LING200 Linguistic Theory Phonetic Features


Part A: Thinking about Clicks
We talked rather briefly about clicks when discussing the full range of the IPA chart and the range of consonants found outside of English. Clicks are special in their articulation in that they require two closures within oral cavity: one at the velum, and one farther forward.
Now, answer the following questions:
1) What do you think are the three Xhosa clicks? Give their IPA symbols and describe each of them using phonetic features (as in, the terms that you get from the IPA chart).
2) Explain how you decided, based just on that youtube video, what the three clicks are? He introduces them in a particular order, with reference to the letters they are spelled with – so, you can use those letters too, to make clear which click you’re talking about. For each one, describe what the speaker said, did, told you, demonstrated, or what else informed your choice for each letter. You don’t need to be right here; you just need to explain your rationale!
3) Now consider: what phonetic aspect(s) of producing a click does the Xhosa speaker explainand which does he not explain? In other words: if you only had the Xhosa video, and not the phonetics lecture video and you had never produced a click yourself before what do you think you might NOT understand about how clicks are made? You can answer this question about all three clicks as a group, or individually.
4) In the phonetics lecture, the lecturer tells you that clicks are all inherently voiceless, but that you CAN produce voicing at the same time as making a click if you are humming, and he demonstrates. … So, think about that humming. How exactly is he producing it? Specifically: 
where is the air coming from and where is it going to? How is it flowing continuously as he is producing clicks why does the production of a click not impede that airflow? And if you were to try transcribing that humming using an IPA symbol or diacritic, what would it be?
Part B: Two English sounds
1) What is the relationship between these two sounds? Are they different phonemes, are they allophones of the same phoneme, are they something else? Explain your answer in (brief!) prose. In your explanation, make sure you talk explicitly whether the two sounds are contrastive and how that influences your decision.
2) Provide a succinct description of all the local contexts in which each sound(s) occur(s). Then, re-write each of these environments using phonological features. NOTE: for this question, you can’t use ‘elsewhere’ – you must describe all the contexts. And use minimal phonological features in your descriptions.

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