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Assimilation The term assimilation describe how sounds modify each other when they meet, usually across word boundaries, but within words too. If we consider the words that and book, and look at the phonemes involved, we get / / and /t/. If then place the words in sentence, (for example : Could you pass me that book please?, we notice that the /t/ phoneme at the end of that sound, which is formed when the tongue blade forms a temporary closure against the alveolar ridge, if you try saying the sentence a few times over, you will notice that the tongue doesnt actually get there at the end of the word. Rather than having our tongue make the unnecessarily long journey all the way to the alveolar ridge, we employ economy of effort, and get our articulators (in this case, the lips) ready for the sound, /b/. the modified sound retains its original voice quality, we say that the /t/ assimilates to a /p/, both sounds being unvoiced. As a result, we get could you pass me / pbuk/? This is not to say that we give the /p/ its full plosive manner of articulation either, as we would if we were to say the non-word / p/ on its own, merely that our lips are in the position to make the /p/. The best description is that in readying our articulators for the next sound, certain sounds are either absorbed, or modified into others. There is another possibility: the /t/ at the end of that could also become a glottal stop, where the glottis (the opening between the vocal cords inside the larynx) closes momentarily. 1.1 Some rules for assimilation a) The phonemes /t/, /d/, and /n/ often become bilabial before bilabial consonants /p/, /b/, and /m/. Hes a rather fat boy. Shes got an apartment in Manhattan. There are ten men in the class.

b) /t/ assimilates to /k/ before /k/ or /g/ ; /d/ assimilates to /g/ before /k/ or /g/ Where has that car been all night? Can you see that girl over there? It was a very good concert. Shes a very good girl.

c) /n/ can assimilate to // before /k/ or /g/ Ive been going out too much lately. Hes bringing his own car.

d) /s/ can assimilate to /s/ before // I really love this shinny one over here.

e) /t/ can assimilate to /s/ before // We found this lovely little cheese shop in Paris.

f) /t/ and /j/ combine to form /t/ You went to French last year, didnt you?

g) /d/ and /j/ combine to form /t/ Would you like a cup of tea?

h) There are three types of assimilations; i. ii. iii. Assimilation of place Assimilation of voicing Assimilation of manner

i. Assimilation of place The most common form involves the movement of place of articulation of the alveolar stops /t/, /d/ and /n/ to a position closer to that of the following sound. For instance, in the phrase ten cars, the /n/ will usually be articulated in a velar position, so that the tongue will be ready to produce the following velar sound /k/. similarly, in ten boys the /n/ will be produced in a bilabial position, /tem b/ to prepare for the articulation of bilabial /b/. this phenomenon is easy to find also in Italian : think of different pronunciations of the n in Gian Paolo, Gian Franco and Gian Carlo.

BEFORE A VELAR (/k/, /g/) /n/ e.g. ten cars /d/ e.g. good girl /t/ e.g. that kid /k/ /g/ //

BEFORE A BILABIAL (/m/, /b/, /p/) /n/ e.g. ten men / tem men/ /d/ e.g. bad boys /t/ e.g. hot mushrooms/ that person/ meat pie / light blue t + bilabial = p t + dental = dental plosive (e.g. that thing / get those/ cut through) t + velar = k (e.g. that case / bright colour/ quite good) d + similar contexts = b,d,g n + similar contexts = m, n, s and z + , j become and z (e.g. this shoe, those years) /p/ /b/ /m/

ii. Assimilation of Voicing What determines the assimilation process in this case is the voicing of the neighbouring consonants. This process affects fricative and affricate consonants. When a voiced (lenis) fricative or affricate is final in a word and the following word starts with voiceless (fortis) consonant, C changes to become its corresponding voiceless (fortis) fricative or affricate counterpart. Lenis fricative or affricate + fortis consonant Corresponding fricative or affricate

/bri: slli/ /bri: slli / /hi wz sent /hi ws sent/

breathe slowly he was sent


Assimilation of Manner

Assimilation of manner is noticeable, and is only found in the most rapid and casual speech; generally speaking, the tendency is again for regressive assimilation and the change manner is most likely to towards an easier consonant - one which make less obstruction to airflow. It thus possible to find cases where a final plosive becomes a fricative or nasal (e.g. that side s sad, good night gn naIt ), but most likely that a final fricative or nasal would become a plosive. In one particular case, we find progressive assimilation manner, when a wordinitial follows a plosive or nasal at the end to the C but with dental place articulation. For examples; in the In get them get m read these ri:d i:z Inn gettm ri:ddi:z