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Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Summary (English Linguistics)

Phonetics: The Sounds of Language
O’Grady, W. & Dobrovolsky, M. (Eds.). 1992. Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction (2nd edition). Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman. (Chapter 2 : pp. 15-56)

Heavenly labial in a world of gutturals
(Wallace Stevans, cited in O’Grady & Dobrovolsky, p.15)

Explanations and Examples
·   The study of the sounds of human language.
·   Two ways of approaching phonetics; articulatory phonetics (deals with physical   mechanisms of speech production) and acoustics phonetics (deals with sounds in terms of how we hear them).
·   The sounds of human language is transcribed into a system of transcription called International Phonetics Alphabet (IPA).
The Sound of Producing System

Sound is produced when air is set in motion.

§ Lungs – the source of moving air
§ Larynx  - the source of sound

§ Pharynx (nasal and oral cavity)  – the filters
When air passes through the space between the vocal folds (glottis) different glottal states.
§ Voiceless. E.g. fish, sing, house
§ Voice. E.g. zip, vow
§ Whisper
§ Murmur
Sound Classes

The sound of language can be grouped into classes, based on the phonetic properties that they share.

Sounds generally divided into two major classes; vowels and consonants. Glides share the properties of both vowels and consonants.


Produced with little obstruction and generally voiced.
The airflow is blocked.
More sonorous
Less sonorous
Consonant Articulation
Consonant are produced at various places of articulation where the airstream is modified by different manners of articulation.
Place of Articulation:
§ Labial      with closure or near closure of the lips: peer, bin, fire.
§ Dental      the tongue against or near the teeth: this, thing.
§ Alveolar      behind the upper front teeth: top, dear, soap.
§ Alveolar Palatal      behind the alveolar ridge: show, chip, judge.
§ Velar      at the velum: call, hang.
§ Uvular     at the uvula: r in standard European French.
§ Pharyngeal     at the pharynx: in dialects of Arabic.
§ Glottal      produced by the vocal folds: heave, hog.
Manner of Articulation:
§ Stops  complete or momentary closure of airflow: span, stun, scar.
§ Fricatives      continuous airflow through the mouth: fan, then, sun.
§ Affricatives      the tongue moves rapidly away from the point of articulation: church, jump.

Different vowel sounds (vowel qualities) are produced by varying the placement of the body of the lips.
§  English vowels are divided into two major types: simple vowels and diphthongs.

§  Vowels are produced with less drastic closure and are described with the reference to tongue position (high, low, back, and front), tension (tense or lax), and lip rounding (rounded or unrounded)
§ Simple vowels do not show a noticeable change in quality. E.g. cat, dog, but, put.
§ Diphthongs show changes in quality that are due to tongue movement away from the initial vowel articulation toward a glide position. E.g. say, but, cow.

For examples:
Heat        [iy]     high front unrounded
Fate        [ey]     mid front unrounded
Caught    [α]      low back unrounded

All phones have certain inherent suprasegmental or prosodic properties that form of their makeup no matter what their place or manner of articulation.

§  Pitch:
The auditory property of sound that enables us to place it on a scale that ranges from low to high. Human has two kinds of controlled pitch movement called tone and intonation.

§  Length:
There are both vowels and consonants whose articulation is held longer relative to that of other vowels and consonants.

§  Stress:
Some vowels are perceived more prominent than others.

§  Tone may affect to the meaning in a tone language such as Mandarin.
§  Intonation. E.g. using rising intonation to express politeness, Please sit down.

§  For example Yap, a language, spoken on the Island of Yap in the Western Pacific, has short and long vowels in pairs of words such as “near you.”

§  Export [ Export ]

Speech production is not a series of isolated events.

§  Co-articulation:
Some articulatory organs involve together in the production of a word

§  Processes and Efficiency:
Articulatory adjustments that occur during the production of speech are called processes. Their cumulative effect often results in making words easier to articulate.

§  Processes and Clarity:
English speakers often lengthen consonants and vowel to clarify what they have said or when they are asked to repeat.

§  Articulatory Processes:
Assimililation – a sound becoming more a like another nearby sound in terms of one or more its phonetics characteristics.
Dissimilition – two sound becoming less a like in articulatory or acoustic terms.
Deletion – removing a segment from certain phonetic contexts.
Epenthesis – inserting a syllabic or a non-syllabic segment within an existing string of segments.
Metathesis – reordering a sequence of segments.

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