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4.8: Problems

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  • Page ID
    8067
  • Phonetic Contexts and Assimilation

    1. English vowels in most dialects have various possible degrees of length. In the following words, relatively long variants of the vowels are indicated with a following [:]. Based on these examples, say what the phonetic context is for the long allophone of English vowels.
      1. hat [hæt]
      2. had [hæ:d]
      3. gas [gæs]
      4. jazz [jæ:z]
      5. mate [met]
      6. made [me:d]
      7. roast [rost]
      8. rose [ro:z]
      9. hoop [hup]
      10. tube [tu:b]
      11. buck [bʌk]
      12. bug [bʌ:g]
    2. The Japanese phoneme /s/ has two allophones: [s] and [š]. Based on the following words, say what the phonetic contexts for the two allophones are.
      1. [saya] 'pod'
      2. [kasa] 'umbrella'
      3. [senkyo] 'election'
      4. [mise] 'store'
      5. [sono] 'that'
      6. [heso] 'navel'
      7. [suši] 'sushi'
      8. [hanasu] 'speak'
      9. [šiku] 'spread'
      10. [šima] 'island'
      11. [šite] 'doing'
      12. [kuši] 'skewer'
      13. [sašimi] 'sashimi'
      14. [meši] 'rice'
      15. [sasemašita] 'caused'
    3. In Modern English, as you know, the fricatives [f, v, θ, ð, s, z] are all separate phonemes. But in Old English, although all of these phones occurred, they made up only three phonemes, each with a voiceless and a voiced allophone: [f, v], [s, z], [θ, ð]. The voiceless allophones are the more general (default) forms. Given the following words, (i) say what the phonetic context for the voiced allophones is, and (ii) say how the change from voiceless to voiced in this context is an example of assimilation. Hint: the context includes both what precedes and what follows the consonants. ([:] indicates vowel length, and phonetic details of vowels are not indicated because they are irrelevant.)
      1. [fæst] 'firm'
      2. [full] 'very'
      3. [æfter] 'after'
      4. [klif] 'cliff'
      5. [heəvon] 'sky'
      6. [seva] 'mind'
      7. [hævde] 'had'
      8. [hweərvan] 'return'
      9. [æ:vre] 'always'
      10. [sunu] 'son'
      11. [la:st] 'track'
      12. [hu:s] 'house'
      13. [hors] 'horse'
      14. [ræ:zan] 'to attack'
      15. [i:zern] 'iron'
      16. [ræ:zde] 'attacked'
      17. [bizgu] 'occupation'
      18. [θæ:əw] 'custom'
      19. [wraθ] 'angry'
      20. [so:θ] 'true'
      21. [θiyeθ] 'receives'
      22. [kweðan] 'to say'
      23. [swi:ðre] 'right hand'
      24. [wraðu] 'support'
      25. [furðor] 'further'
    4. The following words are from one dialect of Tzeltal. ['b] is a voiced glottalized bilabial stop, roughly a [b] accompanied by a glottal stop. Recall that [t'], [p'], and [k'] represent voiceless ejective (glottalized) stops.
      1. [bi] 'what'
      2. [bu t'il] 'as'
      3. [hba] 'myself'
      4. [šbahth] 'goes'
      5. [sba] 'him/herself'
      6. [t'uhbil] 'beautiful'
      7. [ilbil] 'seen'
      8. [tahb] 'twenty'
      9. [ti'bal] 'meat'
      10. [ho'bel] 'San Cristóbal' (a city)
      11. [ma'ba] 'not'
      12. [ča'b] 'honey'
      13. [haye'b] 'how many'
      14. [tuth] 'small'
      15. [tulel] 'to harvest'
      16. [htath] 'my father'
      17. [čitam] 'pig'
      18. [path] 'back'
      19. [nahth] 'tall'
      20. [sith] 'fruit'
      21. [t'ut'] 'greedy'
      22. [t'anal] 'heaped'
      23. [t'ulel] 'to pour'
      24. [yut'il] 'inside'
      25. [naht'] 'long'
      26. [path] 'back'
      27. [pohph] 'mat'
      28. [spuy] 'his snail'
      29. [hpikh] '8000'
      30. [k'opoh] 'spoke'
      31. [sp'uy] 'squashed'
      32. [p'ihp'inel] 'to spread'
      33. [snop'] 'seized'
      34. [lap'ap'] 'sticky'
      35. [hp'itp'on] 'throbbing'
      1. The Tzeltal phoneme /b/ has two allophones, [b] and ['b]. Using the words above, which are representative of the contexts in which the allophones occur, say what the complementary distribution of the allophones is.
      2. The Tzeltal phoneme /t/ has two allophones, [t] and [th]. Using the words above, which are representative of the contexts in which the allophones occur, say what the complementary distribution of the allophones is.
    5. Recall that the Spanish phonemes /b/ and /g/ each have two allophones, stops ([b] and [g]) and approximants ([β] and γ) and that the stops are used when the consonant begins a word after a pause. But they are also used when these consonants follow a nasal consonant. In fact if we look at a lot of Spanish words in context, we see that the only nasal consonant that occurs before /b/ is [m], and the only nasal consonant that occurs before /g/ is [ŋ]. In other words these sequences are possible: [mb], [ŋg], and these are not: [mβ], [nb], [ng], [nγ], [ŋγ]. Some words ending in nasals even change their pronunciation to maintain these constraints. So consider the words un and con, which normally end in a dental nasal [n̪]. When they are followed by /b/ or /g/, however, they take the form of [m] or [ŋ], for example, un vaso [um'baso] 'a glass', con gusto[koŋ'gusto] 'with pleasure'. Explain what is going on, that is, why the nasal consonant changes and why /b/ and /g/ are not realized as approximants after nasals. Your explanation should be in terms of assimilation.

