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|Sound change and alternation|
Assimilation is a sound change in which some phonemes (typically consonants or vowels) change to be more similar to other nearby sounds. It is a common type of phonological process across languages. Assimilation can occur either within a word or between words. It occurs in normal speech, and it becomes more common in more rapid speech. In some cases, assimilation causes the sound spoken to differ from the normal pronunciation in isolation, such as the prefix in- of English input pronounced with phonetic [m] rather than [n]. In other cases, the change is accepted as canonical for that word or phrase, especially if it is recognized in standard spelling: implant pronounced with [m], composed historically of in + plant.
English "handbag" (canonically // ) is often pronounced // in rapid speech. This is because the [ m ] and [ b ] sounds are both bilabial consonants and their places of articulation are similar; whereas the sequence [ d ]-[ b ] has different places but similar manner of articulation (voiced stop) and is sometimes elided, causing the canonical [n] phoneme to sometimes assimilate to [m] before the [b]. The pronunciations // or // are, however, common in normal speech. By contrast, the word "cupboard", historically a compound of "cup" // and "board" // , is always pronounced // and never * // , even in slow, highly articulated speech.
As in these examples, sound segments typically assimilate to a following sound,but they may also assimilate to a preceding one. While assimilation most commonly occurs between immediately adjacent sounds, it may occur between sounds separated by others.
Assimilation can be synchronic—that is, an active process in a language at a given point in time—or diachronic—that is, a historical sound change.
A related process is coarticulation, where one segment influences another to produce an allophonic variation, such as vowels becoming nasalized before nasal consonants (/n, m, ŋ/) when the soft palate (velum) opens prematurely or /b/ becoming labialized as in "boot" [bʷuːt̚] or "ball" [bʷɔːɫ] in some accents. This article describes both processes under the term assimilation.
The physiological or psychological mechanisms of coarticulation are unknown; coarticulation is often loosely referred to as a segment being "triggered" by an assimilatory change in another segment. In assimilation, the phonological patterning of the language, discourse styles and accent are some of the factors contributing to changes observed.
There are four configurations found in assimilations:
Although all four occur, changes in regard to a following adjacent segment account for virtually all assimilatory changes (and most of the regular ones).[ citation needed ] Assimilations to an adjacent segment are vastly more frequent than assimilations to a non-adjacent one. These radical asymmetries might contain hints about the mechanisms involved, but they are not obvious.
If a sound changes with reference to a following segment, it is traditionally called "regressive assimilation"; changes with reference to a preceding segment are traditionally called "progressive".Many find these terms confusing, as they seem to mean the opposite of the intended meaning. Accordingly, a variety of alternative terms have arisen—not all of which avoid the problem of the traditional terms. Regressive assimilation is also known as right-to-left, leading, or anticipatory assimilation. Progressive assimilation is also known as left-to-right, perseveratory, preservative, lagging or lag assimilation. The terms anticipatory and lag are used here.
Occasionally, two sounds (invariably adjacent) may influence one another in reciprocal assimilation. When such a change results in a single segment with some of the features of both components, it is known as coalescence or fusion.
Assimilation occurs in two different types: complete assimilation, in which the sound affected by assimilation becomes exactly the same as the sound causing assimilation, and partial assimilation, in which the sound becomes the same in one or more features, but remains different in other features.
Tonal languages may exhibit tone assimilation (tonal umlaut, in effect), while sign languages also exhibit assimilation when the characteristics of neighbouring cheremes may be mixed.
Anticipatory assimilation to an adjacent segment [hæŋkɚtʃif], handbag in rapid speech is pronounced [hæmbæɡ]).is the most common type of assimilation by far, and typically has the character of a conditioned sound change, i.e., it applies to the whole lexicon or part of it. For example, in English, the place of articulation of nasals assimilates to that of a following stop (handkerchief is pronounced
In Italian, voiceless stops assimilated historically to a following /t/:
Italian otto, letto and sotto are examples of historical restructuring, i.e.otto and letto no longer contain /kt/ pronounced [tt], and sotto is no longer the structure /bt/ subject to the partial assimilation of devoicing of /b/ and full assimilation to produce [tt]. Rather, over time phonetic [tt] as a frequent assimilation of /kt/ and /bt/ was reinterpreted as reflecting /tt/. Today the structural sequence /kt/ is all but absent in Italian, since all items in popular speech underwent the same restructuring, /kt/ > /tt/. On the rare occasion that Italian /kt/ is encountered, however, the same assimilation that triggered the restructuring can occur at the phonetic level. For example, the medical term ictus 'stroke', a relatively recent direct borrowing from Latin, is usually pronounced [ˈiktus] in deliberate speech, but [ˈittus] is frequent in more casual registers.
