1. Phonetics as a branch of linguistics. Branches of phonetics
Phonetics is an independent branch of linguistics like lexicology or grammar. These linguistic sciences study language from three different points of view. Lexicology deals with the vocabulary of language, with the origin and development of words, with their meaning and word building. Grammar defines the rules governing the modification of words and the combination of words into sentences. Phonetics studies the outer form of language; its sound matter. The phonetician investigates the phonemes and their allophones, the syllabic structure the distribution of stress, and intonation. He is interested in the sounds that are produced by the human speech-organs insofar as these sounds have a role in language. Let us refer to this limited range of sounds as the phonic medium and to individual sounds within that range as speech-sounds. We may now define phonetics as the study of the phonic medium. Phonetics is the study of the way humans make, transmit, and receive speech sounds. Phonetics occupies itself with the study of the ways in which the sounds are organized into a system of units and the variation of the units in all types and styles of spoken language.
Phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics. Neither linguistic theory nor linguistic practice can do without phonetics. No kind of linguistic study can be made without constant consideration of the material on the expression level.
We know that the phonic medium can be studied from four points of view: the articulatory, the acoustic, the auditory, and the functional.
We may consider the branches of phonetics according to these aspects. Articulatory phonetics is the study of the way the vocal organs are used to produce speech sounds. Acoustic phonetics is the study of the physical properties of speech sounds. Auditory phonetics is the study of the way people perceive speech sounds. Of these three branches of phonetics, the longest established, and until recently the most highly developed, is articulatory phonetics. For this reason, most of terms used by linguists to refer to speech-sounds are articulatory in origin.
Phoneticians are also interested in the way in which sound phenomena function in a particular language. In other words, they study the abstract side of the sounds of language. The branch of phonetics concerned with the study of the functional (linguistic) aspect of speech sounds is called phonology. By contrast with phonetics, which studies all possible sounds that the human vocal apparatus can make, phonology studies only those contrasts in sound which make differences of meaning within language.
Besides the four branches of phonetics described above, there are other divisions of the science. We may speak of general phonetics and the phonetics of a particular language (special or descriptive phonetics). General phonetics studies all the sound-producing possibilities of the human speech apparatus and the ways they are used for purpose of communication. The phonetics of a particular language studies the contemporary phonetic system of the particular language, i.e. the system of its pronunciation, and gives a description of all the phonetic units of the language. Descriptive phonetics is based on general phonetics.
Linguists distinguish also historical phonetics whose aim is to trace and establish the successive changes in the phonetic system of a given language (or a language family) at different stages of its development. Historical phonetics is a part of the history of language.
Closely connected with historical phonetics is comparative phonetics whose aims are to study the correlation between the phonetic systems of two or more languages and find out the correspondences between the speech sounds of kindred languages.
Phonetics can also be theoretical and practical. At the faculties of Foreign Languages in this country, two courses are introduced:
Practical, or normative, phonetics that studies the substance, the material form of phonetic phenomena in relation to meaning.
Theoretical phonetics, which is mainly concerned with the functioning of phonetic units in language.
This dichotomy is that which holds between theoretical and applied linguists. Briefly, theoretical linguistics studies language with a view to constructing theory of its structure and functions and without regard to any practical applications that the investigation of language might have. Applied linguistics has as its concerns the application of the concepts and findings of linguistics to a variety of practical tasks, including language teaching.
All the branches of phonetics are closely connected not only with one another but also with other branches of linguistics. This connection is determined by the fact that language is a system whose components are inseparably connected with one another.
Phonetics is also connected with many other sciences. Acoustic phonetics is connected with physics and mathematics. Articulatory phonetics is connected with physiology, anatomy, and anthropology. Historical phonetics is connected with general history of the people whose language is studied; it is also connected with archaeology. Phonology is connected with communication (information) theory, mathematics, and statistics.
5. Methods of phonetic analysis
We distinguish between subjective, introspective methods of phonetic investigation and objective methods.
The oldest, simplest and most readily available method is the method of direct observation. This method consists in observing the movements and positions of one’s own or other people’s organs of speech in pronouncing various speech sounds, as well as in analyzing one’s own kinaesthetic sensations during the articulation of speech sound in comparing them with auditory impressions.
Objective methods involve the use of various instrumental techniques (palatography, laryngoscopy, photography, cinematography, X-ray photography and cinematography and electromyography). This type of investigation together with direct observation is widely used in experimental phonetics. The objective methods and the subjective ones are complementary and not opposite to one another. Nowadays we may use the up-to-date complex set to fix the articulatory parameters of speech — so called articulograph.
