Aspirated consonant

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In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of breath that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. In English, aspirated consonants are allophones in complementary distribution with their unaspirated counterparts, but in some other languages, notably most Indian and East Asian languages, the difference is contrastive.

To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say spin Template:IPA and then pin Template:IPA. One should either feel a puff of air or see a flicker of the candle flame with pin that one does not get with spin.

Transcription

In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), aspirated consonants are written using the symbols for voiceless consonants followed by the aspiration modifier letter Template:Angbr IPA, a superscript form of the symbol for the voiceless glottal fricative Template:Angbr IPA. For instance, Template:Angbr IPA represents the voiceless bilabial stop, and Template:Angbr IPA represents the aspirated bilabial stop.

Voiced consonants are seldom actually aspirated. Symbols for voiced consonants followed by Template:Angbr IPA, such as Template:Angbr IPA, typically represent consonants with murmured voiced release (see below). In the grammatical tradition of Sanskrit, aspirated consonants are called voiceless aspirated, and breathy-voiced consonants are called voiced aspirated.

There are no dedicated IPA symbols for degrees of aspiration and typically only two degrees are marked: unaspirated Template:Angbr IPA and aspirated Template:Angbr IPA. An old symbol for light aspiration was Template:Angbr IPA, but this is now obsolete. The aspiration modifier letter may be doubled to indicate especially strong or long aspiration. Hence, the two degrees of aspiration in Korean stops are sometimes transcribed Template:Angbr IPA or Template:Angbr IPA and Template:Angbr IPA, but they are usually transcribed Template:IPA and Template:IPA,[1] with the details of voice onset time given numerically.

Preaspirated consonants are marked by placing the aspiration modifier letter before the consonant symbol: Template:Angbr IPA represents the preaspirated bilabial stop.

Unaspirated or tenuis consonants are occasionally marked with the modifier letter for unaspiration Template:Angbr IPA, a superscript equals sign: Template:Angbr IPA. Usually, however, unaspirated consonants are left unmarked: Template:Angbr IPA.

Phonetics

Template:Listen Voiceless consonants are produced with the vocal folds open (spread) and not vibrating, and voiced consonants are produced when the vocal folds are fractionally closed and vibrating (modal voice). Voiceless aspiration occurs when the vocal folds remain open after a consonant is released. An easy way to measure this is by noting the consonant's voice onset time, as the voicing of a following vowel cannot begin until the vocal folds close.

In some languages, such as Navajo, aspiration of stops tends to be phonetically realised as voiceless velar airflow; aspiration of affricates is realised as an extended length of the frication.

Aspirated consonants are not always followed by vowels or other voiced sounds. For example, in Eastern Armenian, aspiration is contrastive even word-finally, and aspirated consonants occur in consonant clusters. In Wahgi, consonants are aspirated only when they are in final position.

Degree

The degree of aspiration varies: the voice onset time of aspirated stops is longer or shorter depending on the language or the place of articulation.

Armenian and Cantonese have aspiration that lasts about as long as English aspirated stops, in addition to unaspirated stops. Korean has lightly-aspirated stops that fall between the Armenian and Cantonese unaspirated and aspirated stops as well as strongly-aspirated stops whose aspiration lasts longer than that of Armenian or Cantonese. (See voice onset time.)

Aspiration varies with place of articulation. The Spanish voiceless stops Template:IPA have voice onset times (VOTs) of about 5, 10, and 30 milliseconds, and English aspirated Template:IPA have VOTs of about 60, 70, and 80 ms. Voice onset time in Korean has been measured at 20, 25, and 50 ms for Template:IPA and 90, 95, and 125 for Template:IPA.[2]

Doubling

Template:Listen When aspirated consonants are doubled or geminated, the stop is held longer and then has an aspirated release. An aspirated affricate consists of a stop, fricative, and aspirated release. A doubled aspirated affricate has a longer hold in the stop portion and then has a release consisting of the fricative and aspiration.

