Шпаргалки по фонетике английского языка - файл n1.doc

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1.Phonetics as a branch of linguistics studies sounds in the broad sense,comprising segmental sounds( vowels and consonants) and prosodic phenomena (pitch, stress, tempo, rhythm, pauses). 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.It also studies the acoustic properties of sounds, the physiological basis of sounds production and the sound phenomena that reveal the individual properties of the speaker. The methods of Phonetic Analysis

Each branch of phonetics uses its own method of investigation, which changes (develops):

- articulation phonetics uses method of direct observation, photography, cinematography, X-ray photography;

- in acoustic phonetics we use instrumental method. Two basic machines are called spectrograph and intonograph, nowadays computer software (programmes) is also used.

- in auditory phonetics we use methods of auditory/ perception analysis (marking the text).

Generally in phonetic research we combine different methods.

The branch of phonetics that studies the articulation of speech sounds is called articulatory phonetics. The branch of phontetics which deals with acoustic aspect of speech is called the acoustic phonetics.And finally phonology which studies the functions of phonetics. General phonetics – (studies phonetic laws, problems and principles in any language/ common of all phonetics/ general for any language)

-> Special phonetics –Studies phonetics of a particular languages/ compares it to other languages)
2.In English the quality of the historically long and short vowels differs, so length is not the only feature that distinguishes then besides length differences are conditiooned.They can be distinctive.It is well-known fact that (i) in the “sea”is longer that it is in “sead”.And the (i) in the word “seat” the shortest. Thus the opposition (i:) vs(i) is based on the following phonological relevant features1.(i:)- high narrow, fully front,(i)-high broad; front-retracted.According to Vasiliev the quality of the vowels never changes, the length of the vowels is changed.
3.English short vowels in close position are called checked (pen)- it means that the following consonant makes the vowel short.

Nuclear(ju:) или (u)

Chance(a)or (shwa-vowel)



Vowel length in modern English is not distinctive or its irrelevant. Quality is more important. Vowel length may be different it depends on the position of a vowel in the word. [ka:- ka:d- ka:t] Vowels is the longest in its final position. It’s a bit shorter before a voice

consonant, the shortest is before voiceless consonant.
4.The material aspect of the phoneme.

The material aspect is reflected in “it exist in the form of speech sounds”. Each phoneme is realised in speech as a number of speech sounds, its allophones. Allophones of this phoneme are actually pronounced speech sounds. Allophones of this or that phoneme must meet the requirements.

1)A. has certain articulatory features in phoneme. At the same time? A. Differ from each other to some agree.

2)A. of the same phoneme never occur in the same phonetic position, context, so we can`t oppose them in the same phonetic context. The principle allophone is that which is free from the influence of the neighboring sounds. All other allophones are subsidiary or secondary.

„t“ is occlusive, plosive, forelingual, apical, alveonar, fortis, voiceless, aspirated. The three features are those, that are essential, thez never change. However, it`s not the same everywhere. „tee“- palatized, „not this“- dental, postlingual, „stay“- not aspirated, not clear, “not many”- nasal position, “not little”- lateral plosion, “twice”-labialized. These are subsidiary allophones. As the phoneme exists in the form of actually pronounced speech sounds – the phoneme is material.
5. The abstractional and generalized aspect of the phoneme.

It is reflected in a definition lake this “language units”. From the course of general linguistics it`s known that language is an abstraction from speech and generalization of speech. On the one hand, speech is the reality of the language. The phoneme, sinse it`s a language unit, is an abstraction from natural utterances, from speech sounds and a generalization of actual utterances of speech sounds. On the other hand, the phoneme is materialized in speech sounds. We can also say that the phoneme is an abstraction from its allophones, and generalization of its allophones. Now let`s consider the prosecc of abstraction. Native apeakers don`t notice the difference of the allophones od the same proneme, because the difference between the allophones of the same phoneme can`t differentiate the meaning of the words, of the sentences. A native speaker thinks that he or she pronounces the same sound in all positions and he or she doesn`t notice differences between these sounds, cause iy doesn`t serve to differentiate the meaning. In reality> he pronounces the proper allophone in each particular word.The process of abstraction goes to other with the process of generalization. Native speakers abstract themselves quite subconsciously. They find a conbination of articulatory features. They find a bundle of articulatory features which differ from the bundles of distinctive features common to other examples. The native speakers realizes subconsciously that neither of these features can be changed.For ex- if you change occlusive to the constrictive, we shall have SEE instead of TEE. If you change forelingual to backlingual we shall have CORN instead of TORN.If we change fortis to lenis, we shall have LED instead of LET. We can therefore conclude that the native speaker generalized the 3 above mentioned articulatory features, common to all tha allophones of the same phoneme.
6. The functional aspect of the phoneme.

