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Phonological analysis of English speech sounds
Articulatory analysis of speech sounds
Principles of classification of speech sounds.
Articulation basis. Differences in the articulation basis of English and Russian.
The articulatory classification of English consonants
Of English vowels
Speech sounds are subdivided into 2 main types: vowels and consonants. The main principals of this division are the following:
- The presence or absence of abstraction
- The distribution of muscular tension
- The force of the air stream, coming from the lungs
Vowels are speech sounds based on voice. There is no abstraction in their articulation. The muscular tension is spread evenly throughout the speech organs. The force of the air stream is rather weak.
Consonants are speech sounds in articulation of which there is an abstraction. The removal of the abstraction causes nose explosion or friction. The force of the air stream is great.
The articulatory boundary between vowels and consonants is not well marked. There are speech sounds that occupy an intermediate position between vowels and consonants and they have common features with both of them. Sonorant: /m, n, y, r, l, w, j/. Like vowels they are largely based on voice. There is an abstraction in their articulation and the muscular tension is concentrated at the place of abstraction like in the production of consonants.
Some sonorants can be syllabic in some particular position. The consonants w, r, j due to their great sonority, they are sometimes refer to the semi-vowels.
Due to the identical structure of speech organs of people of different nations and races all l-ges have sounds of identical types. Being identical typologically these sounds are not identical articulator. The differences in the articulation of sounds in different l-ges are explained by the fact that each l-he has its own tendencies and modes of articulation.
1. The tongue is brandered and flattened
2. The tip is slightly down back from the teeth
3. The lips are neutral. The upper lip is tensed - напр€жена.
Tip of the tongue: apical dorsal
The bulk of tongue: tense to occupy more flat and lower positions than in the articulation of Russian consonants
Voice and voiceless distinction: in English voiceless consonants in final positions are strong while voiced consonants are weak and partially devoiced. (For ex, cat, bird). In Russian there are no voiced consonants in the final position. Voiceless consonants are weak except sonorants.
Lips: in Russian the lips are deliberately protruded and rounded (o, y). In English in the articulation of the similar sounds the protrusion does not take place.
Tongue: in English the tongue is slightly drown back. In Russian the tongue occupied mostly the front part of the mouth.
Tension: in English vowels are not very tense objectively, but they seem tense in comparison to Russian vowels. In English unstressed vowels do not differ in quality from a stressed one. /open/, /window/. In Russian an unstressed vowel is always short and different in quality fro the same vowel in the stressed syllable.
English vowels can be short or long. Difference between vowels: they differ in length. In Russian vowels differ in quality but not in quantity. They may be pronounced in a longer way for purposes of emphasis but the length of vowels doesn`t differentiate words with different meanings. (Bit [i] Ц beat [i:])
Russian phoneticians classify consonants according to:
1. Work of the vocal cords and the force of exhalation
2. Active organs of speech and the place of obstruction
3. The type of obstruction and the manner of nose production
4. The position of the soft palate
1) According to the vocal cords consonants are subdivided into voiced and voiceless. B/p, d/t, etc.
2) The force of exhalation and the degree of muscular tension are greater in the production of voiceless consonants that are called à Fortis = strong Ц сильные. Voiced consonants are called Lenis = soft, weak. The muscular tension is weaker in their articulation.
3) According to the active organs of speech which form an obstruction consonants are subdivided into:
1. labial when the obstruction is formed by lips: bilabial /p, b, m, w/ and labia-dental /f, v/
2. lingual: forelingual (means the front part of the tongue) that subdivided into apical /t, d, s, z, th,/ and cucuminal sounds /r/; medialingual /j/; backlingual /h/
4) According to the ways of obstruction consonants are claasified into:
1) Dental or interdental
2) Alveolar /t, d, n, w, s, z/
3) Postalveolar Ц the tip of the tongue is against the back part of the teeth range. /r/
4) Palatal /j/ - the tongue and the central part of the tongue
5) Palatal-alveolar /ch, sh, dз, з/
6) Velar /ng/
According to the type of obstruction they can be differentiated:
1. Occlusive (смычные) Ц in their production there is a complete closure (смычка) /t, d, /
2. Constrictive Ц in their production there is a constriction which means narrowing or incomplete closure /s, з/
3. Occlusive Ц constrictive Ц in their production the complete closure is immediately followed by a constriction. They are formed by the combination of a complete closure following by an incomplete one.
