Answer the following questions:
1. what a phoneme is IN YOUR OWN WORDS. No Wiki, no close paraphrase. Use analogies from reality, like I did with the term “furniture” in class.
2. Then, give a good definition of an allophone and how it is different from a phoneme.. Talk about the phoneme /t/ and how its four allophones we talked about in class fit into the picture: why and where they occur in English words? So, think hard. Remember to use slash brackets /t/ for the phoneme and your square brackets t for the allophones.
3. Finally, define and name all the special marks we used next to the various types of “t” to describe how they are made with the mouth.
Below is the topic pasted from the book and example given by the professor:-
Phonemes Each one of these meaning-distinguishing sounds in a language is described as a phoneme . When we learn to use alphabetic writing, we are actually using the concept of the phoneme as the single stable sound type that is represented by a single written symbol. It is in this sense that the phoneme /t/ is described as a sound type, of which all the different spoken versions of t are tokens. Note that slash marks are conventionally
used to indicate a phoneme, /t/, an abstract segment, as opposed to the square brackets, as in t, used for each phonetic or physically produced segment. An essential property of a phoneme is that it functions contrastively. We know there are two phonemes /f/ and /v/ in English because they are the only basis of the contrast in meaning between the words fat and vat , or fine and vine . This contrastive property is the basic operational test for determining the phonemes that exist in a language. If we substitute one sound for another in a word and there is a change of meaning, then the two sounds represent different phonemes.
Phones and allophones:- While the phoneme is the abstract unit or sound type (in the mind), there are many different versions of that sound type regularly produced in actual speech (in the mouth). We can describe those different versions as phones . Phones are phonetic units and appear in square brackets. When we have a set of phones, all of which are versions of one phoneme, we add the prefix allo- (= one of a closely related set) and refer to them as allophones of that phoneme. For example, the phoneme /t/ can be pronounced in a number of physically different ways as phones. The t sound in the word tar is normally pronounced with a stronger puff of air than is present in the t sound in the word star . If you put the back of your hand in front of your mouth as you say tar , then star , you should be able to feel some physical evidence of aspiration (the puff of air) accompanying the t sound at the beginning of tar (but not in star ). This aspirated version is represented more precisely as t ? . Thats one phone. In the last chapter, we noted that the t sound between vowels in a word like writer often becomes a flap, which we can represent as ? . Thats another phone. We also saw that a word like butter can have a glottal stop as the middle consonant in the pronunciation, so the part written as tt may be pronounced as ? , which is yet another phone. In the pronunciation of a word like eighth (/e ? t?/), the influence of the final dental ? sound causes a dental articulation of the t sound. This can be represented more precisely as . Thats yet another phone. There are even more variations of this sound which, like t ? , ? , ? and , can be represented in a more precise way in a detailed, or narrow phonetic transcription. Because these variations are all part of one set of phones, they are referred to as allophones of the phoneme /t/, The crucial distinction between phonemes and allophones is that substituting one phoneme for another will result in a word with a different meaning (as well as a different pronunciation), but substituting allophones only results in a different (and perhaps unusual) pronunciation of the same word.
The professor gave an example in the class..
The word furniture would be phoneme. Phoneme is abstract. Its not real. If you say someone to bring me furniture then they cant. The sub category of furniture which is table, sofa, wardrobe is real and specific kind of furniture which would be allophone.
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