Acoustic phonetics comes close to studying physics and the tools used in this field enable the investigator to measure and analyze the movement of the air in the terms of acoustics. This generally means introducing a microphone into the speech chain, converting the air movement into corresponding electrical activity and analyzing (Ксень, это слово у Красы через «s», но, по-моему, тут «z») the result in terms of frequency of vibration and the amplitude of vibration in relation to time. The spectra of speech sounds are investigated by means of the apparatus called the sound spectrograph. Pitch as a component of intonation can be investigated by intonograph.
The acoustic aspect of speech sounds is investigated not only with the help of sound-analyzing techniques, but also by means of speech-synthesizing devices.
16.Britis andAmerican pronunciation models.
Nowadays two main types of English are spoken in the English-speaking world: British English and American English.
According to British dialectologists (P. Trudgill, J. Hannah, A. Hughes and others), the following variants of English are referred to the English-based group: English English, Welsh English, Australian English, New Zealand English; to the American-based group: United States English, Canadian English. Scottish English and Ireland English fall somewhere between the two, being somewhat by themselves.
According to M. Sokolova and others, English English, Welsh English, Scottish English and Northern Irish English should be better combined into the British English subgroup, on the ground of political, geographical, cultural unity which brought more similarities — then differences for those variants of pronunciation.
Teaching practice as well as a pronouncing dictionary must base theirrecommendations on one or more models. A pronunciation model is a carefully chosen and defined accent of a language.
In the nineteenth century Received Pronunciation (RP) was a social marker, a prestige accent of an Englishman. «Received» was understood in the sense of «accepted in the best society». The speech of aristocracy and the court phonetically was that of the London area. Then it lost its local characteristics and was finally fixed as a ruling-class accent, often referred to as «King’s English». It was also the accent taught at public schools. With the spread of education cultured people not belonging to upper classes were eager to modify their accent in the direction of social standards.
In the first edition of English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917), Daniel Jones defined the type of pronunciation recorded as «Public School Pronunciation» (PSP). He had by 1926, however, abandoned the term PSP in favour of «Received Pronunciation» (RP). The type of speech he had in mind was not restricted to London and the Home Counties, however being charac
teristic by the nineteenth century of upper-class speech throughout the country. The Editor of the 14th Edition of the dictionary, A.C. Gimson, commented in 1977 «Such a definition of RP is hardly tenable today». A more broadly-based and accessible model accent for British English is represented in the 15th (1997) and the 16th (2003) editions – ВВС English. This is the pronunciation of professional speakers employed by the BBC as newsreaders and announcers. Of course, one finds differences between such speakers — they have their own personal characteristics, and an increasing number of broadcasters with Scottish, Welsh and Irish accents are employed. On this ground J.C. Wells (Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 33rd edition — 2000) considers that the term BBC pronunciation has become less appropriate. According to J.C. Wells, in England and Wales RP is widely regarded as a model for correct pronunciation, particularly for educated formal speech.
For American English, the selection (in EPD) also follows what is frequently heard from professional voices on national. network news and information programmes. It is similar to what has been termed General American, which refers to a geographically (largely non-coastal) and socially based set of pronunciation features. It is important to note that no single dialect — regional or social — has been singled out as an American standard. Even national media (radio, television, movies, CD-ROM, etc.), with professionally trained voices have speakers with regionally mixed features. However, Network English, in its most colourless form, can be described as a relatively homogeneous dialect that reflects the ongoing development of progressive American dialects. This «dialect» itself contains some variant forms. The variants involve vowels before [r], possible differences in words like cot and caught and some vowels before [l]. It is fully rhotic. These differences largely pass unnoticed by the audiences for Network English, and are also reflective of age differences. What are thought to be the more progressive (used by educated, socially mobile, and younger speakers) variants are considered as first variants. J.C. Wells prefers the term General American. This is what is spoken by the majority of Americans, namely those who do not have a noticeable eastern or southern accent.
13. Types and styles of pronunciation
Styles of speech or pronunciation are those special forms of speech suited to the aim and the contents of the utterance, the circumstances of communication, the character of the audience, etc. As D. Jones points out, a person may pronounce the same word or sequence of words quite differently under different circumstances.
Thus in ordinary conversation the word and is frequently pronounced [n] when unstressed (e.g. in bread and butter [‘bredn ‘butэ], but in serious conversation the word, even when unstressed, might often be pronounced [ænd]. In other words, all speakers use more than one style of pronunciation, and variations in the pronunciation of speech sounds, words and sentences peculiar to different styles of speech may be called stylistic variations.
Several different styles of pronunciation may be distinguished, although no generally accepted classification of styles of pronunciation has been worked out and the peculiarities of different styles have not yet been sufficiently investigated.
D. Jones distinguishes among different styles of pronunciation the rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the natural style used in addressing a fair-sized audience, the acquired style of the stage, and the acquired style used in singing.
