One thought on “Phonetics and Phonology (Isaac Eaton, 9/30)

  1. Anonymous – Not to argue with your professor (and I am cetarinly no expert), but during my MA program in linguistics I never heard an analysis of contractions that presented the phonetic changes as allomorphy. SIL International’s Glossary of Linguistic Terms defines an allomorph as one of two or more complementary morphs which manifest a morpheme in its different phonological or morphological environments.With allomorphy, I have always understood the phonological and morphological environments to be limited to the words in which they appear.To me, the phrase do not contains two separate free lexical morphemes and when they are contracted it is like combining the two lexical morphemes into one phonetic form. Based on the broad phonetic transcriptions I presented, I would say there is deletion and assimilation through contraction but not a different form of one morpheme that would be considered allomorphy.The most common type of allomorphy in English involves plural and past tense suffixes, for example; the past tense ed suffix can be phonetically realized as /t/, /d/ or / əd/. The example you have given comparing photograph /fotogre6f/ to photography /fotɑgrɑfi/ is an example of root allomorphy (or stem allomorphy, depending on whom you ask) that is similar to hymn /him/ versus hymnal /himnəl/.Regardless of whether or not the act of contracting is considered a form of allomorphy, I would still regard the phenomenon I have described as a different matter. As a matter of fact, upon further thought, I believe it involves more than just phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax; it also involves psycholinguistics. The phenomenon involves the process the brain is undergoing as it chooses initially to verbalize the contraction but switches midstream to an altered, un-contracted form of the initial phrase.

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