Manner of nose production: when the complete closure is broken the nose which appears is that of aplosure. The nose resulting from the movement of the narrow stream in the narrowing is that of friction. When closure is followed by narrowing the two effects are combined.
4.Position of the soft palate. English consonants is subdivided into:
2)nasal (m, n, ng).
When the soft palate is raised the air from the lungs gets into the mouse cavity. In this case oral consonants are produced. When the soft palate is lowed , the air from the lungs passes through the nasal cavity. In this way the nasal consonants are produced.
Classification of vowels
There is no abstraction in their pronunciation. English vowels are: long and short. There are vowels which consist of one or two letters.
1. Describe and classified vowels as respect to mother tongue with Daniel Johns. He worked out a system of 8 cardinal vowels. The system is an international standard which presents a set of artificial vowels and which contains all the vowel types existing in different languages in the world. Its important that any language can be represent. In reference to this system the vowel sounds of any real language in the world may be described and be classified. Sometimes this system is called the vocalic Esperanto.
Front part Back part
I (close vowel) u
E (half-close) o
e (half-open) o (полукруг)
a (open vowels) a
The tongue can move and vertically. And according to this movements Danial Jones represented his 8 cardinal vowels.
The position of the tongue: the bulk of the tongue conditions the production of different vowels most to all. Lots horizontal and veridical movement form the sound forms of particular language.
Front vowel Back
Close Ц I u
Half-close Ц e o(short)
Half-open Ц ee а o(polykryg)
open - a a
5.Acfcording to the stability of articulation English vowels are classified into monophthongs and diphthongs (ei, ai, au, ou, ia, e, oe, ue).
Diphthongiset vowels Ц i:, u:.
In diphthongs there are 2 vowel elements:
Ј The nucleus Ц is stronger, more definite and it is syllabic.
Ј The glide
3 types of diphthongs:
Ј Falling Ц the nucleus is stronger than the glide.
Ј Rising Ц the glide is stronger than the nucleus.
Ј Level Ц both elements are equal.
The English diphthongs are falling. Speaking about the rising diphthongs are
common in Italian language.
Daniel Jons considers the diphthongs ie and ue in some positions is rising. Ex: happier.
In some position the diphthong ou, when it is pronounce as an exclamatory with a high-rising tone can be called level.
Phonological analysis of English speech sounds
1. The phoneme. Its definition, aspects and functions.
2. The phoneme theory.
3. Methods of phonological analysis.
4. Modifications of forms in speech.
5. Sound interchange.
6. Types of transcription.
1.Phonology Ц is a branch of phonetics which investigates sounds of speech as units which served people for communicative purposes. Unlike phonetics which studies as articulative and acoustic units. In real speech we pronounce a great variety of sounds. Some of the sounds help to differentiate words because they are different phonologically. Their interchange changes the meaning of the words and interferes with communication. Ex: pill Ц bill.
At the same time there are sounds which partially differ in articulation and acoustic value. But they donТt differ phonologically. They canТt differentiate words. Their substitution does not interfile with communication. It only causes a foreign accent. Ex: pill Ц p Ц is strongly aspirated. Spill Ц p - loses aspiration.
The firs type of vowels which is phonologically important is phonemes. Every language has a limited number of sound types that is of phonemes. They are shared by all the native speakers of the language, and they are linguistically important Ц they distinguish words. These sound types are called phonemes. In English there 20 vowel phonemes, and 24 consonants. In Russian 6 vowels and 5 consonants.
In actual speech sounds pronounced by speaker are variants of the phonemes existing in the language. And these really pronounced variants are called allophones. Ex: vain Ц wain.