Anticipatory assimilation at a distance is rare, and usually merely an accident in the history of a specific word.
However, the diverse and common assimilations known as umlaut, wherein the phonetics of a vowel are influenced by the phonetics of a vowel in a following syllable, are both commonplace and in the nature of sound laws. Such changes abound in the histories of Germanic languages, Romance, Insular Celtic, Albanian, and many others.
Examples: in the history of English, a back vowel becomes front if a high front vowel or semivowel (*i, ī, j) is in the following syllable, and a front vowel becomes higher, if it is not already high:
Contrariwise, Proto-Germanic *i and *u > e, o respectively before *a in the following syllable (Germanic a-mutation), although this had already happened significantly earlier:
Another example of a regular change is the sibilant assimilation of Sanskrit, wherein if there were two different sibilants as the onset of successive syllables, a plain /s/ was always replaced by the palatal /ɕ/:
Lag assimilation to an adjacent segmentis tolerably common, and often has the nature of a sound law.
Proto-Indo-European *-ln- becomes -ll- in both Germanic and Italic. Thus *ḱl̥nis "hill" > PreLat. *kolnis > Lat. collis; > PGmc *hulliz > OE hyll/hyll/ > hill. The enclitic form of English is, eliding the vowel, becomes voiceless when adjacent to a word-final voiceless non-sibilant. Thus it is[ɪtɪz], that is[ðætɪz] > it's[ɪts], that's[ðæts].
In Polish, /v/ regularly becomes /f/ after a voiceless obstruent:
Because of a similar process, Proto-Indo-Iranian *ćw became sp in Avestan. E.g. Old Avestan aspa 'horse' corresponds to Sanskrit aśva อศฺว.
Lag assimilation at a distance is rare, and usually sporadic (except when part of something bigger, as in the Sanskrit śaśa- example, above): Greek leirion > Lat. līlium "lily".
In vowel harmony, a vowel's phonetics is often influenced by that of a preceding vowel. Thus, for example, most Finnish case markers come in two flavors, with /ɑ/ (written a) and /æ/ (written ä) depending on whether the preceding vowel is back or front. However, it is difficult to know where and how in the history of Finnish an actual assimilatory change took place. The distribution of pairs of endings in Finnish is just that, and is not in any sense the operation of an assimilatory innovation (though probably the outbirth of such an innovation in the past).
Proto-Italic *dw > Latin b, as in *dwís "twice" > Lat. bis. Also, Old Latin duellum > Latin bellum "war".
Proto-Celtic *sw shows up in Old Irish in initial position as s, thus *swesōr "sister" > OIr siur*/ʃuɾ/, *spenyo- > *swinea- > *swine "nipple" > sine. However, when preceded by a vowel, the *sw sequence becomes /f/: má fiur "my sister", bó tri-fne "a cow with three teats". There is also the famous change in P-Celtic of *kʷ -> p. Proto-Celtic also underwent the change *gʷ -> b.
In phonetics, rhotic consonants, or "R-like" sounds, are liquid consonants that are traditionally represented orthographically by symbols derived from the Greek letter rho, including ⟨R⟩, ⟨r⟩ in the Latin script and ⟨Р⟩, ⟨p⟩ in the Cyrillic script. They are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by upper- or lower-case variants of Roman ⟨R⟩, ⟨r⟩:, ,, ,, ,, and.
In Historical linguistics, sound change is the change of a language's pronunciation over time. Sound change can consist of the replacement of one speech sound by another, or a more general change to the speech sounds that exist such as merging together two sounds or creating a new sound. Speech sounds can be completely lost of the affected sound, or a new sound could be created a place where there had been none. Sound changes can be environmentally conditioned, meaning that the change only occurs in a some sound environments, whereas in other environments the same speech sound is not affected by the change.
The Germanic umlaut is a type of linguistic umlaut in which a back vowel changes to the associated front vowel (fronting) or a front vowel becomes closer to (raising) when the following syllable contains, , or. It took place separately in various Germanic languages starting around AD 450 or 500 and affected all of the early languages except Gothic. An example of the resulting vowel alternation is the English plural foot ~ feet.
Proto-Germanic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.
In linguistics, lenition is a sound change that alters consonants, making them more sonorous. The word lenition itself means "softening" or "weakening". Lenition can happen both synchronically and diachronically. Lenition can involve such changes as voicing a voiceless consonant, causing a consonant to relax occlusion, to lose its place of articulation, or even causing a consonant to disappear entirely.
The phonology of the Hungarian language is notable for its process of vowel harmony, the frequent occurrence of geminate consonants and the presence of otherwise uncommon palatal stops.
