Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Palatalization means pronouncing a sound nearer to the hard palate, making it more like a palatal consonant; this is towards the front of the mouth for a velar or uvular consonant, but towards the back of the mouth for a front (e.g. alveolar) consonant. The modification can be purely phonological, or it can become lexical if it is absorbed as a historical change. It tends to occur in the vicinity of front vowels or palatal approximants.
Palatalization is common in many languages. Some English examples are:
- The 't' of "question" and "nature" are pronounced as 'ch', or the 'd' of "soldier" and "procedure" sound like 'j'. As these examples suggest, in English orthography, palatalization is often indicated by a following 'i' or 'u'. An example from casual speech can be found when "what are you up to" comes out like "whacha up to."
- The historical change in pronunciation of the initial sound in Caesar from the /k/ sound in Classical Latin to the familiar /s/ sound in English and some other languages. This change occurred universally in Latin after front vowels such as 'e' or 'i.'
- Iotation, a form of palatalization in Slavic languages
- Soft sign, a Cyrillic alphabet grapheme indicating palatalization
- Manner of articulation
- List of phonetics topics
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