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Encyclopedia > Fortis and lenis

Fortis (from Latin fortis "strong") and lenis (from Latin lenis "weak") are linguistics terms. Latin is the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ...


In a wide sense, they refer to the opposition of consonants such as p, t vs. b, d. In a narrow sense, fortis refer to consonants such as p, t pronounced with tenseness (more muscular tension) and lenis to consonants such as b, d pronounced without. Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... Tenseness is a term used in phonology to describe a particular vowel quality that is phonemically contrastive in many languages, including English. ...

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History and use of the terms

These terms have already been used in 19th century German Linguistics, in order to describe languages such as southern German where consonants such as b, d are voiceless but nonetheless different from p, t. The terms are only seldomly used in current linguistics.


Opposition of p, t versus b, d

Normally, the opposition of consonants such as p, t vs. b, d is described in terms of voiceless consonants vs. voiced consonants. There are languages where this is indeed the only feature that distinguishes them (e.g. French: IPA [p, t] vs. [b, d]). In many languages, however, the phonetic voice is only one of several features that constitutes this opposition (e.g. English: IPA [pʰ, tʰ] vs. [b, d]). There are even languages where the phonetic voice is not a distinctive feature of these pairs at all (e.g. southern German: IPA [pʰ, tʰ] vs. [b̥, d̥]). In phonetics, a voiceless consonant is a consonant that doesnt have voicing. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


The terms fortis and lenis (in the wide sense) apply to this opposition regardless of whether it's only an opposition of voice or not. Therefore, it allows to speak in the same terms of French, English, or southern German consonants.


Consequently, they refer to a bundle of articulatory features which have different distributions in different languages. Not all of them need to be present in a particular language:

In phonetics, a voiceless consonant is a consonant that doesnt have voicing. ... A voiced consonant is a sound made as the vocal cords vibrate, as opposed to a voiceless consonant, where the vocal cords are relaxed. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some obstruents. ... Tenseness is a term used in phonology to describe a particular vowel quality that is phonemically contrastive in many languages, including English. ...

Tenseness

The tenseness is the feature that distinguishes fortis and lenis in the narrow sense: In the articulation of the fortis, more muscular energy is used. Tenseness is a term used in phonology to describe a particular vowel quality that is phonemically contrastive in many languages, including English. ...


In Korean, a higher fundamental frequency of the following vowels is thought to be a result of increased muscular tension in stop consonant. In Swiss German, no possible acoustical correspondent of the assumed tenseness has been found. Consequently, it is debated whether the Swiss German opposition is really based on different muscular tension, and not on gemination. A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch, Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizerdütsch, Schwyzertütsch, Schwizertitsch) is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland. ... Swiss German (Schweizerdeutsch, Schwyzerdütsch, Schwiizerdütsch, Schwyzertütsch, Schwizertitsch) is any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland. ... Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...


Some languages distinguish consonants solely by tenseness or laxness: some dialects of Adyghe distinguish voiceless tense stops from voiceless lax stops, and both are separate phonemes from voiced lax stops. Adyghe (Адыгэ) is one of the two official languages of the Federal Republic of Adygeya in the Russian Federation. ...


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  Results from FactBites:
 
Fortis and lenis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (423 words)
Fortis (from Latin fortis "strong") and lenis (from Latin lenis "weak") are linguistics terms.
In a narrow sense, fortis refer to consonants such as p, t pronounced with tenseness (more muscular tension) and lenis to consonants such as b, d pronounced without.
The tenseness is the feature that distinguishes fortis and lenis in the narrow sense: In the articulation of the fortis, more muscular energy is used.
Fortis and lenis (405 words)
In Icelandic, for instance, both lenis and fortis stops (plosives) are unvoiced.
One of the effects of this phenomenon is that fortis consonants tend to shorten or 'clip' the sounds they follow (see clipping).
The fortis stops p,t,k are postaspirated (most authorities use the term "aspirated") when they occur at the beginning of stressed syllables.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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