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Thread: Linguistics

  1. #1
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    Default Linguistics

    Hello,
    My name is Mironek and I need your help with couple of things, one of them are allophones - what are they exactly and could you provide me with some good examples, because I am confused.
    I also do not understand complementary distribution.
    Thank you,
    Confused I.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Linguistics

    In English, for example, the phoneme /p/ has two allophones (note, the term allophone means other sound, from the Greek prefix allo- meaning other, and the word phone meaning sound). So, if /p/ has two allophones, it means it has two sounds.

    Here are its two sounds, its allophones:

    aspirated pHit
    unaspirated spit

    Aspirated, [pH], means a tiny puff of air is released as you pronounce, as in the word pit. Unaspirated, [p], means that a tiny puff of air isn't released at all, as in the word spit:

    aspirated [pH]it
    unaspirated s[p]it

    Test it! Hold a piece of paper up to your lips as you say pit. The paper should move because [pH] is aspirated. Now say spit (without pronouncing final [t]). The paper shouldn't move; [p] isn't aspirated; it doesn't have a tiny puff of air. In fact, that [p] almost sounds like [b]; spit ~ sbit;

    The sounds (phones) [pH] and [p] are in complementary distribution: they never occur in the same place. Test it!

    delete [s]: s[p]it => [pH]it (aspirated)
    add [s]: [pH]it => s[p]it (unaspirated)

    Delete [s] and [p] becomes [pH]; add [s] and [pH] becomes [p]. That's complementary distribution. [pH] and [p] never occur in the same environment. Switch the allophones, as shown below, and the result is a non-native pronunciation:

    [p]it (unaspirated)
    s[pH]it (aspirated)

    In short, allophones are different sounds of one and the same phoneme, and they never occur in the same environment. If you try to place them in the same environment, that is, if you pronounce spit as s[pH]it or pit as [p]it, it won't change the meaning of the word (that is, they are not distinctive like [p] and [b]), but the pronunciation will flag you as a non-native speaker, because allophones are the phonetics of a language: in English [p] and [pH] come from /p/. But that's just one language. In Chinese, however, [p] and [pH] are not allophones of /p/. They are distinctive. They can change the meaning of a word. In that language, /p/ and /pH/ are phonemes. It doesn't matter where they occur.

    Other forms of allo-, allomorphs (morph: a minimal meaningful unit), as in the plural suffix -s:

    cats, cat[s]
    dogs, dog[z]

    The allomorph [s] occurs after voiceless sounds, and the allomorph [z] occurs after voiced sounds:

    cats, cat[z]
    dogs, dog[z]

    Allo-forms tell us that morphemes and phonemes can change pronunciation depending on their environment.

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    Default Re: Linguistics

    See also Phonemes and allophones and allophones occurring in complementary distribution in German, German phonology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Default Re: Linguistics

    Thank you guys.

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    Default German Language

    Hello Guys,
    I don't know if I am posting in the right place!?
    Does someone know about Graduate Program (online Program) in German Language and Literature leading to Masters Degree?
    Please advice.
    Thank you.
    M.

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    Default German

    I do not know if someone responded to my previous inquiry about an MA in German Language and Literature. Could you please advice me how do I go about finding out the responds to the the postings from the past?
    I need a bit more time to figure out how this blackboard works.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you...

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    Default Re: German

    Use search; enter keywords on topics that interest you: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/search.php

    You can also try the tags: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/tags/

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