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ING507 Linguistics The Nature of Language

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1 ING507 Linguistics The Nature of Language
Asst. Prof. Dr. Emrah Görgülü Alright, after talking about the origins of language and human language and animal communication, now we turn to the one of the core areas of linguistics, that is, phonetics. Here we are gonna look at individual speech sounds and how we articulate them. Lecture 4: The sounds of language

2 The sounds of language I take it you already know Of tough and bough and cough and dough? Others may stumble but not you On hiccough, thorough, lough and through. Well done! And now you wish, perhaps, To learn of less familiar traps? Beware of heard, a dreadful word, That looks like beard and sounds like bird. And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead – For goodness sake don’t call it “deed”! Watch out for meat and great and threat (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt). T. S.W. quoted in Mackay (1970) Interestingly enough, the chapter begins with a poem attributed to this guy called T.S.W. Let’s read it and see what is interesting about it? What does this poem show us? Take the words in the second line, they have the same letters except for the first letter, however, they are pronounced differently. Letters do not represent sounds we utter. The same is also true for heard and beard.

3 The sounds of language (cont’d)
The sounds of spoken English do not match up with the letters of written English (i.e. there is no one sound - one symbol principle). If we cannot use the letters of the alphabet in a consistent way to represent the sounds we produce, how can we describe the sounds of a language like English? One solution is to produce a separate alphabet with symbols that represent sounds. Such a set of symbols does exist and is called the phonetic alphabet. We will look at how these symbols are used to represent both the consonant and vowel sounds of English words. So, what is the take home message here? Sometimes we have one sound but more than one symbol flee – flea / same symbol different sounds ate – at The sounds of spoken English don’t match up, a lot of time, with letters of English. The solution to describe the sounds of a language like English is to produce a seperate alphabet with symbols which represent sounds.

4 Phonetics Phonetics is defined as the study of the characteristics of speech sounds. It provides methods for their description, classification and transcription. Our main interest will be in articulatory phonetics, which is the study of how speech sounds are made, or articulated. Other areas of study are acoustic phonetics, which deals with the physical properties of speech as sound waves in the air, and auditory phonetics (or perceptual phonetics) which deals with the perception, via the ear, of speech sounds. How speech sounds are produced, articulated. / transcription: it is a system for writing down sounds. What speech organs are involved?

5 Voiced and voiceless sounds
Speech sounds are produced using the fairly complex oral equipment that humans have. We start with the air pushed out by the lungs up through the trachea (or windpipe) to the larynx. Inside the larynx are your vocal folds (or vocal cords), which take two basic positions. When the vocal folds are spread apart, the air from the lungs passes between them unimpeded. Sounds produced in this way are described as voiceless. When the vocal folds are drawn together, the air from the lungs repeatedly pushes them apart as it passes through, creating a vibration effect. Sounds produced in this way are voiced. How do you know if you are producing a voiceless sound or a voiced one? How do you know which one you make?

6 How to make speech sounds?

7 Voiced and voiceless sounds (cont’d)
The distinction can be felt physically if you: place a fingertip on top of your Adam’s apple (i.e. the part of your larynx you can feel in your neck below your chin) then produce sounds such as Z-Z-Z-Z or V-V-V-V. Since these are voiced sounds, you should be able to feel some vibration. Keeping your fingertip in the same position, now make the sounds S-S-S-S or F-F-F-F. Because these are voiceless sounds, there should be no vibration.

8 Place of articulation Most consonant sounds are produced by using the tongue and other parts of the mouth to constrict the shape of the oral cavity through which the air is passing. The terms used to describe many sounds are those which denote the place of articulation of the sound: that is, the location inside the mouth at which the constriction takes place. If you crack a head right down the middle, you will be able to see which parts of the oral cavity are crucially involved in speech production. Where in our oral cavity do we produce speech sounds? Once the air has passed through the larynx, it comes up and out through the mouth or the nose.

