13.1 Phonetic & Phonological Analysis: What are co-articulations, articulations & their various articulating organs? How do they impact language?

Chapter 13

13.1 Highlight co-articulations, articulations and the various articulating organs

Co-articulations, Articulations and the number of articulating organs

Most articulations are single i.e. have only two articulating organs: one passive and the other active. We also have co-articulations namely. The sounds discussed so far have a single articulation – one active articulator and one passive articulator


It is possible for sounds to be articulated at two different places. This is called co-articulation. There are two types of co-articulation.

 Co-ordinate or double co-articulation

These are two simultaneous articulations resulting in one sound segment. The two are said to be of the same rank or degree of stricture i.e. if the first is open approximation, the second also is e.g. in articulating /w/, there is the approximation and rounding of the lips.

So the sound is said to be bilabial (rounding of lips). At the same time, the back of the tongue is raised towards the velum for an open approximation. So the sound is dorso-velar. The two postures take place at the same time. Vocalic sounds have a double articulation.

Secondary co-articulation

The two simultaneous articulations are of different ranks. One articulation is primary and the other is secondary. The articulations are used to form the adjective that names the sound. The secondary articulation is mostly of an open approximation e.g. /t/ can have the secondary articulation and it is said to be labialized. The sound is described phonetically in square brackets [tw] and the secondary articulation indicated with a diacritic. Other secondary articulations are nasalization, pharyngealization, velarization, palatalization, rhotacical, retroflexion etc.

 Homorganic sound sequences

These are successive occurrences of two similar or different articulations. The two make up one sound unit, transcribed with one phonetic/ phonemic symbol. The orthography however, two graphemes (letters) are used.


This refers to a sequence of two identical or almost identical consonants. The two consonants are clearly pronounced within one and the same morpheme

E.g. [ll] in Allah – God in Arabic

[tt] in notte – night in Italian

[nn] in nnadi- name in Yoruba


An affricate is a stop that is released into a homographic fricative within one and the same morpheme. E.g. t ∫ – lamino – post alveolar stop that is released into a post alveolar Fricative. ts – Apico alveolar stop that is released into an alveolar fricative.

 Lateral fricatives

The stop is released into a homorganic lateral fricative e.g. t – alveolar stop /t/ released

into the lateral fricative /l/

 Prenasalised stop

A stop that is preceded by a homorganic nasal e.g. mb nd mp nt usually found in African languages.



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