L.V. Shcherba wrote of the need to distinguish a great variety of styles of speech, in accordance with the great variety of different social occasions and situations, but for the sake of simplicity he suggested that only two styles of pronunciation should be distinguished: (1) colloquial style characteristic of people’s quiet talk, and (2) full style, which we use when we want to make our speech especially distinct and, for this purpose, clearly articulate all the syllables of each word.
The kind of style used in pronunciation has a definite effect on the phonemic and allophonic composition of words. More deliberate and distinct utterance results in the use of full vowel sounds in some of the unstressed syllables. Consonants, too, uttered in formal style, will sometimes disappear in colloquial. It is clear that the chief phonetic characteristics of the colloquial style are various forms of the reduction of speech sounds and various kinds of assimilation. The degree of reduction and assimilation depends on the tempo of speech.
S.M. Gaiduchic distinguishes five phonetic styles: solemn (торжественный), «scientific business (научно-деловой), official business (официально-деловой), everyday (бытовой), and familiar (непринужденный). As we may see the above-mentioned phonetic styles on the whole correlate with functional styles of the language. They are differentiated on the basis of spheres of discourse.
The other way of classifying phonetic styles is suggested by J.A. Dubovsky who discriminates the following five styles: informal ordinary, formal neutral, formal official, informal familiar, and declamatory. The division is based on different degrees of formality or rather familiarity between the speaker and the listener. Within each style subdivisions are observed. M.Sokolova and other’s approach is slightly different. When we consider the problem of classifying phonetic styles according to the criteria described above we should distinguish between segmental and suprasegmental level of analysis because some of them (the aim of the utterance, for example) result in variations of mainly suprasegmental level, while others (the formality of situation, for example) reveal segmental varieties. So it seems preferable to consider each level separately until a more adequate system of correlation is found.
The style-differentiating characteristics mentioned above give good grounds for establishing intonational styles. There are five intonational styles singled out mainly according to the purpose of communication and to which we could refer all the main varieties of the texts. They are as follows:
Academic style (Scientific).
Declamatory style (Artistic).
Conversational style (Familiar).
But differentiation of intonation according» to the purpose of communication is not enough; there are other factors that affect intonation in various situations. Besides any style is seldom realized in its pure form.
6. Articulatory classification of English consonants
There are two major classes of sounds traditionally distinguished in any language — consonants and vowels. The opposition «vowels vs. consonants» is a linguistic universal. The distinction is based mainly on auditory effect. Consonants are known to have voice and noise combined, while vowels are sounds consisting of voice only. From the articulatory point of view the difference is due to the work of speech organs. In case of vowels no obstruction is made, so on the perception level their integral characteristic is tone, not noise. In case of consonants various obstructions are made. So consonants are characterized by a complete, partial or intermittent blockage of the air passage. The closure is formed in such a way that the air stream is blocked or hindered or otherwise gives rise to audible friction. As a result consonants are sounds which have noise as their indispensable characteristic.
Russian phoneticians classify consonants according to the following principles: i) degree of noise; ii) place of articulation; iii) manner of articulation; iv) position of the soft palate; v) force of articulation.
(I) There are few ways of seeing situation concerning the classification of English consonants. According to V.A. Vassilyev primary importance should be given to the type of obstruction and the manner of production noise. On this ground he distinguishes two large classes:
occlusive, in the production of which a complete obstruction is formed;
constrictive, in the production of which an incomplete obstruction isformed. Each of two classless is subdivided into noise consonants and sonorants.
Another point of view is shared by a group of Russian phoneticians. They suggest that the first and basic principle of classification should be the degree of noise. Such consideration leads to dividing English consonants into two general kinds: a) noise consonants; b) sonorants.
The term «degree of noise» belongs to auditory level of analysis. But there is an intrinsic connection between articulatory and auditory aspects of describing speech sounds. In this case the term of auditory aspect defines the characteristic more adequately.
Sonorants are sounds that differ greatly from other consonants. This is due to the fact that in their production the air passage between the two organs of speech is fairly wide, that is much wider than in the production of noise consonants. As a result, the auditory effect is tone, not noise. This peculiarity of articulation makes sonorants sound more like vowels than consonants. Acoustically sonorants are opposed to all other consonants because they are characterized by sharply defined formant structure and the total energy of most of them is very high.
There are no sonorants in the classifications suggested by British and American scholars. Daniel Jones and Henry A. Gleason, for example, give separate groups of nasals [m, n, η], the lateral  and semi-vowels, or glides [w, r, j (y)]. Bernard Bloch and George Trager besides nasals and lateral give trilled [r]. According to Russian phoneticians sonorants are considered to be consonants from articulatory, acoustic and phonological point of view.
