complementary distribution had caused me a headache, I spent a lot time searching for an explanation as a beginner,so my teacher did not explain it in a detailed way just few minutes!!, so for allophone he gave us only :
    /p/ [ph][p]
    /k/ [kh][k]
    /t/ [th][t]
    That's why I tought that its similar to aspirated and anaspirated sounds.


    Another is the clear/dark 'l' in 'leek' and 'keel'. Complementary distribution just means this: where one allophone is used (clear [I]vs[I] dark 'l', aspirated vs unaspirated stop consonant...[etc etc] the other isn't, and where the other is used the one isn't.

    (The 'k' of leek and keel is another example.)


    b



    Excuse me, but I am afraid that I do not get exactly your point.

    All the best for you,
    Have a nice day.
    [/COLOR]

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    "...stop consonant..."...Excuse me, but I am afraid that I do not get exactly your point. :oops...
    [p] [t] [k] [b] [d] [g] (they're the ones that occur in English); there's also the glottal stop (not phonemic in RP, but commonly heard). But the idea of aspirating a glottal stop makes my brain hurt!

    b

  8. #8
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    [p] [t] [k] [b] [d] [g] it is the same to put the sounds either between slashes or square brackets, I think slashes for sounds and square brackets for allophones?(they're the ones that occur in English); there's also the glottal stop (not phonemic in RP, but commonly heard). But the idea of aspirating a glottal stop makes my brain hurt!This is the first time that I hear that /h/ is glottal stop.

    b
    I do not know how I can thank you sir Bob for your continual help, I did not understand the whole quotation and not only the meaning of stop consonant, I know it is my fault to make it darker .

    Another is the clear/dark 'l' in 'leek' and 'keel'. Complementary distribution just means this: where one allophone is used (clear [I]vs[I] dark 'l', aspirated vs unaspirated stop consonant...[etc etc] the other isn't, and where the other is used the one isn't.

    (The 'k' of leek and keel is another example.)

    I am awafully sorry, I know that it is something irritating to ask a lot as you are volunteer teacher.


    Respectfully yours

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    ...it is the same to put the sounds either between slashes or square brackets, No I think slashes for sounds and square brackets for allophones?
    And an 'h' is emphatically not the same as a glottal stop. The only reason I mentioned the glottal stop is that whereas the other (phonemic) stops can be aspirated, I don;t see how the glottal stop can. I shouldn't have mentioned it; I just didn't want to say 'all stops can be aspirated'.

    You're right about allophones. But the phonemes of other languages could be said to be a sort of 'allophone'. The 'p' in English 'pain' isn't the same as the 'p' in French pain (it's more like the 'p' in English 'Spain' - unaspirated). I don't want to confuse you; stick to the uses of // and [] you've learnt. But by using brackets I was tring to make the point that I was only talking about the English examples.

    For "clear/dark 'l'" Google should help. Briefly, the clear 'l' is made with the front part of the tongue (the tip and the blade), and the dark 'l' is made with the edges of the back of the tongue.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 21-Jun-2011 at 12:21. Reason: Added second para - a question I'd missed.

  10. #10
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Complementary distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    And an 'h' is emphatically not the same as a glottal stop. The only reason I mentioned the glottal stop is that whereas the other (phonemic) stops can be aspirated, I don;t see how the glottal stop can. I shouldn't have mentioned it; I just didn't want to say 'all stops can be aspirated'.

    You're right about allophones. But the phonemes of other languages could be said to be a sort of 'allophone'. The 'p' in English 'pain' isn't the same as the 'p' in French pain (it's more like the 'p' in English 'Spain' - unaspirated). I don't want to confuse you / I am already confused/ ; stick to the uses of // and [] you've learnt. But by using brackets I was tring to make the point that I was only talking about the English examples.

    For "clear/dark 'l'" Google should help. Briefly, the clear 'l' is made with the front part of the tongue (the tip and the blade), and the dark 'l' is made with the edges of the back of the tongue.

    b
    Thank you very much, you are extremely helpful.
    I will ask professor googlefor more informations.
    Best regards

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