Lesson 1

Introduction to

English Phonology

What will you learn in this subject?

What Is Phonology?

What Is Phonology?

When we speak we produce a stream of sound, which is extremely difficult to examine because it is continuous, rapid and soon gone.

‘man’     [ m ]    [ æ ]  [ n ]

PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION is a  phonetic alphabet is based on the principle of one letter per sound.

Systems of phonetic transcription:

  • The International Phonetic Association (IPA) transcription represents British pronunciation.
  • Trager-Smith transcription represents American pronunciation.

The Organ of Speech

Vowels and Consonanats

is a sound that needs an open air passage in the mouth

is formed when the air stream is restricted or stopped at some point between the vocal cords and the lips.

Articulation

The sounds of speech can be studied in three different ways.

Acoustics phonetics

Acoustics phonetics is the study of how speech sounds are transmitted.

Auditory phonetics

Auditory phonetics is the study of how speech sounds are heard

Articulatory phonetics

Articulatory phonetics is the study of how speech sounds are produced by the human apparatus.

Articulation

The production of speech sounds

PLACE

The upper part of the mouth is places or points of articulation

MANNER

The resulting opening is called the manner of articulation of the speech sound.

ARTICULATORS

The lower part of the mouth as articulators.

Classification of Consonants

The answers to the four questions can tell us how the consonants are produced and also help us to classify or describe them.

The answer to this question tells us whether the sound is voiced or voiceless.

  1. The answer gives the adjective in naming the consonant. For example, if the upper lip is approached by the lower lip, the sound is bilabial, e.g. [m, b]. If the upper teeth are approached by the lower lip, the sound is labiodental, e.g. [f, v].

The answer supplies the noun in naming consonant, e.g. stops, fricatives, affricates.

  1. The answer tells us whether it is an oral or a nasal sound. This may be taken with (3) as another manner of articulation as it supplies another noun in the naming of consonants, i.e. nasal

MANNER OF ARTICULATION

PLOSSIVE

These involve complete closure at some point in the mouth.

In English, three types of closure occur resulting in three sets of plosives

it can be made by pressing against the closed-double lips

  1. it can be made by the tongue pressing against the alveolar ridge

it can be made by the back of the tongue pressing against the soft palate

MANNER OF ARTICULATION

FRICATIVES

These sounds are the result of incomplete closure at some point in the mouth.

In English, there are two types of Fricatives:

If you approximate the upper teeth to the lower lip and allow the air to escape.

If you approximate the tip of the tongue to the alveolar ridge

MANNER OF ARTICULATION

  • The air stream is blocked by the tip of the tongue but allowed to escape around the sides of the tongue.
  • In English, the initial /l/ sound in ‘light’ is a lateral; so is the final sound in ‘full’

  • These sounds involve the complete closure of the mouth and the air is passing through the nasal cavity;

  • The three nasals in English are /m/ as in ‘mat’, /n/ as in ‘no’ and /ŋ/ as in ‘sing’.

  • Affricates are a combination  of sounds.

  • Initially there is complete closure as for a plosive, then followed by a slow release with friction, as for fricative.

  • The symbols are represented by  /t∫/ in ‘chop’, and /dʒ in ‘judge’.

  • The sounds made without closure in the mouth and they are vowel-like.

  • The semi-vowels are represented  by the symbols /j/ as in ‘you’ and /w/ as in ‘wet’.

PLACE OF ARTICULATION

  • Where the lips come together as in the sounds /p/, /b/ and /m/
  • Where the lower lip and the upper teeth come together, as for the sounds /f/ and /v/.
  • Where the tip or the blade of the tongue comes in contact with the upper teeth as in /θ/ ‘thief’ and /ð/ ‘then’.

  • Where the tip or blade of the tongue touches the alveolar ridge which is directly behind the upper teeth.

  • The  most frequently occurring consonants /t, d, s, z, n, l, r/ are all made by approximating the tongue to the alveolar ridge.

  • There are two points of contact for these sounds. The tip of the tongues is close to the alveolar ridge while the front of the tongue is concave to the roof of the mouth.

  • In English, there are four palato-alveolar  sounds, the affricates /t∫/ and  /dʒ / and the fricatives /∫/ and  /ʒ /
  • The front of the tongue approximates to the hard palate.

  • In English the only palatal is the voiced semi-vowel /j/ as in ‘you’.

  • The back of the tongue approximates to the soft palate.

  • In English there are four consonants made in the velar region, the plosives /k, g/ , the nasal /ŋ/ and the voiced semi-vowel /w/ as in ‘woo’.

Thank you

and ...

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