(Not-)Allophone phonemes in languages. ([b g d v] becoming [β γ δ (vau)])

Demurral

Senior Member
BCN
Catalan, Spanish
did not know where to put this kind of question...so I thought here it would be ok.

My question is regarding to the "modifications" that some consonants suffer when pronounced in the middle of a flow of sounds.
In Spanish and Catalan, if you speak at a "normal" speed, , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels or when they are next to some voiced consonants, like r o l. This changes are marked in some dictionaries I have seen. Do ALL languages do this kind of distinctions the same way?

I mean, in a German dictionary of mine, a , a [g] and a [d] between vowels is represented as [b g d], respectively, anyway. Does this mean that German (and quite probably, some other languages) has a tendency to keep the pronounciation of these sounds unaltered (even when some other languages do alter them)?

I think this "process" is called "assimilation". Does Assimilation work the same way in all languages? Does it affect that the two sounds are "allophones" or not?( in English, [δ] and [d] are not allophons, but in Spanish, they are. Despite this, in some cases, an English [d] works as a Spanish [d] and, thus [δ] becomes an allophone in English too)


hope someone can answer my question...



 
  • arsham

    Senior Member
    Persian
    did not know where to put this kind of question...so I thought here it would be ok.

    My question is regarding to the "modifications" that some consonants suffer when pronounced in the middle of a flow of sounds.
    In Spanish and Catalan, if you speak at a "normal" speed, , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels or when they are next to some voiced consonants, like r o l. This changes are marked in some dictionaries I have seen. Do ALL languages do this kind of distinctions the same way?

    I mean, in a German dictionary of mine, a , a [g] and a [d] between vowels is represented as [b g d], respectively, anyway. Does this mean that German (and quite probably, some other languages) has a tendency to keep the pronounciation of these sounds unaltered (even when some other languages do alter them)?

    I think this "process" is called "assimilation". Does Assimilation work the same way in all languages? Does it affect that the two sounds are "allophones" or not?( in English, [δ] and [d] are not allophons, but in Spanish, they are. Despite this, in some cases, an English [d] works as a Spanish [d] and, thus [δ] becomes an allophone in English too)


    hope someone can answer my question...



    The voicing of stops in intervocalic positions has also occurred in Persian and is present in some of its dialects like Davaani. I can provide you with more info if you're interested!
     
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    palomnik

    Senior Member
    English
    did not know where to put this kind of question...so I thought here it would be ok.

    My question is regarding to the "modifications" that some consonants suffer when pronounced in the middle of a flow of sounds.
    In Spanish and Catalan, if you speak at a "normal" speed, , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels or when they are next to some voiced consonants, like r o l. This changes are marked in some dictionaries I have seen. Do ALL languages do this kind of distinctions the same way?


    I'm not sure if I understand. Do you want to know if other languages modify , [g] and [d] in medial positions the same way that Spanish does?

    I mean, in a German dictionary of mine, a , a [g] and a [d] between vowels is represented as [b g d], respectively, anyway. Does this mean that German (and quite probably, some other languages) has a tendency to keep the pronounciation of these sounds unaltered (even when some other languages do alter them)??


    In general, yes. Some dialects may change [g] to [γ] medially, but I believe it is not standard.

    I think this "process" is called "assimilation". Does Assimilation work the same way in all languages? Does it affect that the two sounds are "allophones" or not?( in English, [δ] and [d] are not allophons, but in Spanish, they are. Despite this, in some cases, an English [d] works as a Spanish [d] and, thus [δ] becomes an allophone in English too)

    English [d] never becomes exactly like a Spanish [d] because it is articulated in a different part of the mouth. It is true that it is unaspirated when it occurs medially or finally, the same as a Spanish [d]. That doesn't make [δ] an allophone of [d] in English, however.

    To try to answer your question, there are other languages where , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels. They include Tamil (in Tamil [k], [g] and [x] are all allophones, likewise for [t], [d] and [δ] and [p], and [β]) and to a lesser extent Greek. However, I would hardly call it an overall trend.
     
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    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    If a sound is pronounced differently depending on its position in a word this different pronunciation is called an allophone (also in case this is due to Sandhi - which is very common and not at all a feature of Sanskrit; that's only where the word comes from).

    I think that most (if not all) languages show at least some allophones, but not all languages change consonants when positioned between vowels, which was your question: cases like Spanish VbV > VβV (V = vowel).
    (And in Spanish it goes even further - with fricatives in word-initial position becoming plosives.)

    But still this change of intervocalic vowels happens in many languages, German being one of them - but it is a feature of colloquial language and dialects in German; as far as standard language is concerned you should pronounce <b d g> as /b d g/ even in intervocalic position (note that these aren't the same sounds as in Spanish, but that's not the point here).

    Some changes in colloquial German and dialects are:
    VbV > VvV or VβV in many dialects and colloquial language, very common;
    VdV > VɾV or VV (tap or deleted completely) in some dialects - not a very common change, and finally
    VgV > VɣV - also only in some dialects, not very common either.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    My question is regarding to the "modifications" that some consonants suffer when pronounced in the middle of a flow of sounds.
    In Spanish and Catalan, if you speak at a "normal" speed, , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels or when they are next to some voiced consonants, like r o l. This changes are marked in some dictionaries I have seen. Do ALL languages do this kind of distinctions the same way?
    I can tell you that the answer is "No" from personal experience. In my idiolect of Portuguese, those consonants are always hard, never soft. We don't use the soft allophones of the plosives. (Some Portuguese speakers do use them, though.)