(II) The place of articulation. This principle of consonant classification is rather universal. The only difference is that V.A. Vassilyev, G.P. Torsuev, O.I. Dikushina, A.C. Gimson give more detailed and precise enumerations of active organs of speech than H.A. Gleason, B. Bloch, G. Trager and others. There is, however, controversy about terming the active organs of speech. Thus, Russian phoneticians divide the tongue into the following parts: (1) front with the tip, (2) middle, and (3) back. Following L.V. Shcherba’s terminology the front part of the tongue is subdivided into: (a) apical, (b) dorsal, (c) cacuminal and (d) retroflexed according to the position of the tip and the blade of the tongue in relation to the teeth ridge. А.С. Gimson’s terms differ from those used by Russian phoneticians: apical is equivalent to forelingual; frontal is equivalent to mediolingual; dorsum is the whole upper area of the tongue. H.A. Gleason’s terms in respect to the bulk of the tongue are: apex — the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the alveoli; front — the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the fore part of the palate; back, or dorsum — the part of the tongue that lies at rest opposite the velum or the back part of the palate.
(III)A.L. Trakhterov, G.P. Torsyev, V.A. Vassilyev and other Russianscholars consider the principle of classification according to the manner ofarticulation to be one of the most important and classify consonants veryaccurately, logically and thoroughly. They suggest a classification from the pointof view of the closure. It may be: (1) complete closure, then occlusive (stop orplosive) consonants are produced; (2) incomplete closure, then constrictiveconsonants are produced; (3) the combination of the two closures, then occlusive-constrictive consonants, or affricates, are produced; (4) intermittent closure, thenrolled, or trilled consonants are produced.
A.C. Gimson, H.A. Gleason, D. Jones and other foreign phoneticians include in the manner of noise production groups of lateral, nasals, and semivowels — subgroups of consonants which do not belong to a single class.
Russian phoneticians subdivide consonants into unicentral (pronounced with one focus) and bicentral (pronounced with two foci), according to the number of noise producing centers, or foci.
According to the shape of narrowing constrictive consonants and affricates
are subdivided into sounds with flat narrowing and round narrowing.
(IV)According to the position of the soft palate all consonants aresubdivided into oral and nasal. When the soft palate is raised oral consonants areproduced; when the soft palate is lowered nasal consonants are produced.
(V)According to the force of articulation consonants may be fortis and lenis. This characteristic is connected with the work of the vocal cords: voiceless consonants are strong and voiced are weak.
7. The articulatory classification of English Vowels
The first linguist who tried to describe and classify vowels for all languages was D. Jones. He devised the system of 8 Cardinal Vowels. The basis of the system is physiological. Cardinal vowel No. 1 corresponds to the position of the front part of the tongue raised as closed as possible to the palate. The gradual lowering of the tongue to the back lowest position gives another point for cardinal vowel No.5. The lowest front position of the tongue gives the point for cardinal vowel No.4. The upper back limit for the tongue position gives the point for cardinal No.8. These positions for Cardinal vowels were copied from X-ray photographs. The tongue positions between these points were X-rayed and the equidistant points for No.2, 3, 6, 7 were found. The IPA symbols (International Phonetic Alphabet) for the 8 Cardinal Vowels are: 1 -i, 2 — e, 3 — ε, 4 — a, 5 — a:, 6 — , 7 — o, 8 — u.
The system of Cardinal Vowels is an international standard. In spite of the theoretical significance of the Cardinal Vowel system its practical application is limited. In language teaching this system can be learned only by oral instructions from a teacher who knows how to pronounce the Cardinal Vowels.
Russian phoneticians suggest a classification of vowels according to the following principles: 1) stability of articulation; 2) tongue position; 3) lip position; 4) character of the vowel end; 5) length; 6) tenseness.
1.Stability of articulation. This principle is not singled out by British and
American phoneticians. Thus, P. Roach writes: «British English (BBC accent) is
generally described as having short vowels, long vowels and diphthongs». According to Russian scholars vowels are subdivided into: a) monophthongs (the tongue position is stable); b) diphthongs (it changes, that is the tongue moves from one position to another); c) diphthongoids (an intermediate case, when the change in the position is fairly weak).
Diphthongs are defined differently by different authors. A.C. Gimson, for example, distinguishes 20 vocalic phonemes which are made of vowels and vowel
glides. D. Jones defines diphthongs as unisyllabic gliding sounds in the articulation of which the organs of speech start from one position and then elide to another
position. There are two vowels in English [i:, u:] that may have a diphthongal glide where they have full length (be, do), and the tendency for diphthongization is becoming gradually stronger.
2.The position of the tongue. According to the horizontal movementRussian phoneticians distinguish five classes: 1) front; 2) front-retracted; 3)central; 4) back; 5) back-advanced.
British phoneticians do not single out the classes of front-retracted and back-advanced vowels. So both [i:] and [i] are classed as front, and both [u:] and [Y] are classed as back.
The way British and Russian phoneticians approach the vertical movement of the tongue is also slightly different. British scholars distinguish three classes of vowels: high (or close), mid (or half-open) and low (or open) vowels. Russian phoneticians made the classification more detailed distinguishing two subclasses in each class, i.e. broad and narrow variations of the three vertical positions. Consequently, six groups of vowels are distinguished.
English vowels and diphthongs may be placed on the Cardinal Vowel quadrilateral as shown in Figs. 2, 3, 4.
3.Another feature of English vowels is lip position. Traditionally three lippositions are distinguished, that is spread, neutral, rounded. Lip rounding takesplace rather due to physiological reasons than to any other. Any back vowel inEnglish is produced with rounded lips, the degree of rounding is different anddepends on the height of the raised part of the tongue; the higher it is raised the
more rounded the lips are.
Character of the vowel end. This quality depends on the kind of thearticulatory transition from a vowel to a consonant. This transition (VC) is veryclosed in English unlike Russian. As a result all English short vowels are checkedwhen stressed. The degree of checkness may vary and depends on the followingconsonants (+ voiceless — voiced — sonorant -).
We should point out that vowel length or quantity has for a long timebeen the point of disagreement among phoneticians. It is a common knowledgethat a vowel like any sound has physical duration. When sounds are used inconnected speech they cannot help being influenced by one another. Duration of avowel depends on the following factors: 1) its own length; 2) the accent of thesyllable in which it occurs; 3) phonetic context; 4) the position in a rhythmic structure; 5) the position in a tone group; 6) the position in an utterance; 7) the tempo of the whole utterance; 8) the type of pronunciation. The problem the analysts are concerned with is whether variations in quantity are meaningful (relevant). Such contrasts are investigated in phonology.
There is one more articulatory characteristic that needs our attention, namely tenseness. It characterizes the state of the organs of speech at the moment of vowel production. Special instrumental analysis shows that historically long vowels are tense while historically short are lax.
3. Definition of the phoneme and its functions.
To know how sounds are produced is not enough to describe and classify them as language units. When we talk about the sounds of language, the term «sound» can be interpreted in two different ways. First, we can say that [t] and [d], for example, are two different sounds in English: e.g. ten-den, seat-seed. But on the other hand, we know that [t] in let us and [t] in let them are not the same. In both examples the sounds differ in one articulatory feature only. In the second case the difference between the sounds has functionally no significance. It is clear that the sense of «sound» in these two cases is different. To avoid this ambiguity, linguists use two separate terms: phoneme and allophone.
The phoneme is a minimal abstract linguistic unit realized in speech in the form of speech sounds opposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words.
Let us consider the phoneme from the point of view of its aspects.
Firstly, the phoneme is a functional unit. In phonetics function is usually understood as a role of the various units of the phonetic system in distinguishing one morpheme from another, one word from another or one utterance from another. The opposition of phonemes in the same phonetic environment differentiates the meaning of morphemes and words: e.g. bath-path, light-like. Sometimes the opposition of phonemes serves to distinguish the meaning of the whole phrases: He was heard badly — He was hurt badly. Thus we may say that the phoneme can fulfill the distinctive function.
Secondly, the phoneme is material, real and objective. That means it is realized in speech in the form of speech sounds, its allophones. The phonemes constitute the material form of morphemes, so this function may be called constitutive function.
Thirdly, the phoneme performs the recognitive function, because the use of the right allophones and other phonetic units facilitates normal recognition. We may add that the phoneme is a material and objective unit as well as an abstract and generalized one at the same time.
4. Types of allophones and the main features of the phoneme
Let us consider the English phoneme [d]. It is occlusive, forelingual, apical, alveolar, lenis consonant. This is how it sounds in isolation or in such words as door, darn, down, etc, when it retains its typical articulatory characteristics. In this case the consonant [d] is called principal allophone. The allophones which do not undergo any distinguishable changes in speech are called principal.
Allophones that occur under influence of the neighboring sounds in different phonetic situations are called subsidiary, e.g.:
a. deal, did — it is slightly palatalized before front vowels
b. bad pain, bedtime — it is pronounced without any plosion
с. sudden, admit — it is pronounced with nasal plosion before [n], [m]
d. dry — it becomes post-alveolar followed by [r].
If we consider the production of the allophones of the phoneme above we will find out that they possess three articulatory features in common — all of them are forelingual lenis stops. Consequently, though allophones of the same phoneme possess similar articulatory features they may frequently show considerable phonetic differences.
Native speakers do not observe the difference between the allophones of the same phoneme. At the same time they realize that allophones of each phoneme possess a bundle of distinctive features that makes this phoneme functionally different from all other phonemes of the language. This functionally relevant bundle is called the invariant of the phoneme. All the allophones of the phoneme [d] instance, are occlusive, forelingual, lenis. If occlusive articulation is changed for constrictive one [d] will be replaced by [z]: e. g. breed — breeze, deal — zeal, the articulatory features which form the invariant of the phoneme are called distinctive or relevant.
To extract relevant features of the phoneme we have to oppose it to some other phoneme in the phonetic context.
If the opposed sounds differ in one articulatory feature and this difference brings about changes in the meaning this feature is called relevant: for example, port — court, [p] and [k] are consonants, occlusive, fortis; the only difference being that [p] is labial and [t] is lingual.
The articulatory features which do not serve to distinguish meaning are called non-distinctive, irrelevant or redundant. For example, it is impossible to oppose an aspirated [ph] to a non-aspirated one in the same phonetic context to distinguish meaning.
We know that anyone who studies a foreign language makes mistakes in the articulation of sounds. L.V. Shcherba classifies the pronunciation errors as phonological and phonetic. If an allophone is replaced by an allophone of a different phoneme the mistake is called phonological. If an allophone of the phoneme is replaced by another allophone of the same phoneme the mistake is called phonetic.
9. . The system of consonant phonemes. Problem of affricates
The phonological analysis of English consonant sounds helps to distinguish 24 phonemes: [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, ж(не нашла ничего лучше ), h, t∫, dж, m, n, ŋ, w, r, 1, j]. Principles of classification suggested by Russian phoneticians provide the basis for establishing of the following distinctive oppositions in the system of English consonants:
Degree of noise
bake — make, veal — wheel
Place of articulation
labial vs. lingual
pain — cane
lingual vs. glottal
foam — home, care — hair, Tim — him
Manner of articulation
3.1 occlusive vs. constrictive pine -fine, bat — that, bee — thee
constrictive vs. affricates fare — chair, fail -jail
constrictive unicentral vs. constrictive bicentral
same – shame
4. Work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation
4.1 voiceless fortis vs. voiced lenis
pen — Ben, ten — den, coat — goal
5. Position of the soft palate
5.1 oral vs. nasal
pit — pin, seek — seen
There are some problems of phonological character in the English consonantal system; it is the problem of affricates — their phonological status and their number. The question is: what kind of facts a phonological theory has to explain.
1) Are the English [t∫, dж] sounds monophonemic entities or biphonemic combinations (sequences, clusters)?
2) If they are monophonemic, how many phonemes of the same kind exist in English, or, in other words, can such clusters as [tr, dr] and [tθ, dð] be considered affricates?
To define it is not an easy matter. One thing is clear: these sounds are complexes because articulatory we can distinguish two elements. Considering phonemic duality of affricates, it is necessary to analyze the relation of affricates to other consonant phonemes to be able to define their status in the system.
The problem of affricates is a point of considerable controversy among phoneticians. According to Russian specialists in English phonetics, there are two affricates in English: [t∫, dж]. D. Jones points out there are six of them: [t∫, dж], [ts, dz], and [tr, dr]. A.C. Gimson increases their number adding two more affricates: [tθ, tð]. Russian phoneticians look at English affricates through the eyes of a phoneme theory, according to which a phoneme has three aspects: articulatory, acoustic and functional, the latter being the most significant one. As to British phoneticians, their primary concern is the articulatory-acoustic unity of these complexes.
Before looking at these complexes from a functional point of view it is necessary to define their articulatory indivisibility.
According to N.S. Trubetzkoy’s point of view a sound complex may be considered monophonemic if: a) its elements belong to the same syllable; b) it is produced by one articulatory effort; c) its duration should not exceed normal duration of elements. Let us apply these criteria to the sound complexes.
1. Syllabic indivisibility
butcher [but∫ -ə] lightship [lait-∫ip]
mattress [mætr-is] footrest [fut-rest]
curtsey [kз:-tsi] out-set [aut-set]
eighth [eitθ] whitethorn [wait-θo:n]
In the words in the left column the sounds [t∫], [tr], [ts], [tθ] belong to one syllable and cannot be divided into two elements by a syllable dividing line.
2. Articulatory indivisibility. Special instrumental analysis shows that all the sound complexes are homogeneous and produced by one articulatory effort.
3. Duration. With G.P. Torsuyev we could state that length of sounds depends on the position in the phonetic context, therefore it cannot serve a reliable basis in phonological analysis. He writes that the length of English [t∫] in the words chair and match is different; [t∫] in match is considerably longer than |t| in mat and may be even longer than [∫] in mash. This does not prove, however, that [t∫] is biphonemic.
According to morphological criterion a sound complex is considered to be monophonemic if a morpheme boundary cannot pass within it because it is generally assumed that a phoneme is morphologically indivisible. If we consider [t∫], [dж] from this point of view we could be secure to grant them a monophonemic status, since they are indispensable. As to [ts], [dz] and [tθ], [dð] complexes their last elements are separate morphemes [s], [z], [θ], [ð] so these elements are easily singled out by the native speaker in any kind of phonetic context. These complexes do not correspond to the phonological models of the English language and cannot exist in the system of phonemes. The case with [tr], [dr] complexes is still more difficult.
By way of conclusion we could say that the two approaches have been adopted towards this phenomenon are as follows: the finding that there are eight affricates in English [t∫], [dж], [tr], [dr], [ts], [dz], [tð], [dθ] is consistent with articulatory and acoustic point of view, because in this respect the entities are indivisible. This is the way the British phoneticians see the situation. On the other hand, Russian phoneticians are consistent in looking at the phenomenon from the morphological and the phonological point of view which allows them to define [t∫], [dж] as monophonemic units and [tr], [dr], [ts], [dz], [tð], [dθ] as biphonemic complexes. However, this point of view reveals the possibility of ignoring the articulatory and acoustic indivisibility.
8. The system of vowel phonemes. Problems of diphthongs and vowel length
The following 20 vowel phonemes are distinguished in BBC English (RP): [i:, a:, o:, u:, з:, i, e, æ, σ, υ, л(типа крышка домика), ə; ei, ai, oi, аυ, eυ, υə, iə].
Principles of classification provide the basis for the establishment of the following distinctive oppositions:
1. Stability of articulation
1.1. monophthongs vs. diphthongs
bit — bait, kit — kite, John — join, debt — doubt
1.2. diphthongs vs. diphthongoids
bile — bee, boat — boot, raid — rude
2. Position of the tongue
2.1. horizontal movement of the tongue
a) front vs. central
cab — curb, bed — bird
b) back vs. central
pull – pearl, cart — curl, call — curl
2.2. vertical movement of the tongue
close (high) vs. mid-open (mid)bid — bird, week — work
open (low) vs. mid-open (mid)lark — lurk, call — curl, bard-bird
3. Position of the lips rounded vs. unrounded don — darn, pot — part
The English diphthongs are, like the affricates, the object of a sharp phonological controversy, whose essence is the same as in the case of affricates are the English diphthongs biphonemic sound complexes or composite monophonemic entities?
Diphthongs are defined differently by different authors. One definition is based on the ability of a vowel to form a syllable. Since in a diphthong only one element serves as a syllabic nucleus, a diphthong is a single sound. Another definition of a diphthong as a single sound is based on the instability of the second element. The 3d group of scientists defines a diphthong from the accentual point of view: since only one element is accented and the other is unaccented, a diphthong is a single sound.
D. Jones defines diphthongs as unisyllabic gliding sounds in the articulation of which the organs of speech start from one position and then glide to another position.
N.S. Trubetzkoy states that a diphthong should be (a) unisyllabic, that is the parts of a diphthong cannot belong to two syllables; (b) monophonemic with gliding articulation; (c) its length should not exceed the length of a single phoneme.
In accordance with the principle of structural simplicity and economy American descriptivists liquidated the diphthongs in English as unit phonemes.
The same phonological criteria may be used for justifying the monophonemic treatment of the English diphthongs as those applicable to the English affricates. They are the criteria of articulatory, morphophonological (and, in the case of diphthongs, also syllabic) indivisibility, commutability and duration. Applied to the English diphthongs, all these criteria support the view of their monophonemic status.
Problem of length. There are long vowel phonemes in English and short. However, the length of the vowels is not the only distinctive feature of minimal pairs like Pete -pit, beet — bit, etc. In other words the difference between i: i. u: — υ is not only quantitative but also qualitative, which is conditioned by different positions of the bulk of the tongue. For example, in words bead- bid not only the length of the vowels is different but in the [i:] articulation the bulk of the tongue occupies more front and high position then in the articulation of [i].
Qualitative difference is the main relevant feature that serves to differentiate long and short vowel phonemes because quantitative characteristics of long vowels depend on the position they occupy in a word:
(a) they are the longest in the terminal position: bee, bar, her;
(b) they are shorter before voiced consonants: bead, hard, cord;
(c) they are the shortest before voiceless consonants: beet, cart.
