English Phonology Notes from "How English Works," pages 62-77
English Phonology Notes from "How English Works," pages 62-77 ENGL 221
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Courtney Pagel on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 221 at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire taught by Lynsey K. Wolter in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Introductory English Linguistics in English Language&Literature at University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.
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Date Created: 09/15/16
How English Works, Chapter 3 (English Phonology), pages 62-77 *English Phonology -In every language, sounds are arranged according to a complex set of rules. -The study of the structure of the English language begins with the sound system for 2 reasons: ~Sounds are the fundamental building blocks of language. ~Sound most clearly demonstrates the systematicity of language; the ways in which language is ruled or governed. *Phonetics and Phonology -Phoneme: what native speakers hear as a distinctive sound of language, a sound different from all other sounds in the language. ~Example: the “p” sound in puck and cup. It is distinctive within those words. ~Many phonemes have subtle variations called allophones. Allophones happen when a sound is produced differently depending on its placement in the word. The “p” sound in puck and cup are not the same because we enunciate the “p” in puck more than we do in cup. This variation of the “p” sound is the allophone. -Native speakers of a language hear all allophones as the same sound. -Phonology: The study of the sound systems of any given language: the organization of the language’s sounds and their relationship to one another. -Phonology examines: ~Which sounds make up distinctive consonants and vowels of a language. ~Which sounds would be considered variants (allophones) by the speakers. ~Which sounds/sound combinations do not appear in that language. -Every language differs from others in at least one of these categories. - “Accents” are perceptible phonological variations of a dialect. -Phonetics: The study of speech sounds more generally, how they are produced, and how they are perceived. There are three types of phonetics: ~Articulatory Phonetics: Focus on how speech sounds are produced with articulators (lips, teeth, tongue, etc.) ~Acoustic Phonetics: Focus on how speech sounds are transmitted; the characteristics of sound waves. ~Auditory Phonetics: Focus on how the ear translates sound waves into electrical impulses to the brain and how the brain perceives these as speech sounds. -The human brain is more efficient at processing language than non-language sounds. We can process about 30 distinct language sounds per second while we can only process 15 distinct non- language sounds. -There is debate about whether or not phonemes are the most basic unit of sound; while others believe speech is organized by syllable, many speech errors occur at syllable boundaries rather than phoneme boundaries. *Anatomy of Speech -Most sounds are produced through egressive (lung-related outgoing) sounds. This is when air is pushed up from the lungs and out the mouth. -Some languages have ingressive sounds (created by sucking air back into the lungs). *Physical Anatomy -Trachea/Windpipe: The tube through which air comes from the lungs. -Larynx: Voice box; protected by the epiglottis. -Epiglottis: Cartilage at the root of the tongue; directs food/other substances to the stomach instead of the lungs. -Vocal Cords: Elastic muscles stretched over the larynx; air coming up separates them and they snap back together to create vibrations called voicing. -Alveolar Ridge: The ridge on the roof your mouth, behind your front teeth. -Hard Palate: Hard flat surface on the roof of your mouth, behind the alveolar ridge. -Soft Palate/Velum: Soft surface on the roof of your mouth towards the back, behind the hard palate. -The tongue is a surprisingly large and strong muscle, moving rapidly during speech and hitting many different articulators. ~Active Articulators: Usually the tongue or another speech organ near the bottom of the mouth. ~Passive Articulators: Usually along the top of the oral cavity. -We typically describe sounds by the articulators involved, whether the active articulators move close to or touch the passive articulators. -Phonetics provides a more technical distinction between consonants and vowels: ~Consonants: Generally involve the stopping or impeding air from the lungs as the articulators near or touch each other. ~Vowels: Characterized by unimpeded airflow during which speakers change the shape of their oral cavity and tongue to create different sounds; vowels are also the center of syllables. *The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) -Originally developed between 1886 and 1888. It grew from eleven members in 1886 to 1,751 members in forty countries in 1914. -Because most spoke European languages, they primarily with the roman alphabet with some diacritic s. -It is an established, consistent set of symbols for representing the sounds of all the world’s known languages; facilitates sound comparison across all languages. -The IPA represents languages for which its written component does not directly represent sound. ~Example: Chinese characters have no direct relationship between their appearance and their sound. -Provides a way to transcribe sounds with a one-on-one correspondence between sound and symbol. -Most dictionaries have systems for representing pronunciation. Some use diacritics, which are special symbols for changing pronunciation. ~Example: ὸ, ằ, ӗ -The IPA makes a few fundamental assumptions about sound systems: ~Some distinctions in speech are relevant (like the separation of consonants and vowels) and some are not (like personal voice quality). ~Speech can be represented as a sequence of distinct sounds or “segments” divided into two categories: consonants and vowels. ~Phonetic descriptions of sounds can be made in reference to how the sounds are produced. *English Consonants -English consonants can be distinguished and categorized by three distinctive features: ~Place/point of articulation: identifies the location of the passive and active