    I think this "process" is called "assimilation". Does Assimilation work the same way in all languages? Does it affect that the two sounds are "allophones" or not?( in English, [δ] and [d] are not allophons, but in Spanish, they are. Despite this, in some cases, an English [d] works as a Spanish [d] and, thus [δ] becomes an allophone in English too)
    Here's an example of an assimilation that Portuguese does, but Spanish doesn't do: for us, any sibilant is always voiced to [z], when it comes at the end of a word and the following word starts with a vowel.

    P.S. The word you're looking for might be lenition, by the way (which is a kind of assimilation, if I'm not mistaken).
     

    astlanda

    Senior Member
    Estonian maamurre
    Both in Estonian and Korean those b, d, g are pronounced softer in the middle of the word rather than in the beginning.
    In native Estonian words they are replaced with p, t, k when written in the beginning.

    E.G. "rabakana" (Lagopus lagopus L.) is composed of "raba" (bog) + "kana" (hen) and pronounced as if it was written "rabagana".

    However it is not the case in Finnish. So not ALL the language follow the rule.
     

    Demurral

    Senior Member
    BCN
    Catalan, Spanish
    The voicing of stops in intervocalic positions has also occurred in Persian and is present in some of its dialects like Davaani. I can provide you with more info if you're interested!

    By stops, did you mean plosives??.
    I'm interested! Could you please send me a PM with the links (or reference or whatever)? Thank you in advance!.

    I'm not sure if I understand. Do you want to know if other languages modify , [g] and [d] in medial positions the same way that Spanish does?
    In general, yes. Some dialects may change [g] to [γ] medially, but I believe it is not standard.
    English [d] never becomes exactly like a Spanish [d] because it is articulated in a different part of the mouth. It is true that it is unaspirated when it occurs medially or finally, the same as a Spanish [d]. That doesn't make [δ] an allophone of [d] in English, however.
    To try to answer your question, there are other languages where , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels. They include Tamil (in Tamil [k], [g] and [x] are all allophones, likewise for [t], [d] and [δ] and [p], and [β]) and to a lesser extent Greek. However, I would hardly call it an overall trend.

    If a sound is pronounced differently depending on its position in a word this different pronunciation is called an allophone (also in case this is due to Sandhi - which is very common and not at all a feature of Sanskrit; that's only where the word comes from).
    I think that most (if not all) languages show at least some allophones, but not all languages change consonants when positioned between vowels, which was your question: cases like Spanish VbV > VβV (V = vowel).
    (And in Spanish it goes even further - with fricatives in word-initial position becoming plosives.)
    But still this change of intervocalic vowels happens in many languages, German being one of them - but it is a feature of colloquial language and dialects in German; as far as standard language is concerned you should pronounce <b d g> as /b d g/ even in intervocalic position (note that these aren't the same sounds as in Spanish, but that's not the point here).
    Some changes in colloquial German and dialects are:
    VbV > VvV or VβV in many dialects and colloquial language, very common;
    VdV > VɾV or VV (tap or deleted completely) in some dialects - not a very common change, and finally
    VgV > VɣV - also only in some dialects, not very common either.

    This two posts, along with Outsider's and Astlanda's answered my question quite well. Thank you!!

    Here's an example of an assimilation that Portuguese does, but Spanish doesn't do: for us, any sibilant is always voiced to [z], when it comes at the end of a word and the following word starts with a vowel.

    I was so silly to make my question from the very first moment...This kind of voicing you mention in your post also occurs in Catalan...and not in Spanish...my two mother tongues. I could have realized myself that assimiliations (and other processes of the like) are not equal in all languages, but marked by some kind of "native speaker mental paradigm"(sure it has a more "linguistical" name ^^), couldn't I?

    Both in Estonian and Korean those b, d, g are pronounced softer in the middle of the word rather than in the beginning.
    In native Estonian words they are replaced with p, t, k when written in the beginning.
    E.G. "rabakana" (Lagopus lagopus L.) is composed of "raba" (bog) + "kana" (hen) and pronounced as if it was written "rabagana".
    However it is not the case in Finnish. So not ALL the language follow the rule.

    I knew that koreans pronounced K T and P, in a different way(close to G D B) when in the middle of the word. But don't thought of them as "KTP/GDB- allophones"...

    Sometimes we can't see what is in front of us...

    Thanks for all your responses!
     

    MarX

    Banned
    Indonesian, Indonesia
    In Indonesian intervocalic K, P and T may end up sounding like G, B and D. But I don't perceive any tendency of intervocalic G, B and D moving towards gh, bh, and dh like in Spanish.
     

    dinji

    Senior Member
    Swedish - Finland
    To try to answer your question, there are other languages where , [g] and [d] sounds become [β], [γ]and [δ] when pronounced between vowels. They include Tamil (in Tamil [k], [g] and [x] are all allophones, likewise for [t], [d] and [δ] and [p], and [β]) and to a lesser extent Greek. However, I would hardly call it an overall trend.

    Hebrew may be added to the list, but in the full sense of the rule only classic biblical Hebrew. In modern Hebrew the rule is learned for inherited words but it is not productive for loanwords.
    In paralellell, the same rule makes VpV > VfV and VkV > VxV. The same applies to /t/ in theory but the difference is neglected in modern pronounciation, exept in ashkenazy religious language.
     
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