Presentation on theme: "Suprasegmentals The term suprasegmental refers to those properties of an utterance which aren't properties of any single segment. The following are usually."— Presentation transcript:
Suprasegmentals The term suprasegmental refers to those properties of an utterance which aren't properties of any single segment. The following are usually considered suprasegmental properties: stress tone intonation length organization of segments into syllables
THE NATURE OF STRESS We will study stress from the point of view of production and perception. The production of stress is generally believed to depend on the speaker using more muscular energy than is used for unstressed syllables, the muscles that we use to expel air from the lungs are more active, producing higher subglottal pressure. It seems probable that similar things happen with muscles in other parts of our speech apparatus. From the perceptual point of view, all stressed syllables have one characteristic in common, and that is prominent, stressed syllables are recognized as stressed because they are more prominent than unstressed syllables. What makes a syllable prominent? We will analize 4 different factors:
The realization of stress in English In English, the three ways to make a syllable more prominent are to make it: louder longer higher pitched (usually) As well, there are major differences in the articulation of vowels between stressed and unstressed syllables.
Prominence then, is produced by 4 main factors: 1.- loudness 2.-length 3.- pitch 4.-quality
Word Stress Word stress is a feature used to give prominence to one or more syllables within a word. Usually, this is the type of prominence we tend to apply to words produced in isolation, as we find them in a dictionary. Most approaches to word stress distinguish between three possible levels: primary stress, marked by ˈ preceding the relevant syllable secondary stress, marked by ˌ preceding the syllable in question, as in impossibility / ɪ m ˌ p ɒ s ɪˈ b ɪ l ɪ ti/
The impression of stress is not usually due to a simple feature of higher intensity of the relevant syllable, but is often caused by a combination of pitch movement, length of the vowel at the core of the syllable, and intensity, rather than by any one of these three features. Intensity actually seems to play the weakest role in the creating the impression of prominence, pitch the strongest, length occupying the ‘middle ground’.
First of all, syllables with long vowels or diphthongs tend to attract stress, while weak or reduced syllables are far less likely to be accentuated. The stronger the weakening/reduction of vowels inside a syllable is or the shorter a vowel becomes, the more the syllable appears to become de-accented. A distinction between primary and secondary stress is often difficult to make if a word contains two syllables with strong vocalic elements.
1.- Most people seem to feel that stressed syllables are louder than unstressed, in other words loudness is a component of prominence. In a sequence of identical syllables (ba-ba- ba-ba), if one syllable is made louder than the others, it will be heard as stressed. However it is important to realise that it is very difficult for the speaker to make a syllable louder without changing other characteristics of the syllable.
2.- The length of syllables has an important part to play in prominence If one of the syllables in our Word ba-ba-ba is made longer than the others there is quite a strong tendency for that syllable to be heard as stressed
3.- Every syllable is said in some pitch. This is in relation to the frequency of vibration of the vocal folds and to the musical notion of low and high pitched notes. It is essentially a perceptual characteristic of speech. If one sylable of our “nonsense Word” Is said with a pitch that it is noticeably different from that of the others, this will have a strong tendency to produce the effect of prominence. For example, if all syllables are said with low pitch except for one said with high pitch, then the high pitched syllable will be heard as stressed and the others as unstressed. To place some movement of pitch (rising or falling) on a syllable is even more effective
4.-A syllable will tend to be prominent if it contains a vowel that is different in quality from neighbouring vowels. If we change one of the vowels in our nonsense Word ba-bi-ba-ba, the odd syllable bi, willl be heard as stressed. This effect is not very powerful nor very important, but there is one particular way in which it is relevant in english.
In this case, pitch usually plays the decisive role, but, interpreting the pitch patterns correctly may be made difficult by the effects of voiceless consonants, as well as other intonational cohesive effects, although our ears seem to be pretty good at resolving ‘ambiguities’ of this kind. Apart from this, most speech analysis programs have problems in representing pitch patterns properly.