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Session 1: Basics of English phonetics

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1 Session 1: Basics of English phonetics
English B level course: Phonetics spring 2015 Larisa O.-Gustafsson

2 Speech sounds and letters of the Present-day English language
43 (39) speech sounds (phonemes) 26 letters of the English alphabet As a result: inconsistency in spelling, a special need for transcription signs and pronunciation dictionaries for language learners e.g. bough – cough – enough – though – through The digraph ou represents 5 different speech sounds (phonemes)

3 Phonetics and phonology
study the sound systems of languages … . While phonetics studies ALL possible sounds that the human vocal apparatus can make, phonology studies only those contrasts in sound which make differences in meaning within language. Examples of phonemic contrasts: thin / tin /sin, think /sink = minimal pairs (word pairs that differ only in one phoneme)

4 Types of phonetic studies
Articulatory phonetics = the study of how speech sounds are made (articulated) Acoustic phonetics = the study of the physical properties of speech as sound waves Auditory phonetics = the study of the perception of speech sounds

5 Phoneme – Phone – Allophone: the case of /l/
Let a million people have milk /l/ is articulated in different ways in these words, but all these versions belong together in ONE English phoneme. They are allophones (dark and clear, or light /l/) of that phoneme.

6 Phoneme – Phone – Allophone
Phoneme = a basic unit of which words are composed. It functions contrastively and is an abstract unit, a sound-type ”in the mind” Phones are all the different versions of a phoneme produced in actual speech Allophones are a set of phones, all of which are versions of a single phoneme

7 Classification of phonemes
The articulatory classification Consonants are articulated via obstruction in vocal tract. Tongue and other parts of mouth constrict shape of oral cavity through which air is passing. Vowels are produced by a relatively free flow of air. Tongue influances shape through which air passes, which results in different vowel sounds. Vowels tend to be more unstable and variable, and change more rapidly over time.

8 Classification of consonants: 1
Position of vocal cords cords drawn together: voiced (bill, that, van, den, business) cords lie open: voiceless (pill, math, fan, ten, business) Place of articulation lips: bilabial (bill/pill) teeth: dental (that/math) lips & teeth: labio-dental (van/fan) teethridge: alveolar (den/ten, not, business)

9 Consonant classification: 2
Manner of articulation = describes how the tongue, jaw, and other organs of speech are involved in a sound make contact stops or plosives: oral (pen) and nasal (pen) fricatives or sibilants (van, fan) affricates (nature, grudge) liguids (red /non-rotic/, led) glides or semi-vowels (wait, yellow) rotics (Am right)

10 Three parameters of consonant classification: VPM
V (voice) – P (place) – M (manner) /p/ voiceless bilabial plosive /l/ voiced alveolar lateral /m/ voiced bilabial nasal /f/ voiceless labio-dental fricative

11 Grimm’s Law or the First Germanic Sound Shift
Aspirated voiced stops >Voiced stops > Voiceless stops > Voiceless fricatives bh > b > p > f dh > d > t > Ɵ gh > g > k > h Lat. ped- Eng. foot Lat. tres Eng. three Lat. cord- Eng- heart Lat. dec- Eng. ten Lat. genus Eng. kin

12 Vowel classification front vowels: key, bid, said, bad
central vowels: above, blood back vowels: move, book, fall, swan Diphthongs = a combination of two vowel sounds in which the vocal cords move form one position to another: e.g. tie, toy, town

13 Speech sounds in connected speech: coarticulation effects
Speech sounds are modified to simplify the articulation, usu in untressed syllables, rapid tempo, and informal style Assimilation = adjustment to surrounding sounds won’t come, down by law, Great Britain Elision = the use of schwa or reduction of sounds in unstressed syllables natural, differ, camera listen, answer (historical elision)

14 Front Mutation (i-umlaut)
Regressive distant assimilation = a change of a back vowel to the associated front vowel or or a front vowel becomes closer to /j/ when the following syllable contains /i/, /iː/, or /j/ Proto-Germanic *fot- *fot-iz German Fuss, Füsse Swedish fot, fötter English foot, feet

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