Preaspiration

Icelandic and Faroese have consonants with preaspiration Template:IPA, and some scholarsTemplate:Who interpret them as consonant clusters as well. In Icelandic, preaspirated stops contrast with double stops and single stops:

Preaspirated stops also occur in most Sami languages. For example, in Northern Sami, the unvoiced stop and affricate phonemes Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA are pronounced preaspirated (Template:IPA, Template:IPA Template:IPA, Template:IPA, Template:IPA) in medial or final position.

Fricatives and sonorants

Although most aspirated obstruents in the world's languages are stops and affricates, aspirated fricatives such as Template:IPA, Template:IPA or Template:IPA have been documented in Korean, though these are allophones of other phonemes. Similarly, aspirated fricatives and even aspirated nasals, approximants, and trills occur in a few Tibeto-Burman languages, in some Oto-Manguean languages, in the Hmongic language Hmu, and in the Siouan language Ofo. Some languages, such as Choni Tibetan, have as many as four contrastive aspirated fricatives Template:IPA Template:IPA, Template:IPA and Template:IPA.[3]

Voiced consonants with voiceless aspiration

True aspirated voiced consonants, as opposed to murmured (breathy-voice) consonants such as the Template:IPA that are common among the languages of India, are extremely rare. They have been documented in Kelabit.[4]

Phonology

Aspiration has varying significance in different languages. It is either allophonic or phonemic, and may be analyzed as an underlying consonant cluster.

Allophonic

Template:Listen In some languages, such as English, aspiration is allophonic. Stops are distinguished primarily by voicing, and voiceless stops are sometimes aspirated, while voiced stops are usually unaspirated.

English voiceless stops are aspirated for most native speakers when they are word-initial or begin a stressed syllable.

For instance, distend has unaspirated Template:IPA since it is not analyzed as two morphemes, but distaste has an aspirated middle Template:IPA because it is analyzed as dis- + taste and the word taste has an aspirated initial t.

Word-final voiceless stops are sometimes aspirated.

Voiceless stops in Pashto are slightly aspirated prevocalically in a stressed syllable.

Phonemic

In many languages, such as Armenian, Korean, Lakota, Thai, Indo-Aryan languages, Dravidian languages, Icelandic, Faroese, Ancient Greek, and the varieties of Chinese, tenuis and aspirated consonants are phonemic. Unaspirated consonants like Template:IPA and aspirated consonants like Template:IPA are separate phonemes, and words are distinguished by whether they have one or the other.

Consonant cluster

Alemannic German dialects have unaspirated Template:IPA as well as aspirated Template:IPA; the latter series are usually viewed as consonant clusters.

Tenseness

In Danish and most southern varieties of German, the lenis consonants transcribed for historical reasons as Template:Angbr IPA are distinguished from their fortis counterparts Template:Angbr IPA, mainly in their lack of aspiration.[citation needed]

Absence

French,[5] Standard Dutch,[6] Afrikaans, Tamil, Finnish, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Latvian and Modern Greek are languages that do not have phonemic aspirated consonants.

Examples

Chinese

Template:Listen Standard Chinese (Mandarin) has stops and affricates distinguished by aspiration: for instance, Template:IPA, Template:IPA. In pinyin, tenuis stops are written with letters that represent voiced consonants in English, and aspirated stops with letters that represent voiceless consonants. Thus d represents Template:IPA, and t represents Template:IPA.

Wu Chinese and Southern Min has a three-way distinction in stops and affricates: Template:IPA. In addition to aspirated and unaspirated consonants, there is a series of muddy consonants, like Template:IPA. These are pronounced with slack or breathy voice: that is, they are weakly voiced. Muddy consonants as initial cause a syllable to be pronounced with low pitch or light (陽 yáng) tone.

Indian languages

Template:Listen

Many Indo-Aryan languages have aspirated stops. Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and Gujarati have a four-way distinction in stops: voiceless, aspirated, voiced, and breathy-voiced or voiced aspirated, such as Template:IPA. Punjabi has lost breathy-voiced consonants, which resulted in a tone system, and therefore has a distinction between voiceless, aspirated, and voiced: Template:IPA.

Some of the Dravidian languages, such as Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada, have a distinction between voiced and voiceless, aspirated and unaspirated only in loanwords from Indo-Aryan languages. In native Dravidian words, there is no distinction between these categories and stops are underspecified for voicing and aspiration.