(Capable of differentiating the meaning…) It’s the main aspect of the phoneme. Phonemes are capable of differentiating the meaning of words, morphemes and sentences. (sleeper – sleepy, bold – told) To understand how phonemes could fulfill the distinguished function, we must realize why this sound belongs to one phoneme, while the other is an allophone of some other phonemes. For example, k in carts and p in parts are the allophones of different phonemes, they are capable of differentiating the meaning. Because both being occlusive and fortis differ in one articulatory feature only: p is labial k is backlingual. As this difference serves to distinguish the meaning, they are allophones of different phonemes. The rule is those articulatory features which serve to distinguish the meaning are called relevant or distinctive. Those, that don’t serve to distinguish the meaning are irrelevant or non-distinctive. A phoneme can perform its distinctive function when it’s opposed to some other phoneme in some phonetic context. Such oppositions are called distinctive or phonological. In connection with the last function of a phoneme, it’s necessary to distinguish 2 types of mistakes in pronunciation. They are phonological and phonetic mistakes. If instead of the allophone of one phoneme some other allophone of the same phoneme is pronounced – it’s phonetic (it doesn’t affect the meaning), but if an allophone of a phoneme is substituted for an allophone of another phoneme the mistake is called phonological.
7. The conceptions of the phoneme put forward in our country and abroad.

I’ll start with the conception, when the abstractional and generalized aspect of the phonemes exaggerated and the material aspect is ignored. The supporters of this conception are numerous abroad. This conception was originated by the founder of the phoneme theory I.A. Baudouin-de-Courtenay. According to him phonemes don’t exist objectively. They exist in the mind of the speaker, actually pronounced speech sounds are imperfect realizations of ideal physical images. According to him the phoneme is defined as «психический эквивалент звука». Since speech sounds, belonging to the same phoneme are different. This an idealistic conception, as it regards phonemes as mental units existing in the mind but not in the reality.

Another linguist L.V. Shcherba supported BdeC conception during the first period of his work, but later on he gave a materialistic definition which is shared by most linguists in our country

Among the linguists who belong to the Prague Linguistic circle we should name Trubetskoy as it’s founder. Trubetskoy, Jakobson, Trnka and others were particularly interested in establishing relevant features of speech sounds and this brought them to divorcing phonology from phonetics. They pointed out that only phonology (studies the functional aspect of the speech sounds) is to be studied by linguists, while phonetics that studies the articulatory and acoustic aspects of speech sounds is to be studied by biologists and those scientists, who study acoustics, physics and other sciences.

Ferdinand de Saussure: the phoneme theory spread to the USA in his interpretation. He defines the phoneme in the following way: «Фонема - не есть что-то звучащее, но нечто бестелесное, образуемое не своей материальной субстанцией, а теми различиями, которые определяют её звуковой образ от других»

The second group of linguists denial of the abstractional and generalized aspect of the phonemes and exaggeration of the material one. The linguists who support this point of view suppose that the phoneme is a mechanical sum of its allophones. Daniel Jones defines a phoneme as a family of related sounds. Among American linguists, who support this we may name Bloch and Trager.
8. The main methods of establishing the phonemic status of speech sounds

The method of communication (finding minimal pairs of words and their grammatical forms – a commutation test) A linguist takes a word and substitutes one sound of it for another

Cold – bold: substitution affects the meaning, that’s why allophones belong to different phonemes

Tap-tack: we get a meaningless word, we can’t say anything about the phonemic status of the sounds, which we appose.

