Double articulation


Double articulation

In linguistics, the term double articulation or duality of patterning refers to the way in which the stream of speech can be divided into meaningful signs, which can be further subdivided into meaningless elements. So for example, the meaningful English word "cat" is composed of the sounds [k], [æ], and [t], which are meaningless as separate individual sounds (and which can also be combined to form the separate words "tack" and "act", with distinct meanings). According to Charles F. Hockett and other linguists, this is an important property of human languages, since it allows for the expression of a large number of meaningful language sequences using combinations of a small number of discrete sound elements or phonemes. For further discussion, see figurae.

For consonants with two simultaneous primary places of articulation, see doubly articulated consonant.