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Introduction to Linguistics 2 The Sound System

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1 Introduction to Linguistics 2 The Sound System
Prof. Jo Lewkowicz

2 Review of week 1 What is language?
In what ways do languages differ from each other? In what ways is human language similar to / different from animal communication? What role does context play in determining meaning? What is the difference between an utterance and a sentence? What do you understand by the following utterance? If you leave your car in this road, it’s likely to get a ticket.

3 Systems of language Language consists of 3 interlocking systems
The system of sounds The system of words The system of grammar These systems form the resources for creating meaning Each system is language specific Each can be pulled apart and put back together again

4 The sound system The sound system of any language can be studied from two points of view: how individual sounds in the language are made (phonetics) The relationship between sounds and meaning (phonology)

5 Organs of speech

6 How do we make speech sounds?
Use air from our lungs as well as the organs of speech, i.e. lips, tongue, teeth , vocal cords to create different sounds By manipulating the sounds in different ways we make different sounds Phonemes are different sounds that indicate a different meaning, e.g. pill/bill, till/dill, mill/nil Allophones are variations in pronunciation of individual sounds that do not signal difference in meaning, e.g. the difference in the way the /l/ is pronounced according to the sounds that surround it, as in plane and pail. Which sounds can be put together in a given language is rule governed, i.e. certain sounds can go together while others cannot. In English /ng/ can appear at the end of a string of sounds as in ‘sing’ but not at the beginning (as opposed to languages such as Thai where /ng/ can appear at the beginning).

7 Processes of speech production
Initiation process of expelling air from the lungs Phonation process of opening or narrowing of the vocal chords as the air stream goes through, producing either voiced sounds (e.g. /b/, /d/) or voiceless sounds (e.g. /p/, /t/) Articulation The way in which the tongue and lips impede and manipulate the flow of air.

8 Representing spoken language
More sounds in English than letters e.g.12 vowel sounds, only 6 vowel letters The relationship between spelling and the way words are pronounced is opaque in English (as compared to Finnish) Would you consider Polish a more or less opaque language? To represent pronunciation the International Phonetic Alphabet has been created Allows representation of how words are pronounced coot /ku:t/– cute /kjut/ Allows dialectical variations to be noted coupon /kupan/ - /kjupan/ Allows the notation of languages for which there is no writing system e.g. Kpelle spoken in Liberia

9 Types of sounds 1 Consonants
Made by obstructing the air stream in different ways as it leaves the lungs. Consonants are classified according to: Voicing (voiced / voiceless) Manner of articulation (how the sound is made, e.g. by stopping the air in the mouth and then expelling it quickly as in the plosive sounds /p/ & /b/. Plosives (stops) /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /?/ Nasals /m/,/n/, /ŋ/ Fricatives /f/, /v/, /θ/, / ð/, /s/, /z/, /∫/, /З/, /h/ Affricates /t∫/, /dЗ/ Liquids /l/ , /r/ Glides /w/ , /j/ Place of articulation (where in the mouth the air is stopped or obstructed) Bilabial (2 lips) Labiodental (teeth and lips) Interdental (tongue between the teeth) Alveolar (tongue touching the alveolar ridge) Palatal (tongue raised towards the hard palate) Velar (back of the tongue raised at the velum) Glottal (air is stopped at the glottis)

10 Types of sounds 2 Vowels Diphthongs
Air stream is never blocked when producing vowels They form the nucleus of the syllable & can stand alone Vowels are classified according to: Tongue height (high, mid, low) The part of the tongue being raised (front, middle, back) Shape of the lips ( spread, neutral, round) Vowel length (short, long) Diphthongs Combination of 2 sounds (vowel + glide) e.g. fly, toy, cloud

11 Vowel Chart

12 Sound and meaning The study of sounds & the relationship between sound and meaning is called phonology Two branches of phonology segmental: involving individual sounds suprasegmental: stress, rhythm & intonation

13 Segmental phonology Look at the following pairs of sentences: in what way do they differ? He beat the dog - Look at that rock! He bit the dog - Look at that lock! The differences are in a single sound (phoneme) Phonemes are the building blocks of meaning Words that differ in a single phoneme (either vowel or consonant) are known as minimal pairs Languages do not necessarily share the same phonemes, e.g. In Japanese there is no distinction between /l/ & /r/, hence you might think a Japanese air steward(ess) has said: Have a good fright, instead of : have a good flight Make a list of 5 minimal pairs in English

14 Suprasegmental phonology
Stress – emphasis placed on a syllable or a word This 'building is 'VERY 'noisy THIS 'building is 'very 'noisy Rhythm – tune of the language, pattern of stressed & unstressed syllables English is a stress-timed language, therefore the pattern is irregular Intonation – raising and lowering of voice pitch to convey aspects of meaning not different meaning as in tonal languages This is the house. (falling tone) This is the house? (rising tone)

15 Communicative functions of intonation
Emotional to express boredom, excitement, surprise etc. Grammatical to mark grammatical contrast such as positive & negative or question vs. statement Information structure to mark new or important information, to give prominence to the part of the utterance the speaker wants the listener to take note of Textual to give larger stretches of discourse a melodic shape: this allows us to discern the type of discourse (e.g. a news-report, football results etc.) Psychological to make language more easily understandable/accessible: we learn and remember in chunks rather than individual words Indexical as markers of personal identity and the social & professional groups we belong to (From Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

16 Written and spoken forms
In written form a difference is often noted by punctuation, whereas when spoken it is the stress pattern which indicates meaning Compare: White House -white house Let’s hunt, Sam – Let’s hunt Sam My sister, who lives in Bristol, is coming to Warsaw next week – My sister who lives in Bristol is coming to Warsaw next week Stress patterns are easily acquired by children, but seem much more difficult to acquire by adult learners Stress patterns of a language is a major contributor to a foreign accent

17 Accent vs. dialect Accent Dialect
Refers to particular ways of pronouncing a language and varies according to geographical origin, educational background and social class Dialect Refers to varieties of language that vary phonologically, lexically and even to some extent grammatically

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