Шпоры - Ответы к ГОСу по фонетике английского языка - файл n1.doc

Шпоры - Ответы к ГОСу по фонетике английского языка
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    1. The phoneme (it’s aspects, modifications). Methods of phonological analysis.

The idea of the phenomenon (the phoneme) was not formulated until the mid 30s of the 20th cent.

The 1st gr of scholars (the Prague school – N. Trubetskoy). One of the most detailed definitions (Vjacheslav Vasilyev): the phoneme is the main linguistic unit realizes in speech in the form of speech sounds and apposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of words.

Phoneme – 3 aspects:

  1. Functional

The function of every component of the phonetic system is discriminative – the distinction of one word from another.

The opposition of ph. in the same phonetic environment differentiates morphemes and words (ex. Sleeper-sleepy – morphemes; light-like - words).

  1. Material

The ph. is realized in speech in the form of allophones.

/d/ - occlusive, plosive, forelingual, apical, alveolar, lenise, voiced.

Principle allophones – don’t undergo any distinguishable changes in the chain of speech.

Subsidiary allophones – modify in phonetic circumstances (ex. Before another occlusive consonant [d] is produced w/out any plosion – bad times; before [r] it becomes post-alveolar – dry, dream).

  • Allophones of the same ph never occur in the similar phonetic contexts

  • They are entirely predictable acc. to the phonetic environment.

In actual speech the ph are modified by the following factors: phono-stylistic, dialectial, individual.

Most of the info about the ph – not from phonemic (abstract) distinctions but from phonetic (material) ones. Phonetic evidence is esp important for lexical& gram meaning awa for stylistic aspects of any communication.

  1. Abstract

You can’t change even 1 feature w/out changing the meaning

Ex. /d/ voiced - /t/ voiceless

/d/ forelingual (day) -/g/ backlingual (gay)

The articulatory features which form the invariant of the phoneme – relevant.

(irrelevant – ex. Aspiration in the system of eng sounds)


Ph-s can be discovered by the method of minimal pairs (finding pairs of words which differ in 2 ph only). All the ph of any lang form a system of oppositions in which 1 ph is usually opposed to any other ph in at least one position. If the substitution of 1 sound for another results in the change of meaning the communicative sounds are different phonemes. The method helps to prove whether the phonemic difference relevant or not, whether the opposition is sg, double or multiple.

Sg op-n: /t/ - /d/ only one distinctive feature: voiceless – voiced (time - dime)

Double: /p/ - /d/: voiceless ,fortis – voiced, lenis;

bilabial – forelingual ( pay – day)

Multiple: /b/ - /h/: voiced lenis – voiceless fortis;

bilabial – pharyngal

acclusive – constrictive (be - he)

The main problems of phonological analysis

  1. To establish the inventory of phonemes

  2. To define the phonetic status of the sound in the neutral position

  3. The theory of distinctive features

The final aim: the identification of the phonemes and finding out the patterns of relationship into which they fall as the sound system of the lang.

Methods of finding out phonemes and allophones:

  1. The distributional method


  • Alloph-s of dif-nt ph occur in the same phonetic context: try-dry

  • Alloph-s of the same ph never occur in the same phonetic context

3 types of distribution

  1. Complementary (if a sound occurs in a certain ph-c context and another sound occurs only in a dif-nt context, no two words can be distinguished by means of the opp-n b/w these 2 sounds – the 2 sets of phonetic contexts are complementing each other and the 2 sounds are class-d as all-nes of the same phoneme.

Cases when 2 sounds are in compl distrib-n but are not alloph-s of the same ph: /h/ never occurs word-finally - /?/ word initially

  1. Contrastive distr-n (more/less different sounds occur in the same ph context, they should be all-nes of dif-nt ph-mes)

  2. Free variation of a sg phoneme (the sounds both occur in the lang but the speakers are inconsistent: галоши - калоши)

  1. The semantic method

Is based on a phonemic rule that ph-mes can distinguish morphemes and words when opposed to one another.

The method consists of systematic substitution of the sound for another one in order to find out in which cases such substitution leads to a change of meaning (phonetic context remains the same)

Commutation test – finding min pairs of words and their gram forms: pin – bin -/p/ ?/b/ - meaning’s changed

[p] aspirated ?[p] – the meaning’s not changed, only the wrong type of pronunciation.

1.3. The main types of phonetic modifications


Ph mod-ns take place w/in the words which are connected and at their boundaries. All the sounds are prone to change.

Assimilation is the adaptive modification of a consonant by a neighbouring consonant in the speech chain.

