What is “Assimilation”? Write about the various forms of assimilation in 1000 words (+-10%)
Assimilation in the field of language and linguistics is a process where by a sound is altered as a result of an (usually) adjacent sound and is concerned with the way in which sounds become phonetically similar to one another.
Initially, it is important to note that not all types of assimilation occur with every speaker, and they take different forms. Although one rule of assimilation may occur with a speaker, it does not necessarily mean that this rule will always apply, most assimilation only occurs in natural speech, and very rarely in Received Pronunciation.
There are several kinds of assimilation, all of which involve features of either of the two neighbouring sounds transferring/altering completely or partially the initial sound. When the source of the change comes before the changed sound, or where the sound influence is from left to right (X→Y), this is known as progressive or preservative assimilation. For example, consider the word happen. If the word is pronounced precisely the result would sound like [hæpǝn]. However, if the word was placed, say, into natural, free flowing speech, or if the rate at which is was articulated was increased, we would probably find that the result sounded more like [hæpm]. What has happened in this case is that the alveolar nasal [n] has become the bilabial nasal [m] because the sound that precedes it is the bilabial stop [p]. Therefore it is the preceding sound which has changed the following sound.
If we were to then find that we have the opposite case, where the sound is influenced by the sound which follows it (Y→X), than this is known as regressive or anticipatory assimilation. For example, [inƱpt] is far more likely to be articulated in spoken speech than [impƱt]. In this case, the alveolar [n] is becoming more similar to the bilabial plosive [p] by becoming a bilabial nasal [m] so that now share the same place of...