Allophones Ц are sounds that cannot distinguish words in a definite language. They occur only in certain positions or in combination with certain sounds. They are realizations of one and same phoneme.
L Ц call [ko:l], light /lait/. Dark L and light L.
Linguists have not arrived to the definition to the phoneme acceptable to all.
There are several conceptions of the phoneme among Russian and foreign
linguists and non of them is satisfactory from all points of view. The difficulty of giving such a definition lies in the fact the phoneme has several aspects and functions. ThatТs why itТs impossible to give a formal definition in a single sentence that would reflect all the aspects and function.
Professor VasilТev suggests a rather short working definition.
The phoneme Ц is the smallest further indivisible into small segments language unit that exists in the speech of all the members of a given language community as such speech sounds which are capable of distinguishing one word from another word of the same language, or one grammatical from another of the same word.
The phoneme is a dialectical unity of the 3 aspects reflected in the above mentioned definition:
Ј The phoneme is material, real and objective Ц a phoneme has a material aspect in the sense that it is represented by concrete material sounds. ItТs allophones. In other words the phoneme exists in speech in the material form of speech sounds. What is material is at the same time is real. The phoneme is the linguistic reality, because it exists in actual speech. The phoneme is objective because it exists independently of the will of individuals. One person can change the number of phonemes.
Ј The phoneme is instructional and generalized Ц is obstructional and generalized character phoneme of the world. The phoneme is abstracted from its allophones, but at the same time it is characterized by the features common to all of them. Ex: phoneme/ b/ - exclusive, bilabial, same allophones can be partially devoiced.
Ј The phoneme is also a functional unit Цthe first aspect is reflected in the definition by VasilТev as the smallest language unit capable of differentiating words and their grammatical forms.
The 3 three aspects are interconnected and they determine one another.
The 3 linguistic functions are:
Ј The distinctive function Ц consists in the differentiation of the language units higher than the phoneme itself. The distinctive function of the phoneme may be subdivided: 1) morpheme distinctive Ц teach and teacher; 2) word or form distinctive Ц pen-ten, ask Ц asks(form); 3)sentence distinctive Ц It was cold Ц It was gold Ц It was bold; The distinctive function is the principle function of the phoneme.
Ј The constitutive function Ц though the phoneme in isolation has no meaning it is linguistically important because in their material forms it constitutes words, morphemes which are meaningful.
Ј The identificatory function Ц the recognitive function consists in making words with their grammatical forms and then whole sentences easily recognizable as the result of the use of the right phoneme in the right place.
2. The theory came into being into Russia. It was founded by professor I.A. Baudoun de Courtenou. The fundamental principals of the phoneme theory were worked out by him during the 1870. His teaching eventually became known in Western Europe primarily through his disciples. He was a representer of sociological school of linguistics which was current in his time. According to his theory a speech sound is a sound of definite acoustic quality produced by the organs of speech. An given speech sound is incapable of variation. A phoneme is defined by him as a group of related sounds of a given language which is so used in the connected speech that no one of them ever occurs in the positions which any other can occupy.
Speech sounds which belong to the same phoneme cannot distinguish one word from another. But phonemes distinguish one word from another in the same language. B de c point of view was later developed by his disciple Lev Sherba (1880 Ц 1944). Hi separated phonetic from phonology and stated that sounds are not only articulative and acoustic units, but they also possess functional properties. Sherba noted that in actual speech we pronounce a greater variety of sounds then we are aware of. In every language all these sounds are united in a comparatively small number of sound types. These sound types are capable of distinguishing meanings and forms of words. These sound types are called phonemes. And the actual speech sounds that we pronounce and that are the individual representing the universal are called phonemic variants or allophones.
SherbaТs conception is a true materialistic theory of the phoneme. He was the first to define the phoneme as a real independent distinctive unite which manifests itself in the form of its allophones.
There are some other view on the nature of the phoneme.
