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Types of utterance stress. Factors conditioning the location of utterance stress
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The subsystem of utterance stress in English includes 3 basic functional types (the main difference between them is in the way the syllables that bear them are marked):
1. NUCLEAR - is generally marked by a kinetic tone and is, therefore, perceived as the most prominent.
2. NON-NUCLEAR FULL - more often is marked by static tones. Both are pitch prominent, both initiate tones.
3. PARTIAL - stress syllable is not pitch prominent, doesn’t initiate tones, his pitch characteristics depend on the pitch pattern of the preceding fully stressed syllable.
The distribution of stresses in an utterance depends on several factors (Torsuyev):
1) SEMANTIC - the semantic centre of an utterance is singled out by the nuclear stress, in their turn non-nuclear full stresses signal greater semantic value than partial stresses; notional word are predisposed to be stressed
2) GRAMMATICAL - grammatical structure determines the accentual structure (the inverted word order for expressing question requires stress on the auxiliary verb)
3) RHYTHMICAL - notional words may be or unstressed and form words may be stressed due to the English rhythm.
26. Speech rhythm and utterance stressUTTERANCE STRESS - the special prominence given to 1 or more words in an utterance. The means, with the help of which this prominence is achieved are variations of pitch, loudness, length and quality. Acoustically, utterance stress is determined by variations of fundamental frequency, intensity, duration and formant structure. RHYTHM - regularity or periodicity in the occurrence of a particular phenomenon in an utterance. In some languages the recurring phenomena are stresses, in others - syllables. So languages can be characterized either by stress-timed or syllable-timed rhythm. English is considered to be mostly a language with stress-timed rhythm (it presupposes that utterance stress serves as a basis for the rhythmical organization of speech and that stresses segment the speech continuum into units of more or less equal length. These are accentual, or rhythmic units. Hierarchically higher are prosodic units: intonation groups and utterances. Rhythmic units form a certain hierarchy, since stresses, on which they are based, are not equal in their prominence, position and function. The most prominent and functionally more important is the nuclear stress. Therefore the NUCLEAR RHYTHMIC UNIT is the most important in an utterance. A rhythmic unit formed by full stress together with partial stress can be defined as a COMPLEX RHYTHMIC UNIT.
The basic unit of the rhythmic organization of speech and the problem of its phonetic delimitation in an utterance
English rhythm presupposes that utterance stress serves as a basis for the rhythmical organization of speech and that stresses segment the speech continuum into units of more or less equal length. These are ACCENTUAL, or RHYTHMIC UNITS. Rhythmic units are nothing but elements of rhythm. Rhythm as regularity of occurence of stressed syllables manifests itself in hierarchically higher prosodic units - intonation groups and utterances.
Since the approximate isochrony of intervals between stressed syllables is regarded as a measure of English rhythm, a great number of phoneticians (A/ Classe, D. Abercrombie, H. Halliday, J. Pring) define the unit of rhythm as a sequence of syllables from 1 stressed syllable to another. But this formal rhythmic division does not reflect the relations between prosodic units and the units of the other subsystems of the language, as the syllables of one and the same word may be parts of different rhythmic units (semantic importance).
G. Torsuyev, V. Vassilyev, R. Kingdon, J. O'Connor, W. Jassem and other scholars represent another approach to rhythmic division. According to this approach the boundaries between rhythmic units are determined by the semantic and grammatical relations between the wrods of an utterance. With such rhythmic division the syllables of a word always belong to the same rhythmic unit, form words join the stressed syllable as proclitics and enclitics, depending on their semantic links.
The phonetic nature and types of speech rhythm in different languages.
RHYTHM - regularity or periodicity in the occurrence of a particular phenomenon in an utterance. In some languages the recurring phenomena are stresses, in others - syllables. So languages can be characterized either by stress-timed or syllable-timed rhythm. English is considered to be mostly a language with stress-timed rhythm (it presupposes that utterance stress serves as a basis for the rhythmical organization of speech and that stresses segment the speech continuum into units of more or less equal length. These are accentual, or rhythmic units. Hierarchically higher are prosodic units: intonation groups and utterances. ISOCHRONY is a characteristic feature of English rhythm. But perfect isochronism can be realized very rarely, only when definite conditions are fulfilled.
The rhythmic unit is a perceptible unit which can be isolated due to its prosodic features and meanings. Acoustically, rhythm is a complex of variations in frequency, intensity and duration. Since the basis of rhythm is stress, which is a structural acoustic phenomenon, rhythm is a structural acoustic phenomenon too and it is achieved by the same acoustic parameters that produce the effect of stress.
Speech tempo and pausation
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.
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.
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