LINGUIST List 10.1839

Wed Dec 1 1999

Disc: What Exactly Are Allophones?

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Suzanne Urbanczyk, What Exactly Are Allophones?
  2. Francisco Dubert, Re: 10.1824 What Exactly Are Allophones?

Message 1: What Exactly Are Allophones?

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 13:52:20 +0000
From: Suzanne Urbanczyk <urbansuucalgary.ca>
Subject: What Exactly Are Allophones?



For an entirely different perspective on what an allophone is, check out this
week's Back Bench (date 11/27).

The image has a sign which says 'ALLOPHONES'.
To the right of the sign is a row of telephone booths.
In the penultimate phone-booth, is a fellow saying:

'ALLO?'

<><><><><><><><><><>
Dr. S. Urbanczyk
Department of Linguistics
University of Calgary
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Message 2: Re: 10.1824 What Exactly Are Allophones?

Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 11:30:15 +0100
From: Francisco Dubert <fgdubertusc.es>
Subject: Re: 10.1824 What Exactly Are Allophones?

At 14:39 30/11/99 -0500, Dan Moonhawk Alford wrote:

>What a bizarre set of postings on this topic! "Grown" linguists treating
>allophones as "things," abstract entities just like phones and phonemes!


thank you very much.



>I was either taught or learned by experience that "allophone", written by
>itself, is a giant "STAR!" The only safe way to use the form is in the
>phrase "[X] IS AN ALLOPHONE OF /Y/ IN LANGUAGE Z", as in "flap is an
>allophone of /t/ and /d/ in English". So there is no such "thing" as an
>allophone, only phones being in ALLOPHONIC RELATIONSHIP to phonemes.

Are you saying that the phrase "[X] IS AN ALLOPHONE OF /Y/ IN LANGUAGE Z"
is equivalent to "[X] IS AN ALLOPHONIC RELATION OF /Y/ IN LANGUAGE Z"? 

Are you saying that we must begin the definition of the word/concept
ALLOPHONE with "a kind of relation..." or "the relation..."?


With the phrase "[X] IS AN ALLOPHONE OF /Y/ IN LANGUAGE Z", are you saying
that [B] (i.e. [labial, aproximant, voiced, etc.]) is an allophonic
relation of /b/ in Galician or in Spanish?

I think that the phone [B] is in allophonic relation to the phone [b],
because they are allophones of the phoneme /b/ in Galician or in Spanish. 

The allophones are entities (defined or) characterized by maintaining some
kind of relations: this relations are allophonic. What is allophonic is the
relation, and the relation is allophonic because it is between allophones.
We need to define what is an allophone to knowing what is an allophonic
relation.

In my humble opinion, the concept 'allophone' is nearer to a thing than to
a relation.







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