On the boundaries of phonemes - Introduction to Linguistics

About the boundaries of phonemes

§ 41. The phonemic composition of the language is determined on the basis of the accepted understanding of the phoneme. The definition of the phonemic composition of a particular language presupposes the solution of a rather complicated question about the boundaries of the phoneme, the delineation of phonemes as the actual linguistic units and variants of phonemes (backgrounds, allophones) as units of speech. In other words, in order to identify the phonemic composition of this particular language, it is necessary to establish which speech sounds represent allophones of different phonemes and which refer to the same phoneme. " Different ways of solving this problem are suggested, as a result of which, in different languages, different linguists have a different number of phonemes (see the data on the number of phonemes in United States only).

It should be emphasized that phonemes differ in purely linguistic criteria (in contrast to variants of a certain phoneme, which differ from each other in articulatory and acoustic characteristics). "Since phoneme selection is not sufficient by itself for acoustic-articulatory features, but knowledge of the language is necessary, it remains to be assumed that the selectivity of the phoneme is somehow based on the meaning, on the value, although the phoneme itself is not a unit meaningful". According to L. V. Shcherba, "phonetic divisibility (we are talking about the allocation of phonemes - B. II.) is the result of a largely scientific thinking".

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The basic principle of identifying phonemes, i.e. the definition of the phonematics of speech sounds, their phonemic status, can be defined as follows: "If in this language the difference between the two given sounds makes it possible to distinguish different words or different grammatical forms, these sounds refer to different phonemes." In accordance with this principle, phonemes must first of all be recognized as such sounds that are outwardly correlated with significant units of the language - words and morphemes, are exponents of these units. In United States, such sounds are, for example, vowels a (externally correlated with the corresponding union, interjection, particle, prefix, suffix, ending of words of different parts of speech), o is an exponent of the correlative interjection, preposition, prefix , endings), and [i] (union, particle, interjection, verbal suffix, ending), e [e] (interjection, suffix, ending), consonants c [s] (correlated with the preposition, prefix), c ' [s'] (compare postfixic morph in the return verbs), n [n ] (the productive suffix of non-existent pr (suffix of adjectives), in [v] (preposition, prefix, suffixal morph in the gerundes, the suffix of the passive participles of the past tense in the short form), n ' [n'] the suffix of past passive participles, the root of the demonstrative pronoun that, that, then), l [1] (the suffix of the past tense of verbs and verbal adjectives), w [s] (the suffix of the actual past participles), k [k] (preposition and prefix). Similar sounds are clearly distinguished as phonemes in other cases, i.e. when they are not the sound shells of significant units of language. If the divisibility of, for example, the United States words ma, then in two parts is due to the fact that each of the parts - m, a, o - is a special morpheme, then in words yes, up to divisibility is due to the fact that the phonemes that form part of them can in other words be a plan for expressing semantic units .

In the solution of the question of the boundaries of phonemes, the principle or criterion known as the "quasi-homonym or" minimal pairs "method is widely used." In accordance with this principle phonemes recognize sounds that one member of a minimal pair differs from another. By minimal pairs, this means pairs of words and grammatical forms that differ in meaning (lexical or grammatical) and differ from each other only by one sound. Minimum pairs can be represented by words or word forms that match the number of sounds (for example: table - chair, house - ladies, house - volume, nose, weight, - whole), or words (word forms), one of which has one or more sounds for one sound (for example: table - column, table - trunk, duck - joke). In the given pairs of words (word forms) phonemes are vowels o and y <[i] [and] (in the pair table - chair), and and o (in the pair house - ladies), consonants d [d] and 1t] (in the pair house - volume), n [n] and u '[n'] (in the pair nose - carried ), with [s] and c ' [s'] (in the pair weight is all), b [b] (in the word column ), in [v] (in the word trunk), w [s] (in the word joke).

At present, the criterion for distinguishing phonemes, proposed by NS Trubetskoi, is widespread: phonemes recognize speech sounds that "occur not only in this word, but in other words". The Czech word duby ("oaks"), for example, is perceived as consisting of four phonemes (d + u + b + s) on the grounds that the initial sound (d) is repeated in the words ("give"), deset ("ten"), duka ("dagger"), dolii (down) and others, the following (and) - in the words zuby ("teeth"), gika ( hand ), etc.

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Other criteria for distinguishing phonemes are also proposed, for example: phonemes are two different sounds that occur in the identical phonetic position, i.e. in the same sound environment. If two different sounds occur in the same environment (but in two different words), then these are two full, real differences of words; we will say: these are two different phonemes. " For example, the phonemes o and o in words (word forms) ladies and ladies, phonemes d [d] and m [t] in the words give and there, the phonemes m [t] and n in the words ladies and given . And vice versa: "Sounds are combined in one phoneme (ie are variants of this phoneme - VN), if they are positively alternating", i.e. differ depending on the phonetic position, the sound environment, for example: the labialized consonant with [s °] in the prepositional-combination with Olya, with the Hive and the pure, un-liberalized consonant [s] in combinations with Masha, with Anya . By definition

M. I. Matusevich, "to prove the phonematics of two sounds, it is sufficient that they occur in the language in the same phonetic position."

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