    Distribution of Phones

    1. In addition to the voiced stops /b/, /d/, and /g/, the voiced fricative /z/, and the nasals /m/, /n/, and /ŋ/, Lingala has a set of prenasalized voiced stops and fricatives, that is, stops that begin with nasalization. I'll write them with a superscript nasal consonant symbol preceding the stop symbol, for example, /mb/ for the voiced bilabial stop beginning with nasalization and bilabial closure ([m]). The prenasalized stops that occur in all dialects of Lingala are /mb/, /nd/, /nz/, and /ŋg/.
      1. Say why you think these are the only prenasalized stops and fricatives that occur and not, for example, /mz/ or /ŋd/ or /nb/. 
      2. Given the following words, say how you know that (i) [b] and [mb] belong to separate phonemes, (ii) [m] and [mb] belong to separate phonemes, (iii) [n] and [nd] belong to separate phonemes, (iv) [g] and [ŋg] belong to separate phonemes. Recall that the best way to establish that two phones belong to separate phonemes is to find a minimal pair for them. ([´] over a vowel marks a high tone; low tone is unmarked.)
        1. [kozimba] 'to trick'
        2. [mŋgu] 'fast'
        3. [béŋga] 'call!'
        4. [gúmbá] 'fold!'
        5. [kozima] 'to be extinguished'
        6. [núka] 'gather'
        7. [mŋga] 'vocation'
        8. [ndúka] 'dam'
        9. [ndáko] 'house'
        10. [koŋgala] 'to be wild'
        11. [ŋmbá] 'spleen'
    2. Old English had both short and long low front vowels, [æ] and [æ:]. From the following examples, say how you can know that these two phones belong to different phonemes.
      1. [sæ:] 'sea'
      2. [θæ:r] 'there'
      3. [æ:t] 'food'
      4. [mæ:st] 'most'
      5. [græ:y] 'gray'
      6. [dræ:van] 'to drive'
      7. [klæ:ne] 'clean'
      8. [bæk] 'back'
      9. [æt] 'at'
      10. [wæter] 'water'
      11. [fæstan] 'fasten'
      12. [mæst] 'mast'
      13. [næyl] 'nail'
      14. [hwæt] 'what'
    3. In some accents of southeastern England, the tense (long) vowels include /ʊu/, /u:/ (a long rounded, high, central vowel), and /ʌu/. From the following examples, say how you know these are separate phonemes in this accent. Note: they do not correspond directly to phonemes in other accents such as General American.
      1. moan [mʊun]
      2. tow [tʊu]
      3. nose [nʊuz]
      4. sole [sʊul]
      5. mown [mʌun]
      6. soul [sʌul]
      7. knows [nʌuz]
      8. toe [tʌu]
      9. news [nu:z]
      10. moon [mu:n]
      11. two [tu:]
      12. soon [su:n]
    4. In sign languages the main dimensions along which syllables differ are handshape, location (the place on the body or in space where the sign is made), movement (the motion of the articulators in space), and orientation (the direction that the palm "points"). Given the following ASL signs, say how you know that location and movement are contrastive dimensions in ASL.
    'airplane'
    'dry'
    'fly (airplane)'
    'hamburger'
    'massage'
    'piano'
    'summer'
    'worthless'
    1. Below are some words from Argentine Spanish containing the phones [s] and [h]. (Each has a different meaning, but the meanings are left off because they might make it easy for students who know Spanish.) Syllable boundaries are marked with a space, and [x] represents a voiceless velar fricative. Based on these words only, are these two sounds in complementary or overlapping distribution in the language? If the distributions are complementary, say what the contexts for each phone are. If the distributions are overlapping, say how you know. (Hint: [h] is the more restricted phone.) 

