Group members names: Katherine Yi, Cira Tapia, Joshua Kurian  


Weekly Lab #2 


LING 190 


  1. Here is Weekly Lab #2.
  2. Have fun doing it.
  3. Complete it in groups or individually.
  4. To do so, copy and paste this entire document into a new Google Doc that you will share with your group.
  5. Work hard on it for about 45 minutes and spend about 15 minutes as a group just talking about what you did and learned. You are welcome to spend more time on these labs, but my intention is for you to work for about the time we would normally be in class to complete the lab. By doing so, you will earn full credit.
  6. Afterward, turn in what you and your group completed by embedding it into your individual website.
  7. All labs are due Fridays by 11:59pm.
  8. I will be in our Collaborate room during class time on Wednesdays. Come to ask questions and work in groups if you would like.

Phonetics questions 


Part 1: Chapter 3 Study Questions 


1. What do we call the space between the vocal folds?

     a. Glottis 

2. How many fricatives are in the pronunciation of mechanic?


3. In casual speech, what is the most common vowel?


4. Look at Discussion Topics/Projects at the end of Chapter 3 in our book, specifically II which talks about paired expressions in English like criss-cross, zig-zag, etc.

Can you think of any additional examples?

i. Pit pat

ii. Hit hat

iii. Kit-Kat

a.  How can you describe the regular pattern of sounds in these expressions?

Repetitive first sounds. Or first letters are the same. Only the vowel is changed.

Part 2: Explore The World Atlas of Linguistic Structures

Let’s look at the phonetic inventory of languages around the world. 


  • In doing so I want us to think about things like:
    • How many phones do they have?
    • Does the amount of phones vary greatly?
    • In languages with small phonetic inventories, are the same phones used across these languages or does there seem to be no pattern of overlap?

Getting started 


  1. Go to The World Atlas of Linguistic Structures located at:
  2. Click on Features located in the menu.
  3. Click on Consonant Inventories

a. You should now see a world map with colored dots. Each colored dot represents a language.

b. Consonant inventories of the languages in the world are divided into 5 categories from Small to Large. If a language is in the Small category this means that it has a small amount of consonants compared to other languages.

c. If you click on a dot, you can see the name of the language and which category it belongs to.

d. Locate the Legend at the top left of the world map. You can use the Legend to select specific categories of consonant inventories. This is important for the next step.

Tasks to complete:

  1. Complete the following tasks:
    • Select 3 languages from each category of Consonant Inventories and write them down according to category. The Legend helps with this. Use the tables provided below.
    • Click on Features in the menu.
    • Click on Vowel Quality Inventories.
    • Select the same 3 languages from each category of Vowel Quality Inventories and write them down according to category.
    • Where does the phonetic inventory of English, vowels and consonants, fit into the world languages? In other words, in which categories do we find English vowels and consonants?


Consonant Inventories 


Small Moderately small Average Moderately large Large
Languages Kiao Kisi (Southern) Diola-Fogny Ewe Konyagi
Efik Temme Kpelle Wolof Ngizim
Krongo Bariba Bambara Ndut Fyem

There’s a paper that talks about how Efik is gaining some consonants from English 


Vowel Inventories 


Small Average Large
Languages Greenlandic (west) Hawaiian English
Aleut (eastern) Japanese Wu (Chinese)
Malagasy Spanish Catalan

Greenlandic and Aleut have three vowel systems, which is common in that part of the world. These vowels do form a subset of English vowels, but they have the same allophonic variation as English. 


Spanish has the most common type of vowel system, the five vowel system.  


Catalan still has less vowels than English, but they do have different sound change rules. 


Shanghainese, a sub-dialect of Wu Chinese, has some of the same vowels as English, but it has some different ones. It has /ɤ/, /ø/. It also has some nasal vowels.. 


Part 3: Phonology questions 


  1. In French, the words /bo/ for beau (“handsome”) and /bõ/ for bon (“good”) seem to have different vowels. Are these vowels allophones or phonemes in French?
  2. These are phonemes, because they form a minimal pair, as shown above. <beau> and <bon> are different words with different meanings, and their different pronunciations show that /o/ and /õ/ are different phonemes.The English phonemes that have these features /k/.
  3. What is an aspirated sound and which of the following words would normally be pronounced with one?

        a. ill, pool, skill, spool, stop, top

The underlined words have aspirated consonants. The general for English, is that a consonant stop is aspirated if it does not follow another consonant. For example, p in pool is aspirated, but the p in spool comes after another consonant, so it is not aspirated. 


An aspirated consonant is a consonant that shows emphasis on a specific point of the word like pushing more air out in one consonant such as in the letters p, t or k.  


Part 4: Understanding language from a linguistic perspective 


There is a famous quote about Language by Roman Jacobson: 


“Languages do not differ on what they can express, but rather in how they must express.” 


  1. What does this mean? Can you give an example to support your response?

Language uses many different words that can have the same outcome.  


One common distinction that exists in social interactions within all groups is the difference between the inclusive “we” and the exclusive “we”. In English, “we” includes the speaker and some other person, it could be a third person or the listener. For an English speaker to specify that they are including the listener, they would have to say “you and me”. However in Malayalam, and many other languages with a clusive plural 1st person pronoun, there is a specific word, in this instance /nam:aɭ/, that means you and me. Some dialects of Chinese also have specific word for this, <暗门>, though it is nonstandard. In general, an idea can either be expressed in one word, or several words, and different languages have different preferences or options for doing so.