From physical point of view the phoneme is a family of related sounds in which varies members of the family must show articulatory similarity to one another and at the same time no member of the family may occur at the same phonetic contest as any other. This approach overestimates the material aspect of the phoneme since it view the phoneme as a group of articulateraly similar sounds without any regard to its functional and abstract aspects. The physical point of view was put forward by Daniel Jones. A similar approach is expressed by the French linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. He viewed the phoneme as the sound of acoustic impressions and particular movements.
The opposite approach is reflected in the so called functional view. It regards the phoneme as the minimal sound unit by which meanings may be differentiated without much regard to actually pronounced speech sounds. According to this conception the phoneme is not a family of sounds since in every sound not all the articulatory features are involved in the differentiation of meanings. Only the features helping differentiate meanings are called distinctive and they make the phoneme corresponding to them. ThatТs why the approach excludes not distinctive features from the phoneme.
The approach was first expressed by Nikolay Trubetskoy, the head of the linguistic school. He define the phoneme is a unity of phonologically relevant features. He wrote that when the phoneme is neutralized it becomes an arci phoneme, which is an obstruction combining the distinctive features common to 2 forms. Ex: luk Ц lug. According to his point both g and k represent the arci phoneme k which is neither voiced nor voiceless.
The similar view is expressed by American phoneticians who defined the phoneme as a bunch of distinctive features and obstructional fiction.
3.The first problem of phonological analysis is to establish the phonemes in a definite language. This can be done with a help of particular phonological groups. There exist two principal methods of phonological analysis:
Ј Distributional method Ц is based on the phonological rule that different phonemes can freely occur in one and the same position while allophones of one and the same phoneme occur in different positions. Ex: pi Ц bi Ц the same set of sounds, but p and b differentiate words. ThatТs why the distributional method of analysis is a purely formal method of identifying the phonemes of a language. This methods works even if a linguist does not know the language he analysis.
Ј Semantic method - is based on the phonological rule that a phoneme can distinguish words when a post to one another or to a zero phoneme in an identical phonetic position.
The oppositions when a phoneme is a post to the phoneme are called a phonological opposition. (See Ц sees Ц seat) When a phoneme is a post to a zero phoneme is called zero opposition. (See Ц sees) The pairs of words which differ only in one speech sound are called minimal pairs. (Pill Ц Bill)
The semantic method attaches great attention to meaning. The investigator studies the function of sounds by collecting minimal pairs of words in the language. If 2 speech sounds distinguish words with different meanings they form a phonological opposition and are realizations of 2 different phonemes. If not Ц they are allophones of one and the same phoneme. The method was used to study the phonetic structure of the small nations of a former USSR and it helped to create written forms of these languages.
There are some cases when the establishment of phonological oppositions is not enough to determine the phonetic states of the sound. In the English language there are some sounds of a complex nature. Ex: tch, dzh, tr, dr, ts, dz.
In the English language these sounds form phonological oppositions and distinguish words. (eat Ц each) At the same time we have had Ц hage, die Ц dry, hat Ц hats. Are all the combinations monophonemic or byphonemic.
There are rues worked out by Nikolay Trubetskoy wich help to answer this question:
1. The main rule is that the phoneme is indivisible that is why no syllabic division can occur within a phoneme.
2. A phoneme is produced by one articulatory afford.
3. The duration of a phoneme should not exit the duration of other phonemes in the language.
First of all tsh and dzh (cheese, gale) are monophonemic, because acoustic physiological analysis proved that these sounds are produced by one articulatory afford and no syllabic divisions occur within these phonemes. They are phonemes.
Ts Ц dz Ц are byphonemic combinations because their duration exits (превышать) the average duration of the sounds t, d, s, and z.
Tr Ц dr Ц the phonetic stators of these clusters is not decided yet. Danial Jones calls them affricates as well as d and dzh, but other phoneticians regard them as byphonemic clusters.
There are monothongs and diphthongs. The same problem concern the phonemic stators o the English diphthongs and so-called triphthongs whether they are monophonemic or byphonemic. The syllabic and articulatory indivisibility of English diphthongs determine their monophonemic character in English. Aie , aue Ц it has been proved that they cannot be considered an monophonemic because they are not produced by single articulatory afford, and there is an increase in the force of articulation and intensity not only for the first element but for the second as well. Moreover the syllabic division generally occurs between the diphthong and the third element. Ex: flower (oue). ThatТs why they are combinations of the triphthongs and the neutral vowel e.
