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Phonetics as a linguistic science. Branches of phonetics. Phonetics and phonology



Phonetics as a linguistic science. Branches of phonetics. Phonetics and phonology

PHONETICS is a linguistic science that studies segmental sounds (vowels, consonants), the way they are organized into the system of units and prosodic phenomena (pitch, stress, tempo, rhythm). Being a science in its own right, it's at the same time closely connected with other linguistic sciences - grammar, lexicology, stylistics and the history of the language.

4 main branches of phonetics:

1. ARTICULATORY/PHYSIOLOGICAL - concerned with the study of sounds as the result of the activities of the speech organs; it deals with our voice-producing mechanism and the way we produce sounds.

2. PERCEPTUAL/AUDITORY - study of man's perception of segmental sounds, pitch variation, loudness and duration.

3. ACOUSTIC/PHYSICAL - acoustic aspect of speech sounds (pitch, spectrum, timber, loudness, length).

4. FUNCTIONAL/LINGUISTIC/PHONOLOGY - purely linguistic branch of phonetics. It deals with the functional aspect of sound phenomena. Phonology sets out to discover those segmental and prosodic features that have a differential value in a language, and it established the system of phonemes.

 

Articulatory classification of speech sounds

VOWEL - a voiced sound in forming of which the air needs no obstruction and no narrowing that would cause audible friction. All the other sounds are called CONSONANTS.

CLASSIFICATION OF VOWELS:

1. according to the horizontal movement of the tongue:

- front (i:, e, æ)

- front-retracted (i)

- mixed (з:, schwa-vowel)

- back-advanced (u, /\, o)

- back (u:, o:)

2. according to the vertical movement of the tongue:

- close/high (i:, i, u:, u)

- mid (e, schwa-vowel, з:)

- open/low (æ, a:, /\, o:, o)

3. according to the position of lips:

- rounded/labialized (o, o:, u, u:)

- unrounded/unlabialized (all the rest)

4. according to the degree of muscular tension:

- tense (all long vowels)

- lax (all short vowels)

5. according to the force of articulation at the end of the vowel:

- free - weakens at the end (long monophthongs, diphthongs, unstressed short vowels)

- checked - no weakening, are pronounced abruptly, are followed by a consonant (stressed short vowels)

6. according to the stability of articulation:

- monophthongs

- diphthongs

- triphthongs

- diphthongized (i:, u:)

7. according to the length/duration:

- long

- short

CLASSIFICATION OF CONSONANTS:

1. according to the type of obstruction and the manner of production of noise:

- occlusives (stops/plosives - p, b, k, g, t, d; nasal sonorants - m, n, nasal n)

- constrictives (fricatives - f, v, s, z, ш, ж, dental; oral sonorants - l, j, r, w)

- occlusive-constrictives/affricates (дж, ч)

2. according to the active speech organ which causes an obstruction:

- labial (bilabial - b, p, m, w; labio-dental - f, v)

- lingual (backlingual - k, g, nasal n; mediolingual - j; forelingual - t, d, s, z, n, dental, r)

- pharyngeal/glottal (h)

3. according to the place of obstruction:

- dental

- alveolar (t, d, n, s, z, l)

- post-alveolar (r)

- palatal (j)

- palato-alveolar (ш, ж, ч, дж)

- velar (nasal n)

4. according to the presence/absence of voice:

- voiced

- voiceless

5. according to the force of articulation:

- fortis (all voiceless)

- lenis (all voiced)

6. according to the position of the soft palate:

- oral

- nasal

 

The phoneme as a linguistic unit. Its definition and functions

PHONEME - the smallest linguistically relevant unit of the sound structure of a given language which serves to distinguish 1 word from another. The phoneme is a minimal abstract linguistic unit realized in speech in the form of speech sounds opposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words.

1. The phoneme isa functional unit. In phonetics function is usually understood as the role of various units of the phonetic system in distinguishing 1 morpheme from another, one word from another or one utterance from another - DISTINCTIVE FUNCTION.

2. The phoneme is material, real and objective. That means it's realised in speech in the form of speech sounds, its allophones. The phonemes constitute the material form of morphemes - CONSTITUTIVE FUNCTION.

3. The phoneme performs the RECOGNITIVE FUNCTION because the use of the right allophones and other phonetic units facilitates normal recognition.

 

Manifestation of phonemes in speech. Phoneme and allophone

The British phonetician Daniel Jones said: "We think in phonemes and speak in allophones". So in speech all the phonemes are manifested in their allophones.

ALLOPHONES of a certain phoneme are speech sounds which are realizations of one and the same phoneme and which can't distinguish words.

Allophones can be:

1. POSITIONAL - are used in certain positions traditionally; can be dialectal or individual.

2. COMBINATORY - appear in the result of assimilations, adaptation, accomodation - 1 sound is influenced by another.

Allophones of the same phoneme, no matter how different their articulation may be, function as the same linguistic unit. Phonemes differentiate words like "tie" and "die" from each other, and to be able to hear and produce phonemic differences is a part of what it means to be a competent speaker of the language. Allophones, on the other hand, have no such function: they usually occur in different ostions in the word (i.e. in different environments) and hence can't be opposed to each other to make meaningful distinctions.

