Assimilation in Linguistics

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Assimilation in Linguistics

 

assimilation of sounds, a phonetic change which consists of the transformation of one sound into another under the influence of an adjacent sound. In this process there is a concurrence of all (complete assimilation) or part (partial assimilation) of the distinctive features which were previously distinguished from the corresponding distinctive features of the adjacent sound. If the assimilating sounds are directly adjacent, the phenomenon is called contact assimilation; if they are not, it is called distant assimilation. In progressive assimilation, a later sound is assimilated by the preceding sound, whereas in regressive assimilation, the preceding sound is assimilated by the later one. For example, see svad’ba (wedding) from the earlier svat’ba (cf. svat [matchmaker]) or the Polish sfora (leash) from the earlier swora. The first of these pairs illustrates regressive assimilation; the second, progressive assimilation (with regard to their voiced or unvoiced quality).

A. K. POLIVANOVA

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.