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Chapter 03

Study guide for Chapter 03: Phonology

Be sure you understand and can explain the following terms:

Phoneme Basic allophone / underlying phoneme
Allophone Surface allophone Minimal pair/set
Near minimal pair/set Complementary distribution Contrastive distribution
Free variation Natural class Word-initial, word-final
Phonological rule Phonological process Allomorph
Assimilation Vowel reduction Nasalization
Palatalization Dissimilation Insertion
Deletion Metathesis Fortition
Lenition Perceptual salience Articulatory effort

At the end of this unit, you should be able to perform the following tasks:

  • Identify and describe natural classes of sounds, when given an inventory of sounds from a language

  • Come up with minimal pairs to illustrate the phonemic status of sounds in English

  • Find minimal pairs in a data set

  • Given data, determine whether sounds are in contrastive distribution, complementary distribution, or free variation

  • Concisely describe the environments in which complementary allophones occur

  • Perform phonemic analysis: Examine a data set from a language you know nothing about, and by observing the distribution of sounds, determine which are phonemes and which are allophones.  You should be able to justify your answer (say why you are right) and you should be able to write a clear, correct, and unambiguous rule

  • Identify phonological processes when given either: (a) data that illustrate processes; or rules that succinctly represent processes

  • Identify different allomorphs of a morpheme and name the phonological processes that give rise to their variant shapes

  • Explain how the dual forces of articulatory effort and need for perceptual salience affect phonological patterns

  • Discuss functional and phonetic reasons for allophones and allomorphs

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