Student first name
The Study of Language G
Name of lecturer/tutor
Dr Dan Devitt
Take-home Test: Phonetics and Phonology
27 September 2013, 5:00 PM
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GENERAL DIRECTIONS: The take-home test consists of nine questions focused on concepts and skills related to phonetics and phonology for a total of 65 marks. Your final score out of 65 will be converted to a ratio over 35 for the calculation of your final grade.
# Read each question and be sure to respond to all parts of the question.
# Please print out the test and write your answers directly on the test paper in the spaces provided.
# Please use blue or black ink and write your name on each page of the test.
# Please staple the pages of your completed test together and submit to the tutor directly or to my mailbox (Box #26 Building 20 on Level C).
1. Insert the appropriate descriptive terms for the consonant symbol and a word that begins with the sound. (10 marks)
2. Insert the appropriate descriptive terms for the vowel symbol and a word that contains the sound. (5 marks)
3. The following is a transcription of an utterance into IPA (vowels follow the MD transcription system). Rewrite the line in conventional English orthography. (5 marks)
[ɪf jʉː toːk tʉ ə mæn ɪn ə læŋgwɪdʒ hiː ʌndəstændz ðæt ɡəʉz tʉː hɪz hɛd.
ɪf jʉː toːk tʉ hɪm ɪn hɪz læŋgwɪdʒ ðæt ɡəʉz tʉː hɪz hat.]
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
4. Each of the words below has one error in the transcription. Circle the error in the transcription and write out a corrected transcription in the space provided. (5 marks)
5. Compare the careful speech and rapid speech pronunciations of the following English phrases and name the process/processes (assimilation, deletion, addition/epenthesis, etc.) that make the rapid speech pronunciation different from the careful speech. (5 marks)
you can go
[ju kæn gəʉ]
[ju kæŋ gəʉ]
6. Provide a minimal pair to demonstrate that each of the sounds in the sets below is phonemic in English. (5 marks)
[θ] & [ð]
Thy & Thigh
[θ] & [t]
Thick & Tick
[n] & [ŋ]
Thin & Thing
[d] & [n]
Nice & Dice
[æ] & [ɔ]
Hat & Hot
7. Indicate the feature(s) that distinguishes the pairs of sounds. (5 marks)
[b] & [m]
[b] is [-nasal] & [m] is [+nasal]
[p] & [f]
[p] is [-continuant] & [f] is [+continuant]
[f] & [θ]
[f] is [-coronal] & [θ] is [+coronal]
[p] & [k ]
[p] is [+interior] & [k ] is [-interior]
[w] & [j ]
[w] is [-consonantal] & [j ] is [+consonantal]
8. The data below are from Oneida, an Iroquian language spoken in central New York State and parts of Canada. Examine the data and answers the questions below. For this question, focus on the sounds [s] and [z].
`let him count`
`I`m taking it`
`he`s been playing`
`let him drag it`
`one pine tree`
`he dropped it`
`a different one`
`they changed it`
`she saw you`
`you ate corn`
a. State whether the [s] and [z] in Oneida are separate phonemes or allophones of a single phoneme. (2 marks)
[s] and [z] are allophones of the same phoneme
b. Explain how you arrived at your conclusion? (3 marks)
[s] and [z] complementary distribution
c. If you have decided they are separate phonemes, state the features that distinguish them. If you have decided they are allophones of the same phoneme, describe the environment each allophone occurs in. (5 marks)
[s] occurs before a consonant while [z] occurs in between two vowels.
9. Write a short response (200-250 words) to the following prompt. (For this question please type your answer using double-spaced 12-point font, print it out and attach it to the test as a separate page.) (15 marks)
There has been a recurrent and long-standing debate about the efficacy, even the necessity, of offering focused training on pronunciation as a skill in learning a second language. After having read and thought about the key concepts in phonetics and phonology, what is your opinion on this matter? Should standard pronunciation be taught? Can standard pronunciation be taught? If not, why not? If so, how should it be approached? How have points that have been introduced from the introduction to phonetics and phonology changed your thinking on the matter? Be sure to incorporate concepts from theoretical phonetics and phonology into your answer.
It is definitely necessary to offer focused training on pronunciation skill in learning a second language. The main reason behind this necessity is that words change their meanings when pronounced even slightly differently, in other words, how the sounds of the words determine their meaning. Accordingly, a standard pronunciation should be taught. The existence of a standard pronunciation will make the teaching and learning task easier. To further point this out, consider the many languages and dialects that exist today. These languages and dialects affect how people using them as their local or first language, pronounce the second language being taught to them. This would result greater confusion or miscommunication when people using different first language use the same secondary language as they pronounce the latter very or slightly differently. Hence there is a need for a standard where both parties can look into to understand each other. Teaching standardized pronunciation will be very hard yet possible. It will require the teachers of the second language to first understand the primary language of the learners, such as, what sounds do they use and which sounds in the second language they don`t. In other words, the teacher should compare the phonology of both languages so that he/she will now which sounds should be emphasized while teaching the learners.
McQuarie University (2012). `Phonetics and Phonology`, McQuarie University [online]. Available at: