Category Archives: Human Communication 101

Vowel Harmony

vowel harmony

VOWEL HARMONY Definition: Replacing the unstressed vowel in a multisyllabic word with the vowel that receives the primary stress. Comment:  Vowel harmony affects unstressed vowels. They are assimilated to the vowel within the syllable that receives the primary stress so that both vowels are the same – they harmonize. Harmony can spread from left-to-right (progressive) or from right-to-left (regressive). Examples: […]

Read more ...



Assimilatory processes Assimilation is said to have taken place when one speech segment is transformed into another owing to the influence of a neighboring segment. In the majority of cases the segments are individual speech sounds but there are instances where a whole syllable will influence a neighboring syllable. There are also instances where the neighboring segment is, in […]

Read more ...



LABIALIZATION Definition: Replacing tongue tip consonants with labial consonants. Comment: Labialization occurs when a tongue tip consonant /t d n s z θ ð/ is substituted by a labial consonant /p b m w f v/ made at the same place of articulation.   NB: Substitution of the liquid /l/ is excluded from this definition (because substitution by /w/ would be […]

Read more ...


8B Gliding

GLIDING Definition: Replacing a continuant (especially a liquid) with a glide. Comment: In principle, gliding occurs when any continuant is replaced with a glide /w j/. However, a particular and common instance of gliding is gliding of liquids. In this process it is just the liquids /r l/ that are replaced with a glide /w j/.   Gliding is […]

Read more ...


7B Frication

  FRICATION Definition: Replacing an approximant with a fricative. Comment: Frication occurs whenever an approximant consonant (a glide /w j/ or a liquid /r l/) is substituted by a fricative consonant /f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ h/. Examples: you /ju/ → /zu/ red /rɛd/ → /ðɛd/   Recall that there are four approximants in English (two […]

Read more ...


6B Denasalization

DENASALIZATION Definition: Replacing nasal sounds with homorganic (same place) stops. Comment: Denasalization is a special case of stopping. Stopping involves replacing continuant consonants with stop consonants. In the case of denasalization, the continuant consonants that are stopped are the nasals /m n ŋ/. They are substituted by a stop consonant produced at the same place of articulation. Examples: me /mi/ […]

Read more ...


5B Stopping

STOPPING Definition: Replacing continuant consonants with stop consonants. Comment: Stopping occurs when continuant consonants (nasals, fricatives, affricates and approximants) are substituted with a stop consonant /p b t d k g ʔ/. Examples: sun → /tʌn/                          (syllable-initial stopping) love → /lʌb/                         (syllable-final stopping)   Recall that one of the distinguishing features of speech sounds is the manner of their articulation, i.e. the […]

Read more ...


phon101 Systemic Simplifications

Unlike structural simplifications, systemic simplifications do not alter the syllable structure of a word. Rather, they systematically alter a particular type of speech sound and replace it with another speech sound. Systemic simplifying processes may be divided into two types: substitution assimilation NEXT>> Substitution

Read more ...



There are many different types of substitution that can be made in typically developing speech. We will consider seven of these in this subsection: fronting backing stopping denasalization frication gliding labialization NEXT>> Fronting

Read more ...


4B Backing

BACKING Definition: Replacing a non-velar or non-glottal consonant with a velar or glottal consonant. Comment: Backing occurs whenever a non-velar or non-glottal consonant (i.e. a bilabial, labio-dental, dental, alveolar, post-alveolar or palatal consonant) is substituted by a velar /k ɡ ŋ/ or glottal /h ʔ/consonant. Examples: duck /dʌk/ → /kʌk/          (syllable-initial backing) bad /bæd/ → /bæɡ/          (syllable-final backing)   In order […]

Read more ...