It is called phonetic assimilation to a process that consists in the pronunciation of a part of a word adapting and giving rise to a new sound , easier to pronounce according to the context, whether by adjacent or nearby segments. For example, the terms judge and even , which do not pose a particular difficulty in pronouncing them, evolved from judgar and hadta , respectively. Note that if such an adaptation had not occurred, its articulation in our language would be complicated.
Phonetic assimilation can occur under different conditions (proximity or adjacency) and also occur because of the previous word (in this case it is called progressive ) or with respect to the subsequent ( regressive ). Since the terms progressive and regressive generate some confusion, there are alternative names for such concepts, such as being anticipatory or from right to left and preservative or from left to right , respectively.
Regressive by adjacency : it is also called anticipatory and takes place if a phoneme uses phonetic features of the articulation of the one found immediately after;
Progressive adjacency : occurs when the articulation of a phoneme is carried out using features of the preceding one directly;
Regressive by proximity : similar to regressive assimilation by adjacency, but using a phoneme that is not found directly after the affected one;
Progressive by proximity : similar to progressive assimilation by adjacency, but using a phoneme that does not directly precede the main one.
Phonetic assimilation according to distance
Regarding this type of phonetic change, Linguistics takes into consideration the distance in which the phonemes are found between which the Assimilation is established, distinguishing in this sense Contact Assimilation, as well as distance assimilation, situations that will be understood in turn as follows:
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- Contact assimilation: is the assimilation that arises between phonemes that can be considered contiguous, that is, that is next to each other in the spoken chain. According to what Linguistics points out, this precise type of phenomenon tends to be more consistent in certain languages, one of them being Spanish. An example of phonetic assimilation by contact may be how consonant phonemes such as the / p / tend to sound when they are in an intervocalic position, due to the influence exerted by vowel phonemes on them.
- Distance assimilation: in the opposite direction, distance assimilation will be the linguistic change that occurs when a phoneme modifies its articulation due to the influence of another phoneme that is not adjacent to it in the speech chain, that is, they are not in contact. An example of this type of phenomenon can be seen in lapsus linguae, linguistic gaps where pronunciation changes, resulting in incorrect forms, for example the case where the speaker pronounces [tree] instead of [tree] due to the influence of the phoneme / l / over the phoneme / r /.
Phonetic assimilation by sense
Similarly, Linguistics chooses to distinguish a type of phonetic assimilation whose main attribute is the sense in which it occurs , that is, if the phonemes that change are, within the speech chain, preceding or after phonemes that influence this change. In this sense, two types of Assimilation by meaning can also be conceived, such as those defined below:
- Regressive assimilation: occurs when the sound that influences the phoneme that changes is found before the phoneme that influences it. An example of this type of Assimilation in Spanish occurs for example in the lapsus lingua that occurs when the shape / tree / is pronounced as / tree / since the phoneme / l / would influence the phoneme / r / which is located previous form.
- Progressive Assimilation:on the other hand, if the phoneme that changes is later in the speech chain than the phoneme that influences it, then it will be spoken of progressive assimilation, since it is given in front of the word. An example of this type of Assimilation can be given in the Iberian Spanish, around the word / become / taking into account the characteristics of each phoneme, it can be seen how / z / is performed in this variety of Spanish as an interdental phoneme, while that / t / is a dental phoneme, however, when they are contiguous in this way, for physiological reasons, both / z / and / t / are pronounced interdentally, that is to say / t / is interdentalized, due to the influence from / z /. Being next to each other would firstly be a contact assimilation.
Assimilation by scope
Finally, Linguistics will also take in the case of Assimilation the magnitude or scope of the change in the phoneme, that is, if it comes to fully assume the characteristics of the phoneme that influences it, or if on the contrary it hardly assimilates some features . Therefore, the Assimilation by scope may be classified in turn into the following subtypes:
- Total assimilation: it takes place when the changing phoneme completely abandons its features to assume the features of the phoneme that exerts influence on it. An example of this may be the form of greeting / see you later / which in some colloquial communicative registers tends to be carried out in a form / atta then / in which case the / s / would abandon its phonetic characteristics to assume those of the / t /. In this sense, it would be faced with a total Assimilation, which also occurs by contact and regressively.
- Partial assimilation: on the other hand, it can also happen that the influence of one phoneme on another hardly modifies some features of the phoneme that changes, such as moving its point of articulation, but without totally modifying the sound related to this phoneme. An example of this may be the partial modification undergone by the phoneme / n / in the form in Spanish / width / since it displaces its alveolar joint point, to be performed as a palatal phoneme, due to the influence that the phoneme exerts on it / ch /. Due to the proximity and the sense in which the partial Assimilation is carried out in this case, it would be said that it is also by contact and equally regressive.