Armenian

Template:Listen Most dialects of Armenian have aspirated stops, and some have breathy-voiced stops.

Classical and Eastern Armenian have a three-way distinction between voiceless, aspirated, and voiced, such as Template:IPA.

Western Armenian has a two-way distinction between aspirated and voiced: Template:IPA. Western Armenian aspirated Template:IPA corresponds to Eastern Armenian aspirated Template:IPA and voiced Template:IPA, and Western voiced Template:IPA corresponds to Eastern voiceless Template:IPA.

Greek

Some forms of Greek before the Koine Greek period are reconstructed as having aspirated stops. The Classical Attic dialect of Ancient Greek had a three-way distinction in stops like Eastern Armenian: Template:IPA. These series were called Template:Wikt-lang, Template:Wikt-lang, Template:Wikt-lang (psilá, daséa, mésa) "smooth, rough, intermediate", respectively, by Koine Greek grammarians.

There were aspirated stops at three places of articulation: labial, coronal, and velar Template:IPA. Earlier Greek, represented by Mycenaean Greek, likely had a labialized velar aspirated stop Template:IPA, which later became labial, coronal, or velar depending on dialect and phonetic environment.

The other Ancient Greek dialects, Ionic, Doric, Aeolic, and Arcadocypriot, likely had the same three-way distinction at one point, but Doric seems to have had a fricative in place of Template:IPA in the Classical period, and the Ionic and Aeolic dialects sometimes lost aspiration (psilosis).

Later, during the Koine Greek period, the aspirated and voiced stops Template:IPA of Attic Greek lenited to voiceless and voiced fricatives, yielding Template:IPA in Medieval and Modern Greek. Cypriot Greek is notable for aspirating its inherited (and developed across word-boundaries) voiceless geminate stops, yielding the series /pʰː tʰː cʰː kʰː/.[7]

Other uses

Debuccalization

The term aspiration sometimes refers to the sound change of debuccalization, in which a consonant is lenited (weakened) to become a glottal stop or fricative Template:IPA.

Breathy-voiced release

So-called voiced aspirated consonants are nearly always pronounced instead with breathy voice, a type of phonation or vibration of the vocal folds. The modifier letter Template:Angbr IPA after a voiced consonant actually represents a breathy-voiced or murmured dental stop, as with the "voiced aspirated" bilabial stop Template:Angbr IPA in the Indo-Aryan languages. This consonant is therefore more accurately transcribed as Template:Angbr IPA, with the diacritic for breathy voice, or with the modifier letter Template:Angbr IPA, a superscript form of the symbol for the voiced glottal fricative Template:Angbr IPA.

Some linguists restrict the double-dot subscript Template:Angbr IPA to murmured sonorants, such as vowels and nasals, which are murmured throughout their duration, and use the superscript hook-aitch Template:Angbr IPA for the breathy-voiced release of obstruents.

See also

Notes

  1. Ladefoged, Peter; Barbara Blankenship; Russell G. Schuh, eds. (21 April 2009). "Korean". UCLA Phonetics Archive. Retrieved 20 February 2015.  word lists from 1977, 1966, 1975.
  2. Lisker and Abramson (1964). "A cross-language Study of Voicing in Initial Stops". Word. 20: 384–422. 
  3. Guillaume Jacques 2011. A panchronic study of aspirated fricatives, with new evidence from Pumi, Lingua 121.9:1518–1538 [1]
  4. Robert Blust, 2006, "The Origin of the Kelabit Voiced Aspirates: A Historical Hypothesis Revisited", Oceanic Linguistics 45:311
  5. Tranel, Bernard (1987). The sounds of French: an introductionFree registration required (3rd ed.). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0-521-31510-7. 
  6. Frans Hinskens, Johan Taeldeman, Language and space: Dutch, Walter de Gruyter 2014. 3110261332, 9783110261332, p.66
  7. Loukina, Anastassia (2005). "Phonetics and Phonology of Cypriot Geminates in Spontaneous Speech" (PDF). CamLing: 263–270. 

References

  • Cho, T., & Ladefoged, P., "Variations and universals in VOT". In Fieldwork Studies of Targeted Languages V: UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics vol. 95. 1997.