Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

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)

Back to Most Recent Questions