articulators. ~Manner of articulation: describes how close the articulators get and how it affects the airflow. ~Voicing: indicates whether the vocal cords are pulled back (voiceless/unvoiced) or vibrate (voiced) when a consonant sound is produced. *Stops -Stops completely obstruct the airflow from the lungs through the mouth followed by a release of air. There are six stopped phonemes in English, three are voiced, three are unvoiced. -Bilabial (two-lip): ~Purse your lips to stop the airflow before releasing air. Voiced bilabial stop creates the “b” sound while the unvoiced bilabial stop creates the “p” sound. -Alveolar: ~Put the tip of your tongue on the alveolar ridge as you cut off and release the airflow. Voiced alveolar creates the “d” sound while the unvoiced alveolar stop creates the “t” sound. -Velar: ~Have the back of your tongue touch the velum as you cut off and release the airflow. Voiced velar will make the “g” sound while the unvoiced velar stop creates the “k” sound. -The glottal stop: The complete stoppage of airflow and then release (as in “uh-oh”) is a variation between “t” and “d” and is more of an allophone than a phenome. *Fricatives and Affricates -Fricatives occur when the active and passive articulators are brought very close together and create friction as the air passes through your mouth. -There are 5 types of Fricatives: ~Labiodental: Put your top teeth on your bottom lip and push the air through (this makes the “f” sound) ~Interdental: Put your tongue between your teeth and push the air through (this makes the “th” sound). ~Alveolar: Put the tip of your tongue on the alveolar ridge and push air through (unvoiced this creates an “s” sound; voiced it will create the “z” sound). ~Palatal: Move the front of your tongue back to the hard palate and push air through (unvoiced this creates the “sh” sound; voiced, it will create a sound such as the one in the middle of measure). ~Glottal: A puff of air preceding a vowel, as is the case with the “h” sound. -Affricates combine a stop and a fricative. Only two exist in English: ~Alveolar/Palatal Affricate: Start by making an alveolar stop (as if you were making the “t” or “d” sound and then create a palatal fricative (the “shy” or “z” sound). Without voicing, you will create the “ch” sound and with voicing, you will create the “j” sound. -Stops, fricatives, and affricates are all characterized as oral sounds because air is funneled through the mouth. ~They can also be referred to an obstruents because they all involve an airflow obstruction. -The rest of the English consonants can be described as sonorants because they make what we sometimes refer to as a humming sound. *Nasals -Involves the flow of air from the lungs through the nose. They are considered a stop because airflow in the mouth is cut off. They are voiced and there are three: ~Bilabial: Purse your lips as air flows through your nose. This is the “mm” sound. ~Alveolar: Put the tip of your tongue on the alveolar ridge and create sound as airflows through the nose. This is the “n” sound. ~Velar: Move the back of your tongue to touch the velum. This creates the “ng” sound. *Liquids and Glides -Liquids and glides are approximants because the articulators are near each other but not enough to obstruct airflow. -Lateral liquid: When the tongue touches the roof of the mouth and air flows around it, as is the case with the “l” sound. -Bunched: When the tongue is “bunched up,” creating the “r” sound. -Retroflex liquid: When the tip of the tongue is curled towards the top of the mouth and air is funneled up and over the tongue. This is another way of creating the “r” sound, especially in British English. -There is a lot of debate about where exactly the “r” sound is made in the mouth. -Bilabial glide: The lips come closer as they round but the tongue has a velar position. The “w” sound. -Palatal glide: The tongue moves up near the hard palate. This makes the “y” sound. *Syllabic Consonants and English Vowels -Four consonants behave like syllabic consonants because they often occur finally in unstressed syllables but can also occur in stressed syllables. These are l, m, n, and r. -Along with s and d, these are the most used consonants in the English language. -All vowels in English are voiced and require a continuous stream of air. They can be categorized by three distinctive features, all related to the placement and form of the tongue: ~Height: whether the tongue is high, middle, or low in the mouth. ~Frontness/backness: whether the tip of the tongue is near the front, middle, or back of the mouth. ~Tenseness/laxness: whether the tongue muscle is tense. *Front and Back Vowels -Vowels pronounced in the front of the mouth are referred to as front vowels; these include the vowels in words like “beat” to the vowel “bat.” -The jaw typically lowers to widen the oral cavity and the tongue lowers slightly and becomes more central. -Offglides: sounds when the vowel moves into a glide, as in “j” or “w.” -Onglides: when the sound moves from a glide to a vowel. Some people do this when they pronounce words like “Tuesday.” -Back vowels move, from high to low, from the “u” sound (as in “boot”) to “ah” (as in “bother”). *Central Vowels and Diphthongs -Central vowels are the most common in the English language and can be described as stressed and unstressed. ~Example: stressed vowels appear in words like “but” and unstressed vowels appear in words like the first syllable of “about.” -Diphthongs (multiple vowels at once): the combination of a vowel and a glide; it begins at the articulation point of one vowel and ends at the point of articulation of another. ~Examples: “buy” and “I” “bough” and “ow” “boy” and “oy” *Natural Classes -Consonants and vowels are described to help us identify the natural classes of sounds. -Natural class: A set of sounds that can be described by their shared features so as to include all those sounds and exclude others. ~Example: /p, b, t, d, k, g/ is the natural class of oral stops in English because they all stop airflow. The natural class that could come out of that is the set of bilabial oral stops (/p, b/). -Another natural class of sounds is the sibilants, or “hissing” sounds, including but not limited to /s/ and /z/.
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