 

Methods of the identification of phonemes in a language

The 1st problem of phonological analysis is to establish the number and system of phonemes in the language. There are 2 methods of analysis:

1. DISTRIBUTIONAL METHOD - states that the sounds can be groups of phonemes (allophones of 1 phoneme occur only in different context because they can't perform distinctive function). It is purely formal method of identifying the phonemes of a language.

2. SEMANTIC METHOD - is based on the phonological rule that a phoneme can distinguish words (the meaning or the form) when it is opposed to another phoneme in identical phonetic contexts (so-called minimal pairs).

The distinctive and non-distinctive features of English vowels

Vowels have 2 main characteristics: length and quality. Quality is the distinctive feature of a vowel, regardless of the position of the vowel. It components:

1. stability of articulation (monophthongs, diphthongs, triphthongs, diphthongized vowels)

2. the position of the tongue (horizontal and vertical movement of the tongue, lip rounding)

Other components are:

1) lip position

2) tenseness

3) checkness

They are considered non-distinctive as they have no phonological value. Vowel LENGTH os also a non-distinctive feature. It is dependent on the phonetic context, in the particular on the following consonant. It is the so-called "positional length". Vowels are the longest in the open syllable, slightly shorter before a sonorant or a voiced consonant and they are the shortest before the voiceless consonant:

be [i:] - the longest

beed [i:d] - a bit shorter

beat [i:t] - much shorter

The distinctive and non-distinctive features of English consonants

Most phoneticians agree that distinctive features of English consonants are:

1. manner of articulation way in which the obstruction of the airstream is produced - Vasiliev's point of view (occlusives – 2 articulators form a complete closure which is suddenly released, constrictives – the 2 articulators come close together forming a stricture, affricates)

2. place of articulation – the location in the vocal tract where a particular speech sound is produced (labial:bilabial/labio-dental, lingual:dental/interdental/alveolar/palato-alveolar/post-alveolar, glottal)

3. degree of noise - Sokolova's point of view (noise, sonorants)

The following characteristics are not important from the phonological point of view but still very important for the articulation of sounds:

1) palatalization – softening of the consonants due to the rising of the back of the tongue to the hard palate

2) aspiration – puff of air following the release of a plosive

3) nasalization- pronounce or utter (a speech sound) with the breath resonating in the nose

 

Speech tempo and pausation

TEMPO

The tempo of speech is the rate at which utterances and their smaller units are pronounced. On the acoustic level tempo is generally measured by the number of syllables per second.

Tempo of speech may be determined by different factors. It may vary depending on the size of audience, the acoustic qualities of the room, the individuality of the speaker and other extralinguistic factors. But most significant for the linguistic study is how variations in tempo correlate with changes in meaning.

It is common knowledge that by slowing down the tempo of speech we can make an utterance or part of it more prominent, thus underlining the semantic importance of it.

On the contrary, by increasing the speed of utterance we diminish prominence and, as a result the actual semantic importance of what we say.

Tempo can also be used to express the speaker's attitude or emotion. For example, fast tempo may express excitement, joy, anger, etc. Slow tempo shows relaxation or calmness, reserved and phlegmatic attitude on the part of the speaker.

Everybody's speech has some norm of tempo, deviations from which affect meaning. Phoneticians generally distinguish normal tempo and two departures from the norm: fast and slow.

PAUSES

The speech continuum is divided into units of different length and hierarchy by means of pauses. It is the main function of a pause to segment connected speech into utterances and intonation groups to delimit one utterance or intonation group from another. Pauses are closely related with tempo: the number and length of pauses affect the general tempo of speech.

Phoneticians distinguish 3 main types of pauses: silent pauses, pauses of perception and voiced (or filled} pauses.

A silent pause is a stop in the phonation (a stop of the work of the vocal cords, which results in the cessation of sound).

Pauses of perception are not a stop in phonation, as there is no period of silence. The effect of a pause is produced by a sharp change of pitch direction, or by variations in duration, or both.

Pauses of perception are generally marked by a wavy line which is used at the junction of intonation groups.

Voiced pauses have usually the quality of the central vowel [ 3: (Э) ] with or without nasalization [ э (m) ]. They are used to signal hesitation or doubt and are therefore called hesitation pauses.

Pauses are very important constituents of intonation. Besides their segmentative and delimitative functions they also perform a unifying function showing the relations between utterances or intonation groups.

 

Phonetics as a linguistic science. Branches of phonetics. Phonetics and phonology

PHONETICS is a linguistic science that studies segmental sounds (vowels, consonants), the way they are organized into the system of units and prosodic phenomena (pitch, stress, tempo, rhythm). Being a science in its own right, it's at the same time closely connected with other linguistic sciences - grammar, lexicology, stylistics and the history of the language.

4 main branches of phonetics:

1. ARTICULATORY/PHYSIOLOGICAL - concerned with the study of sounds as the result of the activities of the speech organs; it deals with our voice-producing mechanism and the way we produce sounds.

2. PERCEPTUAL/AUDITORY - study of man's perception of segmental sounds, pitch variation, loudness and duration.

3. ACOUSTIC/PHYSICAL - acoustic aspect of speech sounds (pitch, spectrum, timber, loudness, length).

4. FUNCTIONAL/LINGUISTIC/PHONOLOGY - purely linguistic branch of phonetics. It deals with the functional aspect of sound phenomena. Phonology sets out to discover those segmental and prosodic features that have a differential value in a language, and it established the system of phonemes.

 







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