12. Theories on syllable formation and division
Speech can be broken into minimal pronounceable units into which sounds show a tendency to cluster or group. These smallest phonetic groups arc generally given the name of syllables. Being the smallest pronounceable units, syllables form morphemes, words and phrases. Each of these units is characterized by a certain syllabic structure. Thus a meaningful language unit phonetically may be considered from the point of view of syllable formation and syllable division.
The syllable is a complicated phenomenon and like a phoneme it can be studied on four levels — articulatory, acoustic, auditory and functional. The complexity of the phenomenon gave rise to many theories.
We could start with the so-called expiratory (chest pulse or pressure) theory by R.H. Stetson. This theory is based on the assumption that expiration in speech is a pulsating process and each syllable should correspond to a single expiration. So the number of syllables in an utterance is determined by the number of expirations made in the production of the utterance. This theory was strongly criticized by Russian and foreign linguists. G.P. Torsuyev, for example, wrote that in a phrase a number of words and consequently a number of syllables can be pronounced with a single expiration. This fact makes the validity of the theory doubtful.
Another theory of syllable put forward by O. Jespersen is generally called the sonority theory. According to O. Jespersen, each sound is characterized by a certain degree of sonority which is understood us acoustic property of a sound that determines its perceptibility. According to this sound property a ranking of speech sounds could be established:
Further experimental work aimed to description of the syllable resulted in lot of other theories. However the question of articulatory mechanism of syllable in a still an open question in phonetics. We might suppose that this mechanism is similar in all languages and could be regarded as phonetic universal.
In Russian linguistics there has been adopted the theory of syllable by LV Shcherba. It is called the theory of muscular tension. In most languages there is the syllabic phoneme in the centre of the syllable which is usually a vowel phoneme or, in some languages, a sonorant. The phonemes preceding or following the syllabic peak are called marginal. The tense of articulation increases within the range of prevocalic consonants and then decreases within the range of postvocalic consonants.
Russian linguist and psychologist N.I. Zhinkin has suggested the so-called loudness theory which seems to combine both production and perception levels. The experiments carried out by N.I. Zhinkin showed that the arc of loudness of perception level is formed due to variations of the volume pharyngeal passage which is modified by contractions of its walls. The narrowing of the passage and the increase in muscular tension which results from it reinforce the actual loudness of a vowel thus forming the peak of the syllabic. So the syllable is the arc оf loudness which correlates with the arc of articulatory effort on the speed production level since variations in loudness are due to the work of all speech mechanisms.
It is perfectly obvious that no phonetician has succeeded so far in giving an adequate explanation of what the syllable is. The difficulties seem to arise from the various possibilities of approach to the unit. There exist two points of view:
1. Sоme linguists consider the syllable to be a purely articulatory unit which lacks any functional value. This point of view is defended on the ground that the boundaries of syllables do not always coincide with those of morphemes.
2. However the majority of linguists treat the syllable as the smallest pronounceable unit which can reveal some linguistic function.
Trying to define the syllable from articulatory point of view we may talk about universals. When we mean the functional aspect of the syllable it should be defined with the reference to the structure of one particular language.
The definition of the syllable from the functional point of view tends to single out the following features of the syllable:
a) a syllable is a chain of phonemes of varying length;
b) a syllable is constructed on the basis of contrast of its constituents (which is usually of vowel — consonant type);
c) the nucleus of a syllable is a vowel, the presence of consonants is optional; there are no languages in which vowels are not used as syllable nuclei, however, there are languages in which this function is performed by consonants;
d) the distribution of phonemes in the syllabic structure follows by the rules which are specific enough for a particular language.
11. The structure and functions of syllables in English
Syllable formation in English is based on the phonological opposition vowel — consonant. Vowels are usually syllabic while consonants are not with the exceptions of [l], [m], [n], which become syllabic in a final position preceded by a
noise consonant: bottle [bσtl], bottom [bσtm], button [b/\tn] and [r] (in those accents which pronounce [r]) perhaps [præps].
The structure of English syllables can be summarized as follows:
• Many syllables have one or more consonants preceding the nucleus. These make up the syllable onset: me, so, plow.
• Many syllables have one or more consonants, following the nucleus. They make up the syllable coda. They are traditionally known as closed syllables: cat, jump.
• The combination of nucleus and coda has a special significance, making up the rhyming property of a syllable.
The English language has developed the closed type of syllable as the fundamental one while in Russian it is the open type that forms the basis of syllable formation.
The other aspect of this component is syllable division. The problem of syllable division in case of intervocalic consonants and their clusters, like in such words as city, extra, standing and others.
Let us consider the first word [‘sit.i]. There exist two possibilities:
a) the point of syllable division is after the intervocalic consonant:
b) the point of syllable division is inside the consonant.