Can anyone tell me which noun should I use for absorbing; is it absorbtion or absorption?
I read some articles in which (in my opinion) both words were used interchangeably. Or maybe it was a typo.
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The correct one is, as SF says, absorption, not absorbtion.
Absorb has a B but when the suffix -tion is appended to it, the second B changes to P. So why does it happen?
Human vocal tract is designed in such a way that consonant clusters that differ in voice are difficult to pronounce, because changing from voiced to voiceless consonant requires independent movement of the larynx, which can be difficult to switch on and off during normal speech.
There's a process called Assimilation which makes nearby sounds more similar. There are three main types of assimilation; assimilation of place, voicing assimilation and assimilation of manner.
Absorption is an example of Voicing assimilation. This assimilation had already occurred in Latin before the word entered English.
We could say, the final sound of absorb is voiced bilabial plosive, it became voiceless bilabial plosive in anticipation of the following voiceless sound of the suffix -tion (i.e. /ʃ/).
Other examples include:
Voicing assimilation is very common, for instance, the plural marker -s becomes /z/ when the preceding sound is voiced, and the past tense marker -ed is pronounced /t/ when the preceding sound is voiceless