Can be:

  1. progressive (a sound is influenced by a preceding sound) ex. Bridge – score


lenis – fortis - fortis




palate-alveolar – alveolar – palate-alveolar

occlusive-constrictive – constr – const


bicentral – unicentral – bicentral


  1. regressive (anticipatory) the sound is influenced by the following sound

ten balloons

[m]?[n] [b], because [b] is bilabial

Good night – both alveolar, but [d] disappears, because of [n] ? g’ night

  1. partial – only one or several distinctive features are modified and sounds become similar (bridge score)

  2. complete – the sound becomes absolutely similar to the influencing sound in all distinctive features (good night)

  3. coalescence – a mutual influence, where two sounds fuse into a sg new one

won’t she? [w?Ụt?i]

alveolar, occlusive, plosive [t] and palate-alveolar, constrictive [?] ?[t?] – palate-alveolar, a new sound – affricate (occlusive-constr), partial ass-n

Practically in all cases – the change of the place of articulation

Then the manner of articulation:

-loss of plosion (glad to see u);

-nasal (not now)

-lateral (table, at last)

Accommodation is the adaptive modification of V+C or C+V type.

Affects lip position ?labialization of consonants: appears under the influence of the neighbouring back vowels: pool, woman

It’s also possible to speak ab the spread lip position of consonants followed or preceded by front vowels [i] – meet and [i:] – team, meat

Such sounds as [r], [t?], [d?] are pronounced by most speakers w/ rounded lips ever after [i:].

In the casual discourse: in the intervocalic position voiceless cons-ts change their voicing value and become voiced: [t] ? [d] (letter)

Elision (zero reduction) is the loss of sounds. Min – in slow, careful speech; max – in rapid, careless speech

  1. loss of [h] is widespread

here he is ['iәr i iz]

  1. [l] tend to be lost when preceded by [ō] – always [‘ﺭ:wiz]

  2. Alveolar plosives ([t], [d]) are always elided in case the cluster is followed by another consonant:

next day [‘neks ‘dei], just one [‘d?^s ‘w^n]

there also exist the so-called historical elision

  1. initial cons-s in “wright”, “know”,”knife”

  2. the medial cons-t [t] “fasten”, ‘listen”, “castle”

  1. the ways the sounds are elided in general:

whole syllables – library [‘laibri:]

  1. some words are esp prone to elision:

“of” + cons-t: a cup of tea [k^pә’ti:], going to [gon^], want to [won^]

Liaison – the process of introducing sounds b/w syllables or words to help pronounce them in a more smooth way:

  1. “linking” r: clear [kliә] – clearer [‘kliәrә], teacher of English

  2. “intrusive” r – sometimes appear b/w the vowels. It’s not wanted here, doesn’t exist, but appears in speech to help pronounce more smooth: Ex. the idea [r] of it

  3. When the word-final vowel is a diphthong which glides to [i]: [ai], [ei] the palatal sonorant [j] tends to be inserted: saying [‘sai(j)i?]

  4. In case of the u-gliding diph-s: [ou], [au] the bilabial sonorant [w] is smtimes inserted: Ex. do it

All these phenomena manifest the economy of pronouncing effort on the part of the speaker.
Vowels ?modifications in unstressed positions either quantative or qualitative, or both


Man [mжn] – sportsman [spﺭ:tsmәn] -

quality’s changed

knee [i:] – need (not so long) – neat

slight degree of nasalization may mark vowels preceded/followed by the nasal cons-t: Ex. Knee

in rapid, informal speech reduction may result in vowel elision ?the unstressed vowels are omitted: Ex. History [‘histri], correct [‘krekt]

1.4. Relevant/irrelevant articulatory features of consonants and vowels

The majority of phoneticians name 3 articul. features of consonants which are relevant:

  1. Work of the vocal cords and the force of exalation

Voiced (lenis) – voiceless (fortis)

B, d, g, z p, t, k, s

  1. Active organ of speech and the place of obstruction

Labial – lingual – glottal

P, b, w, f – k, d, t, s, g – h

  1. Manner of the production of noise and a type of obstruction

Occlusive (stops) – constrictive

P,b,k,d,t f,?,?,l,?

