In descriptions of phonetics and phonology, the manner and place of articulation of a speech sound may be specified relative to some point of comparison. For example, as a consequence of velar palatalization the English consonant /k/ is fronted before the vowel /iː/, compared to the articulation of /k/ before other vowels, and in many geographic regions, the vowel /uː/ is fronted.
The relative position of a sound may be described as advanced (fronted), retracted (backed), raised, lowered, centralized, or mid-centralized. The latter two terms are only used with vowels, and are marked in the International Phonetic Alphabet with diacritics over the vowel letter. The others are used with consonants and vowels, and are marked with iconic diacritics under the letter. Another dimension of relative articulation that has IPA diacritics is the degree of roundedness, more rounded and less rounded.
Famous quotes containing the word relative:
“Are not all finite beings better pleased with motions relative than absolute?”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)