Since the distinctive function of the phoneme is considered, this method can be called semantically distributional. So the phonemes of a language form a system of oppositions in which any phoneme is opposed to other phonemes in at least 1 position in at least 1 minimal pair. Oppositions may be:

Single (if there’s only one distinctive feature opposed: pork – cork – the sounds are the same at all respects, but p is labial and k is backlingual)

Double (2 features are distinctive: pale – veil. P is occlusive, fortis and v is constrictive, lenis) Triple (pay – they: P is bilingual, occlusive, fortis and th is forelingual, constrictive, lenis)
9. Morphonology.

Phonology has a special branch which is called morphonology. Morphonology studies the distribution of speech sounds and the relationships between them in different derivatives of the same root and in different grammatical forms of the same word. (It establishes the phonemic status of speech sounds in the so-called weak positions,i.e. when the sounds are neutralized.)

We talk about Morphonology , when we talk about sound alterations (лук /к/ -луг /к/; вґоды /о/ - водґы /а/. Vowel alterations are the result of the reduction in unstressed positions: object [ґobdzikt] – [əґbdzekt]. Consonants are in their strong position before vowels and in the intervocalic position, they are in weak positions when they are word final or precede other consonants (мороз – морозы).
10.Moot points in the system of English phonemes.

1.Whether [M] is an allophone of w or a separate phoneme. We can oppose them in minimal a pair: “which” [M] – “witch” [w]. The Russian linguists treat these consonants as allophones of the same phoneme.

2.Aaffricates and diphthongs. We are used to the fact that there are 2 affricates in English: [tS] –[dZ] , dut some phoneticians say there are 6 affricates: [tS] –[dZ], [ts] – [dz], [tr] – [dr]

(L.Shcherba: the combination of two sounds may be considered a single phoneme if: 1) they stand in the phonological opposition as a single unit, 2) they belong to the same syllable, 3) their articulation is shifting (or gliding). [tS] –[dZ], [ts] – [dz], [tr] – [dr]

3. diphthongs [ei,ai,oi] etc. The problem is whether the combination of 2 vowel sounds is of monophonemic or biphonemic character. The syllabic and articulatory invisibility of English diphthongs and their duration clearly determine their monophonemic character.

4. [ə] –is it a phoneme or an allophone? Though neutral vowel can be opposed only to weakened vowel phonemes it can form phonological oppositions with a number of other words and distinguish words (accept – except, armor – armysolar – solo).

5.quantity or quality? ,i.e. Is vowel-length relevant or irrelevant in English? Length is not the only relevant feature that distinguishes long and short vowels. Acoustic analysis shows that the length of vowels differs in different phonetic environments: (si: - si:d – si:t – sid) [i:] in [si:] is the longest and in [si:t] is the shortest, it’s almost as short as [i] in sid.

A vowel is longer in front of a fricative than in front of a plosive consonant. [] in as is longer than in at.

Stressed vowels are longer than unstressed ones. It also depends on the number of syllabkes (a:m – disa:m – disa:mament) [a:] in the first word is the longest. Etc
11.Acoustic nature of word stress. Acoustic analysis shows that the perception of prominence may be due to definite variations of the following acoustic parameters: Acoustic level: intensity, duration, frequency, formant structures. Auditory level: loudness, length, pitch, quality. All these parameters generally interact to produce the effect of prominence. In different languages stress may be achieved by various combination of these parameters. Depending upon which parameter is the principal one in producing the effect of stress word stress in languages may be of different types. There are languages with dynamic word stress (intensity plays the main role). The stressed syllable are louder than the others, all the other parameters play less important role. Languages wit musical word stress(Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese), quantitative word stress(Russian).

Until recently English word stress was considered to dynamic as stress was correlated with loudness, but the investigations of the acoustic nature of English word stress have made it clear that stress in English does not depend on intensity alone. English word stress is of a complex nature, it is created by an interaction of four parameters.

