palatalization (phonetics)
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In
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical properties of speech. The field of phon ...

phonetics
, palatalization (, also ) or palatization is a way of pronouncing a consonant in which part of the tongue is moved close to the
hard palate The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate made up of two bones of the facial skeleton The facial skeleton comprises the ''facial bones'' that may attach to build a portion of the skull The skull is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, ri ...
. Consonants pronounced this way are said to be palatalized and are transcribed in the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest seq ...
by affixing the letter ⟨ʲ⟩ to the base consonant. Palatalization cannot minimally
distinguish In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bou ...
words in most dialects of English, but it may do so in languages such as Russian, Mandarin, and Irish.


Types

In technical terms, palatalization refers to the
secondary articulation In phonetics, secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant consonant, approximant. The secondary articulat ...
of
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sig ...
s by which the body of the
tongue The tongue is a muscular MUSCULAR (DS-200B), located in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Brita ...

tongue
is raised toward the
hard palate The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate made up of two bones of the facial skeleton The facial skeleton comprises the ''facial bones'' that may attach to build a portion of the skull The skull is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, ri ...
and the
alveolar ridge A sagittal or side view image of a human head. The upper alveolar ridge is located between numbers 4 and 5. The alveolar ridge (; also known as the alveolar margin) is one of the two jaw ridges, extensions of the mandible or maxilla, either on the ...
during the articulation of the consonant. Such consonants are phonetically palatalized. "Pure" palatalization is a modification to the articulation of a consonant, where the middle of the tongue is raised, and nothing else. It may produce a laminal articulation of otherwise
apical Apical means "pertaining to an Apex (disambiguation), apex". It may refer to: *Apical ancestor, refers to the last common ancestor of an entire group, such as a species (biology) or a clan (anthropology) *Apical (anatomy), an anatomical term of loc ...
consonants such as and . Phonetically palatalized consonants may vary in their exact realization. Some languages add
semivowel In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of s, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical properties of speech. T ...
s before or after the palatalized consonant (onglides or offglides). In
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
, both plain and palatalized consonant phonemes are found in words like , and . Typically, the vowel (especially a non-
front vowel A front vowel is a class of vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing ...
) following a palatalized consonant has a palatal onglide. In
Hupa Hupa (Yurok language Yurok (also Chillula, Mita, Pekwan, Rikwa, Sugon, Weitspek, Weitspekan) is an Algic languages, Algic language. It is the traditional language of the Yurok people of Del Norte County, California, Del Norte County and Humbol ...
, on the other hand, the palatalization is heard as both an onglide and an offglide. In some cases, the realization of palatalization may change without any corresponding phonemic change. For example, according to Thurneysen, palatalized consonants at the end of a syllable in
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
had a corresponding onglide (reflected as in the spelling), which was no longer present in
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Ins ...
(based on explicit testimony of grammarians of the time). In a few languages, including
Skolt Sami Skolt Sami ( , "the Sámi language", or , "the Eastern Sámi language", if a distinction needs to be made between it and the other Sami languages) is a Uralic languages, Uralic, Sami languages, Sami language that is spoken by the Skolts, with a ...
and many of the
Central Chadic languages Central is an adjective In linguistics, an adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that grammatical modifier, modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. Its Semantics, semantic role is to change informa ...
, palatalization is a
suprasegmental feature In linguistics, prosody () is concerned with those elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segment (linguistics), segments (vowels and consonants) but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functio ...
that affects the pronunciation of an entire syllable, and it may cause certain vowels to be pronounced front vowel, more front and consonants to be slightly palatalized. In Skolt Sami and its relatives (Kildin Sami language, Kildin Sami and Ter Sami language, Ter Sami), suprasegmental palatalization contrasts with segmental palatal articulation (palatal consonants).


Transcription

In the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest seq ...
(IPA), palatalized consonants are marked by the Phonetic symbols in Unicode#Spacing Modifier Letters (U+02B0–02FF), modifier letter , a subscript and superscript, superscript version of the symbol for the palatal approximant . For instance, represents the palatalized form of the voiceless alveolar stop . Obsolete and nonstandard symbols in the International Phonetic Alphabet, Prior to 1989, a subscript diacritic () and several palatalized consonants were represented by curly-tailed variants in the IPA, e.g., for and for : see palatal hook. The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet marks palatalized consonants by an acute accent, as do some Finnic languages using the Latin alphabet, as in Võro language, Võro . Others use an apostrophe, as in Karelian language, Karelian ; or digraphs in ''j'', as in the Savonian dialects of Finnish language, Finnish, .


Phonology

Palatalization has varying phonological significance in different languages. It is allophonic in English, but phonemic in others. In English, consonants are palatalized when they occur before front vowels or the palatal approximant, but no words are distinguished by palatalization (complementary distribution), whereas in some of the other languages, the difference between palatalized consonants and plain un-palatalized consonants distinctive feature, distinguish between words, appearing in a contrastive distribution (where one of the two versions palatalized or not, appears in the same environment as the other).


Allophonic palatalization

In some languages, like English, palatalization is allophonic. Some phonemes have palatalized allophones in certain contexts, typically before
front vowel A front vowel is a class of vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing ...
s and unpalatalized allophones elsewhere. Because it is allophonic, palatalization of this type does not distinctive feature, distinguish words and often goes unnoticed by native speakers. Phonetic palatalization occurs in American English. Stops are palatalized before the front vowel and not palatalized in other cases.


