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Phonemic Assimilation

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Phonemic assimilation overview

In phonemic assimilation the new, transformed speech sounds are not allophones of the original sound but, rather, they are substituting phonemes. For example, in connected speech, the phrase that person /ðæt pɜsən/ may sound more like [ðæp̚ pɜsə̃n], with the final /t/ of that being substituted not with an allophone of /t/ but with another phoneme /p/. Hence, processes such as this are known as phonemic assimilations.

We will consider three types of phonemic assimilation in connected speech:

  1. assimilation of voice
  2. assimilation of place
  3. assimilation of manner

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