Voicelessness

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This article is about the linguistics concept. Voicelessness_sentence_0

For other uses, see Voiceless (disambiguation). Voicelessness_sentence_1

Voicelessness_table_infobox_0

VoicelessVoicelessness_header_cell_0_0_0
◌̥Voicelessness_header_cell_0_1_0
EncodingVoicelessness_header_cell_0_2_0
Entity (decimal)Voicelessness_header_cell_0_3_0 ̥Voicelessness_cell_0_3_1
Unicode (hex)Voicelessness_header_cell_0_4_0 U+0325Voicelessness_cell_0_4_1

In linguistics, voicelessness is the property of sounds being pronounced without the larynx vibrating. Voicelessness_sentence_2

Phonologically, it is a type of phonation, which contrasts with other states of the larynx, but some object that the word phonation implies voicing and that voicelessness is the lack of phonation. Voicelessness_sentence_3

The International Phonetic Alphabet has distinct letters for many voiceless and modally voiced pairs of consonants (the obstruents), such as [p b], [t d], [k ɡ], [q ɢ], [f v], and [s z]. Voicelessness_sentence_4

Also, there are diacritics for voicelessness, U+0325  ̥ COMBINING RING BELOW and U+030A  ̊ COMBINING RING ABOVE, which is used for letters with a descender. Voicelessness_sentence_5

Diacritics are typically used with letters for prototypically voiced sounds, such as vowels and sonorant consonants: [ḁ], [l̥], [ŋ̊]. Voicelessness_sentence_6

Voiceless vowels and other sonorants Voicelessness_section_0

Sonorants are sounds such as vowels and nasals that are voiced in most of the world's languages. Voicelessness_sentence_7

However, in some languages sonorants may be voiceless, usually allophonically. Voicelessness_sentence_8

For example, the Japanese word sukiyaki is pronounced [sɯ̥kijaki] and may sound like [skijaki] to an English speaker, but the lips can be seen to compress for the [u̥]. Voicelessness_sentence_9

Something similar happens in English words like peculiar [pʰə̥ˈkj̊uːliɚ] and potato [pʰə̥ˈtʰeɪtoʊ]. Voicelessness_sentence_10

Voiceless vowels are also an areal feature in languages of the American Southwest (like Hopi and Keres), the Great Basin (including all Numic languages), and the Great Plains, where they are present in Numic Comanche but also in Algonquian Cheyenne, and the Caddoan language Arikara. Voicelessness_sentence_11

Sonorants may also be contrastively, not just environmentally, voiceless. Voicelessness_sentence_12

Standard Tibetan, for example, has a voiceless /l̥/ in Lhasa, which sounds similar to but is less noisy than the voiceless lateral fricative /ɬ/ in Welsh; it contrasts with a modally voiced /l/. Voicelessness_sentence_13

Welsh contrasts several voiceless sonorants: /m, m̥/, /n, n̥/, /ŋ, ŋ̊/, and /r, r̥/, the last represented by "rh". Voicelessness_sentence_14

In Moksha, there is even a voiceless palatal approximant /j̊/ (written in Cyrillic as <йх> jh) along with /l̥/ and /r̥/ (written as ⟨лх⟩ lh and ⟨рх⟩ rh). Voicelessness_sentence_15

The last two have palatalized counterparts /l̥ʲ/ and /r̥ʲ/ (⟨льх⟩ and ⟨рьх⟩). Voicelessness_sentence_16

Kildin Sami has also /j̊/ ⟨ҋ⟩. Voicelessness_sentence_17

Contrastively voiceless vowels have been reported several times without ever being verified (L&M 1996:315). Voicelessness_sentence_18

Lack of voicing contrast in obstruents Voicelessness_section_1

Many languages lack a distinction between voiced and voiceless obstruents (stops, affricates, and fricatives). Voicelessness_sentence_19

This is the case in nearly all Australian languages, and is widespread elsewhere, for example in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Finnish, and the Polynesian languages. Voicelessness_sentence_20

In many such languages, obstruents are realized as voiced in voiced environments, such as between vowels or between a vowel and a nasal, and voiceless elsewhere, such as at the beginning or end of the word or next to another obstruent. Voicelessness_sentence_21

That is the case in Dravidian and Australian languages and in Korean but not in Mandarin or Polynesian. Voicelessness_sentence_22

Usually, the variable sounds are transcribed with the voiceless IPA letters, but for Australian languages, the letters for voiced consonants are often used. Voicelessness_sentence_23

It appears that voicelessness is not a single phenomenon in such languages. Voicelessness_sentence_24

In some, such as the Polynesian languages, the vocal folds are required to actively open to allow an unimpeded (silent) airstream, which is sometimes called a breathed phonation (not to be confused with breathy voice). Voicelessness_sentence_25

In others, such as many Australian languages, voicing ceases during the hold of a stop (few Australian languages have any other kind of obstruent) because airflow is insufficient to sustain it, and if the vocal folds open, that is only from passive relaxation. Voicelessness_sentence_26

Thus, Polynesian stops are reported to be held for longer than Australian stops and are seldom voiced, but Australian stops are prone to having voiced variants (L&M 1996:53), and the languages are often represented as having no phonemically voiceless consonants at all. Voicelessness_sentence_27

In Southeast Asia, when stops occur at the end of a word they are voiceless because the glottis is closed, not open, so they are said to be unphonated (have no phonation) by some phoneticians, who considered "breathed" voicelessness to be a phonation. Voicelessness_sentence_28

Voicelessness_table_general_1

Yidiny consonantsVoicelessness_table_caption_1
Voicelessness_header_cell_1_0_0 BilabialVoicelessness_header_cell_1_0_1 AlveolarVoicelessness_header_cell_1_0_2 RetroflexVoicelessness_header_cell_1_0_3 PalatalVoicelessness_header_cell_1_0_4 VelarVoicelessness_header_cell_1_0_5
StopVoicelessness_header_cell_1_1_0 bVoicelessness_cell_1_1_1 dVoicelessness_cell_1_1_2 Voicelessness_cell_1_1_3 ɟVoicelessness_cell_1_1_4 ɡVoicelessness_cell_1_1_5
NasalVoicelessness_header_cell_1_2_0 mVoicelessness_cell_1_2_1 nVoicelessness_cell_1_2_2 Voicelessness_cell_1_2_3 ɲVoicelessness_cell_1_2_4 ŋVoicelessness_cell_1_2_5
LateralVoicelessness_header_cell_1_3_0 Voicelessness_cell_1_3_1 lVoicelessness_cell_1_3_2 Voicelessness_cell_1_3_3 Voicelessness_cell_1_3_4 Voicelessness_cell_1_3_5
RhoticVoicelessness_header_cell_1_4_0 Voicelessness_cell_1_4_1 rVoicelessness_cell_1_4_2 ɽVoicelessness_cell_1_4_3 Voicelessness_cell_1_4_4 Voicelessness_cell_1_4_5
SemivowelVoicelessness_header_cell_1_5_0 Voicelessness_cell_1_5_1 Voicelessness_cell_1_5_2 Voicelessness_cell_1_5_3 jVoicelessness_cell_1_5_4 wVoicelessness_cell_1_5_5

Yidiny consonants, with no underlyingly voiceless consonants, are posited. Voicelessness_sentence_29


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voicelessness.