9 Place of articulation (cont’d): Consonants
We begin using the symbols of the phonetic alphabet for specific sounds. These symbols will be within square brackets [ ]. Bilabial sounds: These are sounds produced using both upper and lower lips. The initial sounds in the words pan, ban and man are all bilabials. pan [p] - ___________ ban [b] - ___________ man [m] - ___________ Are there any other sounds that are bilabial in English? ___________________________________. Both : bi; Lips: labia the sounds are represented by the symbols These are bilabial sounds. They have the same place of articulation. However, they differ in other characteristics. We can also describe the [w] sound found at the beginning of way, walk and world as a bilabial.

10 Place of articulation (cont’d)
Labiodental sounds: These are sounds made with the upper teeth and the lower lip. The initial sounds of the words fan and van and the final sounds in the words safe and save are labiodentals. fan [f] - ____________ van [v] - ____________ Note that the final sound in the word cough, and the initial sound in photo, despite the spelling differences, are both pronounced as [f]. Interdental sounds: These sounds are formed with the tongue tip between the teeth. The first sound of thin and the last sound of bath are both interdentals. The initial sounds of the and thus are interdent. thin [θ] - ____________ / the [ð] - ___________ bath [θ] thus [ð] It is the symbol you would use for the first and last sounds in the phrase ‘three teeth’. bath - bathe

11 Place of articulation (cont’d)
Alveolar sounds: These are sounds made with the front part of the tongue touching the alveolar ridge, which is the rough, bony ridge behind and above the upper teeth. The initial sounds in tip, dip, sip, zip and nut are all alveolars. tip [t] - ______________ / dip [d] - _______________ / ride [r] - _________ sip [s] - ______________ / zip [z] - ________________ nut [n] - _____________ / lip [l] - ________________ Alveo-palatal (palatal) sounds: Sounds produced with the tongue and the palate (i.e. the roof of mouth) are called alveo-palatals. shout [ʃ] - ______________ / treasure [ʒ] - _________ / yes [j] - _________ child [ʧ] - ______________ / joke [ʤ] - _____________ Alveolar ridge: book – books / car – cars / bus - buses

12 Place of articulation (cont’d)
Velar sounds: Sounds produced with the back of the tongue against the velum (i.e. soft palate) are called velars. The initial sounds in kid and car, go and gun, and the final sound in sing are velar. go [g] - ______________ / car [k] - _______________ sing [ŋ] - ______________ / tongue [ŋ] - _____________ Glottal sounds: The glottis (the space between vocal folds) is open. No active use of the tongue and other parts of the mouth house [h] - ______________ / who [h] - _______________ Remember we are using symbols to represent speech sounds.

13 English consonant chart
Having described in some detail the place of articulation of English consonant sounds, we can summarize the basic information in the chart. we can start at the front of the mouth and work back.

14 Manner of articulation
We can describe the sounds in terms of how they are articulated. Such a description is necessary if we want to be able to distinguish between the sounds that we have placed in the same category. [d] and [z] are both voiced alveolar sounds. How do they differ? They differ in the manner they are pronounced. Stops: These sounds are produced by “stopping” the air stream very briefly then letting it go abruptly. The sounds [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g] are all stop sounds. dime [d] – voiced alveolar stop / gun [g] - ______________________ pet [p] - ______________________ stopping = blocking

15 Manner of articulation (cont’d)
Fricatives: These sounds are formed by almost blocking the air stream and having the air push through the very narrow opening. The set of sounds [f], [v], [θ], [ð], [s], [z], [ʃ], [ʒ] are fricatives. ship [ʃ] – voiceless, palatal fricative pleasure [ʒ] - voiced palatal fricative thank [θ] - ____________________ zebra [z] - _____________________ Affricates: These sounds are made by a brief stopping of the air stream with an obstructed release which causes some friction. The initial sounds in chin and jeep. chin [ʧ]– voiceless, palatal affricate jeep [ʤ] - voiced palatal affricate As the air is pushed through, a type of friction is produced and the resulting sounds are called fricatives. If you put your open hand in front of your mouth when making these sounds, As the air is pushed through, a type of friction is produced and the resulting sounds are called fricatives. If you put your open hand in front of your mouth when making these sounds,

