Friday, June 16, 2006

What? Already?

Y'all remember that I started my first Summer session of school back there at the end of May? Well, I've got one more class day and then it's finals. Finals!

Woof. That went fast.

Most interesting items so far: Definitely phonemes.
z --> s/C[-voice]__#
z --> ez/C[+affricate]__#
Thus z, s, & ez are all allophones of the same phoneme. Cool, right? means that when we are speaking and pluralize a word, such as dog or nose we make a z sound at the end. The z sound is almost universal except for words that end in an unvoiced consonant such as cat or mop where we use the s sound. Words that end in an affricate such as church or fish get an ez sound added to them.

What's truly interesting about this both phonetically and morphologically is that you don't have to teach children these rules, they just absorb them. And they know that the rules are there because they over generalize them (gooses, childs, foots). Not to mention goed and comed.

Really very cool.

The second half of Summer classes (Social Psychology and Recent American Fiction) starts July 5.

I won't be around much this week due to studying for a CLEP exam I'm taking a week from tomorrow.


Yankee T said...


Yankee T said...

You are smart AND interesting. Kiss Muffin Man for me.

Pink Cupcake said...

That was fast! Good luck with the finals, although I'm sure you don't need it. :)

Mrs. Coulter said...

Yeah, that is *so* cool! When kids start to overgeneralize, then you know they are starting to internalize the rules of English grammar, instead of just parroting what they hear from adults. As Lyra would say, "I've got two feets!"

Genevieve said...

Good luck!!

That is very cool -- I've never noticed the z/s difference in plurals before.

Did you ever read "The Scientist in the Crib"? You might like it -- all about how babies and toddlers learn things (I think including language, though it's been about 6 years since I read it).

susan said...

I love, love, love linguistics. So glad to find fellow enthusiasts.

I love to use "one fish, blue fish, red fish...." as an example in class, too, when we're talking about irregular plurals (a legacy of the considerably-more-complex Old English system of plural formation, in case anyone was wondering).