Local Assimilation


Local assimilation is the process of two adjacent sounds becoming more alike as a result of phonotactic constraints. Complete assimilation is when two segments become identical, whereas partial assimilation is when two segments become more alike, though not identical (Zsiga, 2013, p. 235).


Hul’q’umi’num’: Suffixes which contain /n/ word-initially become /l/ when combined with a root that has a word-final /l/.

  • The transitive suffix /-nəxʷ/ ‘limited control’ appears as /-ləxʷ/ when suffixed onto an /l/ word-final root; for example, /cə́l-ləxʷ/ ‘catch up with him’, where the assimilated phoneme is in bold (Suttles, 2003, p. 19).

Secwepemctsin: Simple velars are replaced by their labialized counterparts when directly adjacent to rounded vowels or consonants. The following example is from Gibson (1973. p. 16).

  • /xətəq’ʷúsiʔ/ becomes  [x-tq’-ús-n-ʔ] ‘I plugged it