16 Manner of articulation (cont’d)
Nasals: These sounds are made by lowering the velum and the air stream is allowed to flow out through the nose. There are three nasal sounds in English: [m], [n] and [ŋ]. They are all voiced. map [m] – voiced bilabial nasal night [n] – voiced alveolar nasal thing [ŋ] – voiced vrlar nasal Liquids: The initial sounds in lead and read are described as liquids. The [l] sound is called a lateral liquid and is formed by letting the air stream flow around the sides of the tongue. The [r] sound is called a ‘retroflex’ and is formed with the tongue tip raised and curled back near the alveolar ridge. Liquids: The sounds formed by letting the airstream flow around the sides of the tongue as it makes contact with the alveolar ridge.

17 Manner of articulation (cont’d)
Glides: These sounds are typically produced with the tongue in motion (i.e. gliding) to or from the position of a vowel and are sometimes called semi-vowels. The sounds [w] and [j] are described as glides. They are both voiced. we [w] – voiced bilabial glide yes [j] – voiced palatal glide Flaps: If you pronounce the word butter as “budder”, then you are making a flap. It is represented by [D] or sometimes [ɾ]. This sound is produced by the tongue tip tapping the alveolar ridge briefly. No differnce between the words ladder and latter. What are the two ways to pronounce the word bottle? Glides: The sounds produced with the tongue moving to or from the position of a nearby vowel. Flaps: The sounds produced by the tongue tip being thrown against the alveolar ridge for an instant.

18 Vowels The consonant sounds are mostly articulated via closure or obstruction in the vocal tract. Vowel sounds, on the other hand, are produced with a relatively free flow of air. Are vowels typically voiced or voiceless? _______________ To describe vowel sounds, we consider the way in which the tongue influences the shape through which the airflow must pass. To talk about a place of articulation, we think of the space inside the mouth as having a front versus a back and a high versus a low area. Your mouth is open. The most important speech organ in producing vowels is the tongue. In other words, the position of the tongue in the mouth (oral cavity) is important. seat and sit

19 Vowels (cont’d) j

20 Vowels: how do you articulate these sounds?
seat / beat sit / bit set / bet sat / bat soot / boot book / put sort / port walk / talk listen / subtle

21 Vowels (cont’d) seat / beat [i] – high, front vowel
sit / bit [ɪ] – high front vowel set / bet [ɛ] – mid front vowel sat / bat [æ] – low front vowel soot / boot [u] – high back vowel book / put [ʊ] – high back vowel sort / port [ɔ] – mid back vowel walk / talk [ɑ] – low back vowel listen / subtle [ə] – mid central vowel

22 Vowels: diphthongs In addition to single vowel sounds, we produce sounds that consist of a combination of two vowel sounds, known as diphthongs. When we produce diphthongs, our vocal organs move from one position [a] to another [ɪ] as we produce the sound [aɪ], as in hi or bye. The movement in this diphthong is from low towards high front. We can use movement from low towards high back, combining [a] and [ʊ] to produce the sound [aʊ], as in cow and bow.

23 Vowels: diphthongs (cont’d)
While the vowels [e], [a] and [o] are used as single sounds in other languages, and in some other varieties of English, they are only typically used as the first sounds of diphthongs in American English. my / pie – [aɪ] cow / how – [aʊ] Front Central Back late / say – [eɪ] _____________________________________ throw / crow – [oʊ] High coy / toy – [ɔɪ] I ʊ Mid e o ɔ Low a

24 Vowels: diphthongs (cont’d)
How to articulate these diphthongs? buy / I / sigh bough / doubt bait / eight / great boat / explode boy / noise

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