/there are ph-s called affricates (occlusive-constr). These sounds are complex. There’re 2 elements that are distinctly heard there. 2 types of obstruction at the same time – occlusive-constr [t?], [d?]/

Dif-nt opinions concerning what type of opposition should be considered important

  1. Vasilyev: the type of obstruction+the manner of the production of noise – basis for clas-n

  1. Occlusive (w/out complete obstruction)

  2. Constrictive (w/ an incomplete obstruction)

The phonological relevance of this feature can be proved by the method of min pairs:

t-s ?tea-sea; p-f ?pull-full

each of the 2 classes is subdivided into:

  • Noise

  • Sonorants

Acc to the prevailing factor: noise-tone (the degree of noise), noise cons-ts are divided into (manner of articul-n):

  1. Plosive (stops)

  2. Affricates

Constrictive sonorants’re divided into (place of articul-n):

  1. Medial

  2. Lateral

  1. Others: the degree of noise – the main feature:

  1. Noise

  1. Occlusive

  2. Constrictive

  3. Occlus.-constr

  1. Sonorants


b) constrictive

b.1. medial

b.2. lateral

The phonological relevance of the feature is proved by the method of min pairs: bake-make

Both classifications are effective + used

The position of the soft palate is also taken into consideration. Acc to it consonants:

  • Oral (p,t,v,s,r,l)

  • Nasal (m,n,?)

The feature is considered phonol-ly irrelevant, cause there’re no 2 sounds in English which differ only acc to this feature. But it’s the 4th principle of clas-n of cons-ts.

There’re 6 criteria for description + class-n of vowels:

  1. Stability of articul-n – 2 varieties:

  1. The tongue position is stable, the vowel is relatively pure?monophthong

  2. The tongue pos-n changes, the vowel consists of 2 el-ts?dipgthong

There exists a 3rd variety – “intermediate case” – when the change in the tongue pos-n is weak and the difference b/w the starting point and the end is not sg distinc-n as in the case of diphthongs ? diphthongoids: /ī/ , /ū/

Eng diphthongs – 2 groups:

  1. Centring (ending in /ә/ ([?wa] vowel)): iә, Ụә, ?ә

  2. Closing (normal):

2.1.ending in /i/: ei, ai, i

2.2.ending in Ụ: әỤ, aỤ

2.1. + 2.2. ? /ә/

  1. The position of the tongue – characterized from 2 aspects:

  1. The horizontal movement – 5 classes of vowels

a.1. front (ī, e, ei, ж, ?ә)

a.2. front-retracted (I, iә)

a.3. central (٨, з:, ә, әỤ)

a.4. back (ю, כּ:, u:)

a.5. back-advanced (Ụ, Ụә, a:)

This is the approach of Rus phoneticians (a.2. and a.5. aren’t distinguished by Eng phoneticians)

  1. The vertical movement (Brit phonet-ns)

b.1. high (close)

b.2. mid (half-open)

b.3. low (open)

need more details

  1. Lip position – irrelevant phonology-ly – no 2 vowel phonemes which can be opposed on this point: 3 types of lip rounding (spread, neutral and rounded)

  2. Checkness – irrelevant phon-ly. Checked vowels –short stressed vowels pronounced w/out any decrease in the force of articul-n + immediately followed by consonants (Ex. city). All Eng short vowels are checked when stressed. The degree of checkness depends on the following consonant (more perceptible before the voiceless). All long vowels – not checked, but free (all Rus vowels).

  3. Duration (length) – not relevant, cause it depends on the context, style of pronounciation, the tempo of the whole utterance.

  4. Tenseness characterizes the state of the organs of speech at the moment of production of a vowel. Historically – long vowels ?tense, short ?lax. Not relevant feature.

1.2.The Structure of the intonation pattern and the function of its elements.

Intonation – a unity of non-segmental or prosodic features of speech (acoustic properties):

  1. Speech melody or pitch of the voice -manifests itself in the fact that syllables in an inton-n gr are uttered w/a certain pitch (speech melody). The syllable pronounced w/a perceptible pitch movement usually occur at the end of an inton-n gr dividing it from the next one. The movement can be upward + downward directed.

  2. Sent. stress or accent. The pitch component and the stress component are closely connected. The main function of sent stress is to differentiate the communicative center in an inton-n gr that is a word or a gr of words which usually convey smth new to the listener.

  3. A gr of temporal Speech characteristics (duration, tempo, pausation).

Different duration of sent-s helps to differentiate communicative types of sent-s. Pauses separate inton-n gr-s and sent-s from each other.The term ‘tempo’ implies the rate (speed+frequency) of the utterance and pausation.

  1. Rhythm. -is periodic recurrence of stressed syllables. It’s naturallyconnected w/the lexico-gram structure and one of the forms in which a lang exists.

There’re 2 gr-s of lang acc to the type of their rhythm: syllable-timed (French, Spanish) and stress-timed (Eng, German, Russian)

  1. Timbre [‘tжmbә] -is very mysterious.

Different voice quality (huskiness, bass) helps to identify the speaker + to express the speaker’s attitude ? the concern of linguistics.

All these characteristics enable the speaker to adequately communicate his thoughts, emotions, attitude and the content of the utterance.
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