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Chapter 6: Possible answers to Study Questions

 

2. Contrastive distribution of phones involves phones which can be substituted for one another to obtain different word forms. Minimal pairs (of words) are two words which differ by one contrastive phone (in the same position in each word). For example, in the words 'write' and 'ride' (/rait/ and /raid/), /t/ and /d/ are in contrastive distribution. Complementary distribution of phones involves two or more phones, one of which only appear in environments where the other one does not appear. For example, the /s/ ~ /z/ contrast in the words 'writes' and 'rides' (/raits/ and /raidz/). In this case /s/ and /z/ are considered to be in complementary distribution because one (/s/) occurs at the end of a word after a voiceless consonant, while the other (/z/) occurs at the end of a word after a voiced consonant.

Contrastive distribution of morphs involve morphs which can be substituted for one another to obtain different word forms (inflections and derivations). For example, in the words 'played' and 'player' (/pleid/ and /pleir/), the morphs [d] and [r] combine with a morpheme [plei] to obtain two contrastive word forms (the first one, played, an inflected form, and the second one, player, a derived form).

Complementary distribution of morphs involve two or more morphs which only appear in environments where the other one does not appear. For example, the words 'played' and 'taken' (/pleid/ and /tekn/) are verbs which are inflected with the past participle. The past participle morph [d] only occurs in environments (with particular lexemes) where the past participle morph [n] does not occur.

4. Phonological conditioning of alternations: predictable: eg. yu"z-ler-iniz 'your faces'; recurrent e.g., -ler/-lar 'plural', -e/-a 'to'. Morphological conditioning of alternations: sometimes predictable: e.g., swells/holes, swelling/holing; sometimes unpredictable eg. swollen/*swelled, holed/*holen; sometimes recurrent eg. tell-told, sell-sold [e] vs. [au]; sometimes non-recurrent eg. catch-caught [aet ] vs. [O:].

 

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