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Subject: secondary articulation vs assimilation
Question: Hello guys I was teaching a linguistics class and I came across this topic ''secondary articulation''. It was the first time for me to hear the term. I had always known that the effect of a preceding or following sound is called ''assimilation''. But in the book I have , both terms seem to be different. I did some research on both terms, but I can't seem to reach a satisfying conclusion. It says that assimilation involves quality and SA involves just place of articulation. I find that so vague. So, is assimilation the broader term? In other words, is secondary articulation a type of assimilation?
Reply: The distinction is not too difficult. Assimilation is a process in which two sounds more similar. In complete assimilation (e.g. /kt/ to /tt/) both sounds become identical, but in partial assimilation, only a partial change occurs. A secondary articulation refers to an just how a single sound is pronounced. Specifically it's usually a marked element which makes a sound different from a more "typical" pronunciation. For instance, a /g/ sound could be palatalized with a "y" /j/ quality and would be transcribed as /gʲ/ Or it could be rounded with a "w" quality as in /gʷ/ It is the case that a partial assimilation process can add a secondary articulation to a sound. A /g/ could become [gʷ] before a round vowel like /o/. Hope this helps.
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 09-Jan-2014
Other Replies:
  1. Re: secondary articulation vs assimilation    Robert A Papen     (09-Jan-2014)
  2. Re: secondary articulation vs assimilation    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (10-Jan-2014)

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