2 questions about phonology

1. Which of the combinations of consonants displayed in the table below commonly occur at the beginning of words of English?

Provide two examples for each box.

Second Consonant (#C_V)

[w]

[ɹ]

[l]

[n]

[s]

[t]

First Consonant (#_CV)

[s]

sweet

[swit]

[ʃ]

[m]

[k]

[t]

[p]

  1. For each permitted word-initial combination you identify, give a representative word in both its orthographic representation, as well as its phonetic transcription (you can follow the example of sweet above, demonstrating the permissibility of initial [sw]). You may copy/paste the table directly into your write-up to present your findings, using the .docx version of this handout.
  2. When you have finished preparing your chart, briefly explain the kinds of consonant combinations English allows as the onset of a syllable, in terms of the natural classes of sonorants and obstruents (2-3 sentences should suffice).

Among the set of words you provide should be a minimum of two minimal pairs (comprising two words each); identify these minimal pairs, and explain how they function as such (1-2 sentences should suffice).

If you think a consonant combination is not commonly permitted, explicitly indicate this, by writing ‘not permitted’ in the relevant cell.

Note there are four logically-possible combinations you should explicitly consider; for example, do you think sonorant + sonorant combinations are permitted in this position?

Be sure to explicitly cite data from your table to support your claims.

For the remaining three exercises (including the optional one for extra credit), the checklist below may help you keep track of your progress through the required steps of analysis.

Also, feel free to adapt the ‘Phonemic Analysis Template’ worksheet (available as a .docx and .pdf on Blackboard) for use in completing these exercises and/or preparing them for submission.

Checklist for Phonemic Analysis

2. You should make sure your accounts of Standard Spanish [d] and [ð], German [x] and [ç], and Greek [k], [x], [c], and [ç] (if you complete the extra credit) include the following components:

Standard Spanish

German

(Greek)

(1)

Specific distributions with relevant data points

_______

_______

_______

(2)

Generalizations using natural classes

_______

_______

_______

(3)

Classification and explanation of the relationship

(complementary or overlapping distribution)

_______

_______

_______

(4)

Analysis:

– Classification of allophones into phonemes

(same or separate)

_______

_______

_______

– Choice of phoneme(s), and explanation thereof

_______

_______

_______

– Rule(s) (in formal notation and prose, and named,

and, if recognizable, type)

_______

_______

_______

– Phonological derivations of the requested forms

_______

_______

_______


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