12. The constitutive function of word stress. Its degree and position. Word stress forms syllables into a word by forming its stress pattern. As for the force of word stress there are two degrees of word stress: 1.Primary (strong stress. in polysyllabic words – the third syllable from the end of the word.) 2.Secondary(rather weak stress. – on the second syllable from the beginning). The Americans scientists distinguishes 4 degree of word stress:1.Primary,2/Secondary,3.Thirtary 4. weak. According to the place of word stress it may be free or fixed. Fixed stress falls on a particular syllable in a polysyllabic word:the last syllable in French;the last but one syllable in Polish;the first syllable in Finish and Czech. Russian and English have free word stress.
13.The distinctive function of word stress. Word stress helps to distinguish the meanings of words, because there exist different words in English with similar sound structure which are differentiated in speech only by their stress pattern.( a present – to present, an object – to object)
14.The definition of intonation. Intonation pattern. In Russian linguistic literature intonation is viewed as a complex structure, a whole, formed by significant variations in pitch, loudness, and tempo, which includes rate and pausation.Foreign linguists restrict intonation to pitch movement alone. Each intonation group has four parts – the nucleus, the head, the pre-head and the tail. The most important part is the nucleus. The nucleus together with the tail form the terminal tone. Each intonation group has a communicative (semantic) centre, it conveys the most important piece of information which is something new.
15. The distinctive function of voice pitch. In some languages such as Swedish, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, the meaning of the words depends on the pitch levels in their syllable.

50. Comment on the functions of syllable in English. As a phonological unit a syllable performs several functions that may be combined into the main two:1. The constitutive:the syllable forms higher level units of words and rhythmic groups and utterances. Two aspects of this function can be emphasized: on the one hand the syllable is a unit in which segmental phonemes are realized; on the other hand within a syllable or a sequence of syllables prosodic or suprasegmental features of speech are also realized. These are distinctive variations in loudness in pitch and in duration.2.The distinctive function of the syllable is to differentiate words word combinations. The phonemes exist and function within the syllable.
16. Sentence stress.Its types and function

Sentence stress is a greater prominence of words, which are made more or less prominent in an intonation group. The special prominence of accented words is achieved through the greater force of utterance and changes in the direction of voice pitch, constituting the nuclear tone.

The difference between stress and accent is based on the fact that in the case of stress the dominant perceptual component is loudness, in the case of accent it is pitch. Degrees of stress in an utterance correlate with the pitch range system. Nuclear stress is strongest – it carries the most important information. Non-nuclear stresses are subdivided into full and partial. Full stress occurs only in the head of an intonation group, partial stress occurs also in the prehead and tail. Partial stresses in the prehead are most frequently of a low variety, high partial stress can occur before a low head. Words given partial stress do not lose prominence completely, they may retain the whole quality of their vowels.

In tone-grups stress may undergo alternations under the influence of rhythm, but there are some rules concerning words that are usually stressed or unstressed in an utterance.

Types of sentence stress. 1.Normal (is used to arrange the sentence phonetically, to single a nuclear of the centre of the utterance – I want a blue dress) 2.Logical (when the symantic centre is shifted from the last notional word to soma other word than it’s a logical stress – the weather is nice today)3. Emphatic (stress may differ according to the degree of prominence with which the symantic sentence is pronounced, emph stress is associated with fall rise and mid and figh fall – the weather is nice today).


1. Constitutive. SS organizes intonation patterns semantically and syntactically. It also helps to single out the communicative center and other important items of the utterance. Nominal words are usually accented, and form words are usually unstressed. Although form words may be accented or stressed in certain structural types of sentences, in certain positions in a sentence they may be emphasized logically.

It "is important.

It is im"portant.

We distinguish three types of SS:


Normal Accent (Normal SS) arranges the utterance phonetically, renders the meaning and indicates the nucleus of the communicative center which in this case is associated with the last notional word.


Logical Stress presupposes the shifting of the nucleus from the last notional word in a sense group to another word which we emphasize logically.
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