Author Topic: Allophone rules  (Read 4382 times)

Offline DavidShan

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Allophone rules
« on: October 07, 2014, 07:53:46 AM »
Hi guys, I have some problems with this question in my assignment.

Below are some words from Language T, transcribed phonetically. Consider the phones [r], (s], [l] and [ʃ]. How many phonemes do they represent?   
(i) Provide the appropriate rule or rules describing the allophones for each phoneme in your analysis; (ii)  If there is more than one analysis possible, explain why one analysis is more plausible than another.  Recall the principles of allophonic conditioning we have discussed in the lectures. 

rumi ‘red’                    pul ‘water’             ratio  ‘radio’
sod ‘hand’                   ʃiham ‘play’             os  ‘upper’
ilkom  ‘eight’               ʃidho ‘signal’           sosul  ‘novel’
irɯpi ‘name’                sul ‘city’                 ʃimsap   ‘thirteen’
paʃi ‘delicious’              sok ‘colour’            giri   ‘road’
mal ‘foot’                    imalsa ‘hair’           sɔp   ‘sack’
sarap ‘person’             ʃilso ‘mistake’         talta   ‘sweet’


I am really struggling with this question because I'm not even sure what is the first step that I have to do to solve it. I have listed the environments of all 4 phones. And I'm guessing (s] and [r] is contrastive because of the example [ratio] and [sarap]. (They both share #_a). Now since (s] and [ʃ] are both fractives so they could both be allophones of a phoneme? If that's the case, [r] and [l] are allophone of another phoneme? Is it correct? I think the argument is not supportive enough though.

Can anyone give me some clues of what I can do to solve it?

Thanks a bunch!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 07:55:19 AM by DavidShan »

Offline MalFet

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 08:35:47 AM »
Among [r], (s], [l] and [ʃ], you need to figure out which are in complementary distribution and which are contrastive. You're on the right track with ratio and sarap. Now just do that for the rest.

Offline freknu

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 08:37:49 AM »
From what I can see I'd pay very close attention to:

1. what vowel follows a consonant
2. is a consonant followed by a vowel or a consonant
3. position: initial, medial, final

Offline Daniel

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 09:58:45 AM »
David, we're happy to help, but we have a rule here that we won't do homework for you. Instead, if you can ask a specific question or one in general not about your specific assignment, we can help with that.

Another reason not to post the whole question is that then it gets indexed by search engines, and professors don't like it when their questions are available online, especially not when they have answers with them.

Again, you're very welcome to ask questions here, but focus on either very specific details, or general questions not specific to your homework.
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Offline DavidShan

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2014, 05:57:56 AM »
Hi guys,

Below are the environments that I have found.

r /
#_a
#_u
i_ɯ
a_a
i_i

s /
#_a
#_o
#_u
#_ɔ
m_a
o_u
o_#
l_o

l /
a_#
a_t
a_s
i_k
i_s
s_p
u_#

ʃ /
#_i

Now I can only show that r and s are contrastive because they both share #_a and I can't find any other else. I can either say [ʃ] could be complementary simultaneously to [r], (s] or [l]. Or [l] could be complementary to (r], (s] or [ʃ], but that just doesn't make sense. They could be anything? Sorry for my bad explanation but I hope you get what I mean.

I'm sorry for asking about the assignment again but I really need help with it because I have lost my track. I promise this is the last one I ask. (or you can just tell me some clues so you aren't 'doing' it for me)

Offline freknu

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2014, 06:15:49 AM »
It's not if you ask that is a problem, it's what you ask :)

As for the environments:

  • [r] and [l]: what can you say about position?
  • [r] and [l]: what can you say about surrounding sounds?
  • [ s] and [ʃ]: what can you say about surrounding sounds?

Offline DavidShan

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 01:34:45 AM »
[r] and [l]: [r] are initial and middle, while [l] appears everywhere
[r] and [l]: [r] is always followed by vowels (a, u and ɯ), while [l] is elsewhere
[ s] and [ʃ]: [ʃ] is always followed by i, while [ s] is elsewhere

So from the above I can conclude that [r] and [l] is the allophone of a phoneme, and [ s] and [ʃ] is the allophone of another phoneme? Is it correct? ???

Offline Daniel

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Re: Allophone rules
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 01:59:29 AM »
David, we aren't going to give you the answers to all of the questions. They shouldn't be posted publicly either. Students often search for homework online, and this defeats the point of giving out problems for practice.

These aren't especially difficult-- in fact, they're exactly the level right level for someone in a class to learn how to do this type of problem. The reason they were assigned to you is for you to figure out how to do them, not so that you can acquire the answers.

As I said above, you may ask:
1. General questions about the field.
2. Very, very specific questions about an assignment, such as "why was this particular notation used for this vowel in this example?".


If you want more hands on help with your homework, I suggest:
1. Talk to your instructor(s). We've all done that when we need help, and your instructor will know just how much help is reasonable for the assignment.
2. Talk to your classmates. Unless there is a specific ban on talking to classmates (for example, during a takehome exam), this is a good way to work through the problem with others who are learning. Form a study group and meet to discuss the assignments. You're not the only one in the class having trouble.
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