In phonology, epenthesis means the addition of one or more sounds to a word, especially to the interior of a word. The word epenthesis comes from epi- "in addition to" and en "in" and thesis "putting". Epenthesis may be divided into two types: excrescence for the addition of a consonant, and for the addition of a vowel, svarabhakti or alternatively anaptyxis. The opposite process, where one or more sounds are removed, is referred to as elision.
In phonology, particularly within historical linguistics, dissimilation is a phenomenon whereby similar consonants or vowels in a word become less similar. In English, dissimilation is particularly common with liquid consonants such as /r/ and /l/ when they occur in a sequence.
In English, the digraph ⟨th⟩ represents in most cases one of two different phonemes: the voiced dental fricative and the voiceless dental fricative (thing). More rarely, it can stand for or the cluster (eighth). In compound words, ⟨th⟩ may be a consonant sequence rather than a digraph, as in the of lighthouse.
In historical linguistics, vowel breaking, vowel fracture, or diphthongization is the sound change of a monophthong into a diphthong or triphthong.
The Germanic spirant law, or Primärberührung, is a specific historical instance in linguistics of dissimilation that occurred as part of an exception of Grimm's law in Proto-Germanic, the ancestor of Germanic languages.
Coarticulation in its general sense refers to a situation in which a conceptually isolated speech sound is influenced by, and becomes more like, a preceding or following speech sound. There are two types of coarticulation: anticipatory coarticulation, when a feature or characteristic of a speech sound is anticipated (assumed) during the production of a preceding speech sound; and carryover or perseverative coarticulation, when the effects of a sound are seen during the production of sound(s) that follow. Many models have been developed to account for coarticulation. They include the look-ahead, articulatory syllable, time-locked, window, coproduction and articulatory phonology models.
Like many other languages, English has wide variation in pronunciation, both historically and from dialect to dialect. In general, however, the regional dialects of English share a largely similar phonological system. Among other things, most dialects have vowel reduction in unstressed syllables and a complex set of phonological features that distinguish fortis and lenis consonants.
The pronunciation of the digraph ⟨wh⟩ in English has changed over time, and still varies today between different regions and accents. It is now most commonly pronounced, the same as a plain initial ⟨w⟩, although some dialects, particularly those of Scotland, Ireland, and the Southern United States, retain the traditional pronunciation, generally realized as, a voiceless "w" sound. The process by which the historical has become in most modern varieties of English is called the wine–whine merger. It is also referred to as glide cluster reduction.
This article is a technical description of the phonetics and phonology of Korean. Unless otherwise noted, statements in this article refer to South Korean standard language based on the Seoul dialect.
In historical linguistics, phonological change is any sound change that alters the distribution of phonemes in a language. In other words, a language develops a new system of oppositions among its phonemes. Old contrasts may disappear, new ones may emerge, or they may simply be rearranged. Sound change may be an impetus for changes in the phonological structures of a language. One process of phonological change is rephonemicization, in which the distribution of phonemes changes by either addition of new phonemes or a reorganization of existing phonemes. Mergers and splits are types of rephonemicization and are discussed further below.
Kluge's law is a controversial Proto-Germanic sound law formulated by Friedrich Kluge. It purports to explain the origin of the Proto-Germanic long consonants *kk, *tt, and *pp as originating in the assimilation of *n to a preceding voiced plosive consonant, under the condition that the *n was part of a suffix which was stressed in the ancestral Proto-Indo-European (PIE). The name "Kluge's law" was coined by Kauffmann (1887) and revived by Frederik Kortlandt (1991). As of 2006, this law has not been generally accepted by historical linguists.
In phonetics and historical linguistics, fusion, or coalescence, is a sound change where two or more segments with distinctive features merge into a single segment. This can occur both on consonants and in vowels. A word like educate is one that may exhibit fusion, e.g. or. A merger between two segments can also occur between word boundaries, an example being the phrase got ya being pronounced like gotcha. Most cases of fusion lead to allophonic variation, though some sequences of segments may lead to wholly distinct phonemes.
In phonology, voicing is a sound change where a voiceless consonant becomes voiced due to the influence of its phonological environment; shift in the opposite direction is referred to as devoicing or desonorization. Most commonly, the change is a result of sound assimilation with an adjacent sound of opposite voicing, but it can also occur word-finally or in contact with a specific vowel.
Hittite phonology is the description of the reconstructed phonology or pronunciation of the Hittite language. Because Hittite as a spoken language is extinct, thus leaving no living daughter languages, and no contemporary descriptions of the pronunciation are known, little can be said with certainty about the phonetics and the phonology of the language. Some conclusions can be made, however, by noting its relationship to the other Indo-European languages, by studying its orthography and by comparing loanwords from nearby languages.