Sonorant
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Sonorant

In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant or resonant is a speech sound that is produced with continuous, non-turbulent airflow in the vocal tract; these are the manners of articulation that are most often voiced in the world's languages. Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like /m/ and /l/: approximants, nasals, flaps or taps, and most[clarification needed]trills.

In older usage, only the term resonant was used with this meaning, and sonorant was a narrower term, referring to all resonants except vowels and semivowels.[]


Types

Whereas obstruents are frequently voiceless, sonorants are almost always voiced. A typical sonorant consonant inventory found in many languages comprises the following: two nasals /m/, /n/, two semivowels /w/, /j/, and two liquids /l/, /r/.[]

In the sonority hierarchy, all sounds higher than fricatives are sonorants. They can therefore form the nucleus of a syllable in languages that place that distinction at that level of sonority; see Syllable for details.

Sonorants contrast with obstruents, which do stop or cause turbulence in the airflow. The latter group includes fricatives and stops (for example, /s/ and /t/).

Among consonants pronounced in the back of the mouth or in the throat, the distinction between an approximant and a voiced fricative is so blurred that no language is known to contrast them.[] Thus, uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal fricatives never contrast with approximants.

Voiceless

Voiceless resonants are rare; they occur as phonemes in only about 5% of the world's languages.[1] Voiceless sonorants tend to be extremely quiet and difficult to recognise, even for those people whose language has them.

In every case of a voiceless sonorant occurring, there is a contrasting voiced sonorant. In other words, whenever a language contains a phoneme such as /r?/, it also contains a corresponding voiced phoneme such as /r/).[]

Voiceless sonorants are most common around the Pacific Ocean (in Oceania, East Asia, and North and South America) and in certain language families (such as Austronesian, Sino-Tibetan, Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut).

One European language with voiceless sonorants is Welsh. Its phonology contains a phonemic voiceless alveolar trill /r?/ along with three voiceless nasals: velar, alveolar and labial.

Another European language with voiceless sonorants is Icelandic, with [l? r? n? m? ] for the corresponding voiced sonorants [l r n m ? ?].

Voiceless [r? l? ?] and possibly [m? n?] are hypothesized to have occurred in various dialects of Ancient Greek. The Attic dialect of the Classical period likely had [r?] as the regular allophone of /r/ at the beginning of words and possibly when it was doubled inside words. Hence, many English words from Ancient Greek roots have rh initially and rrh medially: rhetoric, diarrhea.

Examples

English has the following sonorant consonantal phonemes: /l/, /m/, /n/, /?/, /?/, /w/, /j/.[2]

Old Irish had one of the most complex sonorant systems recorded in linguistics, with 12 coronal sonorants alone. Coronal laterals, nasals, and rhotics had a fortis–lenis and a palatalization contrast: /N, n, N?, n?, R, r, R?, r?, L, l, L?, l?/. There were also /?, , m/ and /m?/, making 16 sonorant phonemes in total.[3]

Sound changes

Voiceless resonants have a strong tendency to either revoice or undergo fortition, for example to form a fricative like /ç/ or /?/.[example needed]

In connected, continuous speech in North American English, /t/ and /d/ are usually flapped to following sonorants, including vowels, when followed by a vowel or syllabic /l/.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Ian Maddieson (with a chapter contributed by Sandra Ferrari Disner); Patterns of sounds; Cambridge University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-521-26536-3
  2. ^ "Consonants". UCL DEPT OF PHONETICS & LINGUISTICS. September 19, 1995. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ Greene, David (1973). "The Growth of Palatalization in Irish". Transactions of the Philological Society. 72: 127-136. doi:10.1111/j.1467-968X.1973.tb01017.x.
  4. ^ "North American English: General Accents" (PDF). Universität Stuttgart - Institut für Linguistik. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 April 2014. Retrieved 2019.

Bibliography


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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