) or palatization
refers to a way of pronouncing a consonant in which part of the tongue is moved close to the hard palate
. Consonants pronounced this way are said to be palatalized
and are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet
by affixing the letter ⟨ʲ⟩ to the base consonant. Palatalization cannot minimally distinguish
words in most dialects of English, but it may do so in languages such as Russian, Mandarin and Irish.
In technical terms, palatalization refers to the secondary articulation
by which the body of the tongue
is raised toward the hard palate
and the alveolar ridge
during the articulation of the consonant. Such consonants are phonetically palatalized. "Pure" palatalization is a modification to the articulation of a consonant, where the middle of the tongue is raised, and nothing else. It may produce a laminal
articulation of otherwise apical
consonants such as /t/ and /s/.
Phonetically palatalized consonants may vary in their exact realization. Some languages add semivowels
before or after the palatalized consonant (onglides or offglides). In Russian
, both plain and palatalized consonant phonemes are found in words like большой [bɐlʲˈʂoj] (listen)
, царь [tsarʲ] (listen)
and Катя [ˈkatʲə] (listen)
. Typically, the vowel (especially a non-front vowel) following a palatalized consonant has a palatal onglide. In Hupa
, on the other hand, the palatalization is heard as both an onglide and an offglide. In some cases, the realization of palatalization may change without any corresponding phonemic change. For example, according to Thurneysen,[full citation needed]
palatalized consonants at the end of a syllable in Old Irish
had a corresponding onglide (reflected as ⟨i⟩ in the spelling), which was no longer present in Middle Irish
(based on explicit testimony of grammarians of the time).
In the International Phonetic Alphabet
(IPA), palatalized consonants are marked by the modifier letter
⟨ʲ⟩, a superscript version
of the symbol for the palatal approximant
⟨j⟩. For instance, ⟨tʲ⟩ represents the palatalized form of the voiceless alveolar stop
[t]. Prior to 1989
, a subscript diacritic (⟨ᶀ ꞔ ᶁ ᶂ ᶃ ꞕ ᶄ ᶅ ᶆ ᶇ ᶈ ᶉ ᶊ ƫ ᶌ ᶍ ᶎ⟩) and several palatalized consonants were represented by curly-tailed variants in the IPA, e.g., ⟨ʆ⟩ for [ʃʲ] and ⟨ʓ⟩ for [ʒʲ]: see palatal hook
. The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
marks palatalized consonants by an acute accent
, as do some Finnic languages using the Latin alphabet, as in Võro
⟩. Others use an apostrophe, as in Karelian
⟨s’⟩; or digraphs in j
, as in the Savonian dialects
Palatalization has varying phonological
significance in different languages. It is allophonic
in English, but phonemic
in others. In English, consonants are palatalized when they occur before front vowels or the palatal approximant, but no words are distinguished by palatalization (complementary distribution
), whereas in some of the other languages, the difference between palatalized consonants and plain un-palatalized consonants distinguish
between words, appearing in a contrastive distribution
(where one of the two versions palatalized or not, appears in the same environment as the other).
In some languages, like English, palatalization is allophonic
. Some phonemes
have palatalized allophones in certain contexts, typically before front vowels
and unpalatalized allophones elsewhere. Because it is allophonic, palatalization of this type does not distinguish
words and often goes unnoticed by native speakers. Phonetic palatalization occurs in American English. Stops are palatalized before the front vowel /i/ and not palatalized in other cases.
Phonemic palatalization may be contrasted with either plain or velarized
articulation. In many of the Slavic languages
, and some of the Baltic
and Finnic languages
, palatalized consonants contrast with plain consonants, but in Irish
they contrast with velarized consonants.
Russian нос /nos/
"nose" (unpalatalized /n/)
Some palatalized phonemes undergo change beyond phonetic palatalization. For instance, the unpalatalized sibilant (Irish /sˠ/, Scottish /s̪/) has a palatalized counterpart that is actually postalveolar
/ʃ/, not phonetically palatalized [sʲ], and the velar fricative /x/ in both languages has a palatalized counterpart that is actually palatal /ç/ rather than palatalized velar [xʲ]. These shifts in primary place of articulation
are examples of the sound change of palatalization
In some languages, palatalization is used as a morpheme
or part of a morpheme. In some cases, a vowel caused a consonant to become palatalized, and then this vowel was lost by elision
. Here, there appears to be a phonemic contrast
when analysis of the deep structure
shows it to be allophonic.
, consonants are palatalized before /i/. Palatalized consonants appear at the end of the word, and mark the plural in nouns and adjectives, and the second person singular in verbs.
On the surface, it would appear then that ban
[ban] "coin" forms a minimal pair
[banʲ]. The interpretation commonly taken, however, is that an underlying morpheme |-i| palatalizes the consonant and is subsequently deleted.
