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Subject: secondary articulation vs assimilation
Question: Hello guys

I was teaching a linguistics class and I came across this topic
''secondary articulation''. It was the first time for me to hear the
term. I had always known that the effect of a preceding or
following sound is called ''assimilation''. But in the book I have ,
both terms seem to be different. I did some research on both terms,
but I can't seem to reach a satisfying conclusion.

It says that assimilation involves quality and SA involves just
place of articulation. I find that so vague. So, is assimilation
the broader term? In other words, is secondary articulation a type
of assimilation?

Reply: My understanding here is a bit hazy because it happens that the languages I know most about don't involve much "secondary articulation". But I think I'm right in saying that no, these two concepts stand for two sharply different things. Secondary articulation, so far as I remember, is a property of a single phonetic sound, which happens to involve complex articulatory gestures. Assimilation, on the other hand, is definitely a relationship between more than one adjacent sound: it is where one sound is changed to be more like a following or preceding sound.

Geoffrey Sampson
Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
Date: 10-Jan-2014
Other Replies:
  1. Re: secondary articulation vs assimilation    Robert A Papen     (09-Jan-2014)
  2. Re: secondary articulation vs assimilation    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (09-Jan-2014)

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