Phonemic palatalization

In some languages, palatalization is a distinctive feature that distinguishes two consonant phonemes. This feature occurs in
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
, Irish language, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic. Phonemic palatalization may be contrasted with either plain or velarization, velarized articulation. In many of the Slavic languages, and some of the Baltic languages, Baltic and Finnic languages, palatalized consonants contrast with plain consonants, but in Irish language, Irish they contrast with velarized consonants. * Russian "nose" (unpalatalized ) : "(he) carried" (palatalized ) * Irish "cow" (velarized ''b'') : "alive" (palatalized ''b'') Some palatalized phonemes undergo change beyond phonetic palatalization. For instance, the unpalatalized sibilant (Irish , Scottish ) has a palatalized counterpart that is actually postalveolar , not phonetically palatalized , and the velar fricative in both languages has a palatalized counterpart that is actually palatal rather than palatalized velar . These shifts in primary place of articulation are examples of the sound change of Palatalization (sound change), palatalization.


Morphophonemic

In some languages, palatalization is used as a morpheme or part of a morpheme. In some cases, a vowel caused a consonant to become palatalized, and then this vowel was lost by elision. Here, there appears to be a phonemic contrast when analysis of the deep structure shows it to be allophonic. In Romanian language, Romanian, consonants are palatalized before . Palatalized consonants appear at the end of the word, and mark the plural in nouns and adjectives, and the second person singular in verbs. On the surface, it would appear then that "coin" forms a minimal pair with . The interpretation commonly taken, however, is that an underlying morpheme palatalizes the consonant and is subsequently deleted. Palatalization may also occur as a morphology (linguistics), morphological feature. For example, although Russian makes phonemic contrasts between palatalized and unpalatalized consonants, alternations across morpheme boundaries are normal: * ('answer') vs. ('to answer') * ('I carry') vs. ('carries') * ('hunger') vs. ('hungry' masc.)


Sound changes

In some languages, allophonic palatalization developed into phonemic palatalization by phonemic split. In other languages, phonemes that were originally phonetically palatalized changed further: palatal secondary place of articulation developed into changes in manner of articulation or primary place of articulation. Phonetic palatalization of a consonant sometimes causes surrounding vowels to change by coarticulation or assimilation (linguistics), assimilation. In Russian, "soft" (palatalized) consonants are usually followed by vowels that are relatively more front vowel, front (that is, closer to or ), and vowels following "hard" (unpalatalized) consonants are further back vowel, back. See for more information.


Examples


Slavic languages

In many Slavic languages, palatal or palatalized consonants are called soft, and others are called hard. Russian has pairs of palatalized and unpalatalized consonant phonemes. The vowel letters , , , , and indicate that the consonant preceding them is soft. The soft sign also indicates that the previous consonant is soft.


Goidelic

Irish language, Irish and Scottish Gaelic have pairs of palatalized (''slender'') and unpalatalized (''broad'') consonant phonemes. In Irish, most broad consonants are velarized. In Scottish Gaelic, the only velarized consonants are and ; is sometimes described as velarized as well.Nance, C., McLeod, W., O'Rourke, B. and Dunmore, S. (2016), Identity, accent aim, and motivation in second language users: New Scottish Gaelic speakers’ use of phonetic variation. J Sociolinguistics, 20: 164–191.


Mandarin Chinese

Palatalized consonants occur in standard Mandarin Chinese in the form of the alveolo-palatal consonants, which are written in pinyin as , , and .


Marshallese

In the Marshallese_language#Phonology, Marshallese language, each consonant has some type of secondary articulation (palatalization, velarization, or Labialization, labiovelarization). The palatalized consonants are regarded as "light", and the velarized and rounded consonants are regarded as "heavy", with the rounded consonants being both velarized and labialized.


Norwegian

Many Norwegian dialects have phonemic palatalised consonants. In many parts of Northern Norway and many areas of Møre og Romsdal, for example, the words ('hand') and /hɑnʲː/ ('he') are differentiated only by the palatalisation of the final consonant. Palatalisation is generally realised only on stressed syllables, but speakers of the Sør-Trøndelag dialects will generally palatalise the coda of a determined plural as well: e.g. or, in other areas, ('the dogs'), rather than *. Norwegian dialects utilising palatalisation will generally palatalise , , and .


Other uses

There are local or historical uses of the term ''palatalization''. In Slavic linguistics, the "palatal" fricatives marked by a háček are really postalveolar consonants, which historically arose from palatalization. There are also phonetically palatalized consonants, marked with an acute accent, which contrast with that. Thus, a distinction is made between "palatal" (postalveolar) and "palatalized". Such "palatalized" consonants are not always phonetically palatalized. For example, when Russian "soft" consonants appear before front vowels (particularly ), they are not palatalized and contrast with "hard" consonants (which are typically not palatalized) that are velarized in the same context. In Uralic languages, Uralic linguistics, "palatalization" has the standard phonetic meaning: , , , , , are distinct phonemes, as they are in Slavic languages, but and are not considered either palatal or palatalized sounds. Also, the Uralic palatalized , unlike in Russian, is a stop with no frication.


See also

* Iotation, a related process in Slavic languages * Soft sign, a Cyrillic script, Cyrillic grapheme indicating palatalization * Manner of articulation * List of phonetics topics * Labio-palatalization * Yōon


References


Bibliography

* Bynon, Theodora. ''Historical Linguistics''. Cambridge University Press, 1977. (hardback) or (paperback). * * * * Crowley, Terry. (1997) ''An Introduction to Historical Linguistics.'' 3rd edition. Oxford University Press. * *


External links


Erkki Savolainen, Internetix 1998. ''Suomen murteet – Koprinan murretta''.
(with a sound sample with palatalized t')

{{articulation navbox Phonetics Palatal consonants Secondary articulation