Palatalization may also occur as a morphological
feature. For example, although Russian makes phonemic contrasts between palatalized and unpalatalized consonants, alternations across morpheme boundaries are normal:
In some languages, allophonic palatalization developed into phonemic palatalization by phonemic split
. In other languages, phonemes that were originally phonetically palatalized changed further: palatal secondary place of articulation developed into changes in manner of articulation or primary place of articulation.
Phonetic palatalization of a consonant sometimes causes surrounding vowels to change by coarticulation
. In Russian, "soft" (palatalized) consonants are usually followed by vowels that are relatively more front
(that is, closer to [i] or [y]), and vowels following "hard" (unpalatalized) consonants are further back
. See Russian phonology § Allophony
for more information.
In Slavic languages
, palatal or palatalized consonants are called soft
, and others are called hard
. Russian has pairs of palatalized and unpalatalized consonant phonemes. The vowel letters ⟨е
⟩, and ⟨и
⟩ indicate that the consonant preceding them is soft. The soft sign
⟨ь⟩ also indicates that the previous consonant is soft.
and Scottish Gaelic
have pairs of palatalized (slender
) and unpalatalized (broad
) consonant phonemes. In Irish, most broad consonants are velarized
. In Scottish Gaelic, the only velarized consonants are [n̪ˠ] and [l̪ˠ]; [r] is sometimes described as velarized as well.
Palatalized consonants occur in standard Mandarin Chinese
in the form of the alveolo-palatal consonants, which are written in pinyin
, and x
In the Marshallese language
, each consonant has some type of secondary articulation (palatalization, velarization, or labiovelarization
). The palatalized consonants are regarded as "light", and the velarized and rounded consonants are regarded as "heavy", with the rounded consonants being both velarized and labialized.
Many Norwegian dialects
have phonemic palatalised consonants. In many parts of Northern Norway and many areas of Møre og Romsdal, for example, the words /hɑnː/ ('hand') and /hɑnʲː/ ('he') are differentiated only by the palatalisation of the final consonant. Palatalisation is generally realised only on stressed syllables, but speakers of the Sør-Trøndelag dialects will generally palatalise the coda of a determined plural as well: e.g. /hunʲː.ɑnʲ/ or, in other areas, /hʉnʲː.ɑn/('the dogs'), rather than */hunʲː.ɑn/. Norwegian dialects utilising palatalisation, will generally palatalise /d/, /l, /n/ and /t/.
There are local or historical uses of the term palatalization.
In Slavic linguistics, the "palatal" fricatives marked by a háček
are really postalveolar consonants
, which historically arose from palatalization. There are also phonetically palatalized consonants, marked with an acute accent
, which contrast with that. Thus, a distinction is made between "palatal" (postalveolar) and "palatalized". Such "palatalized" consonants are not always phonetically palatalized. For example, when Russian "soft" consonants appear before front vowels (particularly [i]), they are not palatalized and contrast with "hard" consonants (which are typically not palatalized) that are velarized in the same context.
linguistics, "palatalization" has the standard phonetic meaning: /s/, /sʲ/, /ʃ/, /t/, /tʲ/, /tʃ/ are distinct phonemes, as they are in Slavic languages, but /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ are not considered either palatal or palatalized sounds. Also, the Uralic palatalized /tʲ/, unlike in Russian, is a stop with no frication.
- ^ Chițoran (2001:11)
- ^ See Lightner (1972:9–11, 12–13) for a fuller list of examples.
- ^ Bauer, Michael. Blas na Gàidhlig: The Practical Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation. Glasgow: Akerbeltz, 2011.
- ^ Nance, C., McLeod, W., O'Rourke, B. and Dunmore, S. (2016), Identity, accent aim, and motivation in second language users: New Scottish Gaelic speakers’ use of phonetic variation. J Sociolinguistics, 20: 164–191. doi:10.1111/josl.12173
- Bynon, Theodora. Historical Linguistics. Cambridge University Press, 1977. ISBN 0-521-21582-X (hardback) or ISBN 978-0-521-29188-0 (paperback).
- Bhat, D.N.S. (1978), "A General Study of Palatalization", Universals of Human Language, 2: 47–92
- Buckley, E. (2003), "The Phonetic Origin and Phonological Extension of Gallo-Roman Palatalization", Proceedings of the North American Phonology Conferences 1 and 2, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.81.4003
- Chițoran, Ioana (2001), The Phonology of Romanian: A Constraint-based Approach, Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 3-11-016766-2
- Crowley, Terry. (1997) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.
- Lightner, Theodore M. (1972), Problems in the Theory of Phonology, I: Russian phonology and Turkish phonology, Edmonton: Linguistic Research, inc
- Pullum, Geoffrey K.; Ladusaw, William A. (1996). Phonetic Symbol Guide. University of Chicago Press.
Last edited on 10 June 2021, at 22:28
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