      English examples:
      • [ph] (aspirated, voiceless bilabial stop), [p] — complementary, [ph]: at the beginning of a stressed syllable, [p] elsewhere
      • [s], [š] — overlapping, sip/ship is a minimal pair
        1. [sa 'lar]
        2. ['ka sah]
        3. [soy]
        4. ['se so]
        5. ['syen]
        6. ['swer te]
        7. ['swa reh]
        8. [gon 'sa leh]
        9. [dye si 'sye te]
        10. [rre 'swel to]
        11. ['xwi syo]
        12. [xweh]
        13. ['ka xah]
        14. ['fyeh tah]
        15. ['xeh to]
        16. [pah]
        17. [suh]
    2. In Amharic, consonants can be simple, for example, [t] and [m], or long, for example, [tt] and [mm]. Given the following words, say whether consonant length is a contrastive dimension in Amharic, and explain how you know.
      1. [yɪmɛtal] 'he hits'
      2. [mɛtta] 'he hit'
      3. [mɛla] 'scheme'
      4. [tɛdɛrrɛgɛ] 'it was done'
      5. [bɛrr] 'door'
      6. [nɛgɛ] 'tomorrow'
      7. [mɛlla] 'it got full'
      8. [nɛgga] 'it dawned'
      9. [yɪmmɛttal] 'he got hit'
      10. [zɛr] 'seed'
      11. [k'ɛllɛlɛ] 'it got easy'
    3. Amharic /b/ has two allophones, [b] and [β] (a voiced bilabial fricative). Given the following words, which are representative of words containing this phoneme, say what the complementary distribution of these allophones is. (Remember from the last problem that consonant length is contrastive in Amharic.)
      1. [laβ] 'sweat'
      2. [rɛhaβ] 'hunger'
      3. [nɛβɪr] 'leopard'
      4. [nɛbbɛre] 'was'
      5. [bɪrd] 'cold'
      6. [bal] 'husband'
      7. [bɛlla] 'he (it) ate'
      8. [tɛβɛlla] 'he (it) was eaten'
      9. [kɪβɪr] 'honor'
      10. [tɛβabbɛru] 'they were united'
      11. [aβro] 'together'
      12. [gɛβs] 'barley'
      13. [wɪβɛt] 'beauty'
      14. [tɛsɛbbɛrɛbbɛt] 'it was broken by it'
      15. [kɛβt] 'livestock'
      16. [t'ɪβɛβ] 'wisdom'
      17. [t'ɛbbaβ] 'narrow'
      18. [ambɛssa] 'lion'
      19. [arba] 'forty'
      20. [albɛlam] 'I don't eat'
    4. In Tzeltal /t/ (with the context-sensitive allophones [t] and [th]) and /t'/ ([t']) are separate phonemes. Say how you can know this from the words in problem 4 in 4.8.1 above.
    5. In Tzeltal /p/ (with the context-sensitive allophones [p] and [ph]) and /p'/ ([p']) are separate phonemes. Say how you can know this from the words in problem 4 in 4.8.1 above.