It was established that in standard English pronunciation which is called received pronunciation there are 12 vowel monothongs, there are 8 diphthongs and 24 consonant phonemes.
4.In connected speech every phoneme displaced a vast range of variation. There are 3 principal types of phoneme variation:
Ј Idiolectal variation Ц they are individual peculiarities of pronunciation which are caused by the individual shape and form of the speakers speech organs and by his articulative habits. Ex: a speaker can lisp, mumble, stemmer and so on. Caused a lot of difficulty in communication.
Ј Diaphonic variation Ц affects the quality and quantity of particular phonemes. It is caused by historical tendencies active in certain localities. Ex: [e Ц a] Class. Diaphonic variations do not affect intelligibility in speech. They inform the listener about the speakerТs origin and its social standing.
Ј Allophonic variation Ц is the less noticeable. It is caused by phonetic position. The influence of the neighboring sounds and the style of speech. Allophonic variations in vowels:
- Reduction. In unstressed syllables English vowels are considered modified which causes such a variation a phoneme as reduction. Reduction is weakening of articulation and shortening of the duration of unstressed vowels resulting in modification of their quality and quantity. There are 3 types of reduction:
1) Qualitative reduction. Ex: can [ken].
2) Quantitative reduction. Ex: he [hi].
3) Zero reduction (elision). Vowel disappears in unstressed syllable. Ex: can [kn].
- Accommodation Ц a process of adapting the articulation of a vowel to a consonant or vice or versa consonant to a vowel. Ex: man Ц ten. E becomes nasalized.
Allophonic variations in consonants:
- The quality of an English consonant mostly depends on its positions in a word or utterance. Ex: in the final position voiced consonants lose their closive and voiced character. Ex: God.
Sh, zh, tch, dzh, l Ц they are slightly palatalized before mid and close vowels and the sound [j]. Ex: June. The palatalization of these sounds is caused by the anticipatory up word movement of the bulk of the tongue for the next sound.
- Assimilation Ц itТs a modification of a consonant under the influence of the neighboring sounds. In fact itТs only consonants. Types of assimilation: according to the direction of assimilation it can be of 4 types:
1) Progressive assimilation Ц when the first sound influences the following one making it similar to itself. Ex: desks Ц s, bags Ц z.
2) Regressive assimilation Ц the second of the two sounds makes the first similar to itself. Ex: at the. T becomes dental under the influence of interdental th.
3) Double (reciprocal) assimilation Ц when two sounds influence each other changing their articulation. Ex: twice Ц t influences w, and w becomes partially devoiced. The sound w is rounded, but t is not, after the influences the sound t becomes rounded.
4) Coalescent assimilation Ц it results in the appearance of a new phoneme. It happens when the sound [jt] or [jd] and [zj]. Ex: how do you do? When we pronounce it quickly the sound d and j become close to each other.
In Russian voiceless voiced distinction can be completely lost. Ex: субпродукты. The sound b becomes under assimilation.
There are 2 obligatory assimilations of this type in English:
1. Used to Ц in this case you should pronounce it [st].
2. But I used two pens. [zd] Have to Ц to have.
There is one more process underdone both by vowels and consonants. It is called allysion. It is a disappearance of a sound in speech; there are 2 types of allysion:
1) Historical Ц reflects the process in which a sound which existed in a earlier form of a word was emitted in its later form. [kabed]
2) Juxtapositional - in such allysion a sound which exists in a word pronounced by itself is dropped in connected speech. Ex: blind man, sit down.
Assimilation or all the allophonic variations occur not only in rapid and careless speech. They are characteristic of standard pronunciation, but they are more obvious and more frequently occur in the colloquial and fluent speech. Absence of these modifications informs the listener that the speaker is not a native speaker of the language.
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