The phonetic nature and types of speech rhythm in different languages.



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The phonetic nature and types of speech rhythm in different languages.



RhythmAn essential feature of connected speech is that the peaks of prominence - the stressed syllables - are inseparably connected with non-prominent syllables. The latter are attached to the stressed syllables, they never exist by themselves. The simplest example of a close relationship between the stressed and unstressed syllables is a polysyllabic word-utterance which is a phonetic and semantic entity incapable of division, e.g.:`Excellent. To`morrow. `Certainly.

Thus an utterance is split into groups of syllables unified by a stressed syllable, i.e. stress-groups, each of which is a semantic unit - generally a word, often more than a word.

An important feature of English pronunciation is that the prominent syllables in an utterance occur at approximately equal periods of time. It means more or less equal time for each of the stressed groups:

I'd 'like to 'give you a 'piece of ad`vice.

______ ______ ______ ______

When the number of syllables in adjacent stress-groups is not equal, the speed of utterance will be the highest in the group having the largest number of syllables and, vice versa, the tempo is noticeably slower in a group having fewer syllables. Thus the perceptible isochrony of stress-groups is based on the speakers tending to minimize the differences in thelength of stressed groups in an utterance.Thus it has been shown that stress in English performs an important function of 'organizing' an utterance, providing the basis for its r h у t h m i с structure which is the realization of rhythm as a prosodic feature of speech. Rhythm is defined in different languages in largely the same terms. The notion of rhythm implies, first of all, a certain periodicity of phonological events. For an English utterance these events, as has been made clear, are the stressed syllables. Such a periodicity is a peculiarity of English. English speech is therefore often described as more 'rhythmic' than, for example, Russian.It follows that the units of the rhythmic organization of an utterance are stress-groups, which may be as well called rhythmic groups.

 

 

Speech prosody. Its perceptible qualities and acoustic properties.

MEANINGS OF PROSODYThe functions and meanings of prosody should be described with reference to the utterance as the basic communicative unit. The prosody of an utterance (intonation) carries independent meanings of its own, regardless of the words and the grammatical structure of the utterance.

The prosody of the utterance is polysemantic. Due to its structural comp­lexity it can express a number of different meanings of interrogation, non-finality, uncertainty, non—categoric attitude, surprise, etc. The inherent meanings of prosody which are of a general character (such as definiteness — uncertainty, assertiveness — reservations, separateness — connectedness, etc.) are specified and concretized when interacting with the grammatical and lexical meanings of the utterance. There may be cases of correlation and harmony between the inherent meanings of prosody and the meanings of words and grammatical structures as well as disbalance and disharmony. For example, "lt may be/So" (But I'm not quite sure). The falling—rising tone is in harmony with the modal verb. Whereas in "It may be so" (I'm absolutely sure about it) the falling tone makes the statement sound categoric. Or agajn, the meanings of the prosodic structures in the utterances "I like that" and "Clever 'aren't you?" with the challenging or antagonistic Rise—Fall are opposite to the meaning of the words. Intonation gives greater precision and point to the meaning. It provides important information which is not contained in any of the other features of utterance. Hence the role of utterance prosody in communication.

.FUNCTIONS OF PROSODYThe prosody of the utterance performs a number of functions, the basic of which are constitutive, distinctive and identificatory. 1. The constitutive function is to form utterances as commu­nicative units. Prosody unifies words into utterances, thus giving the latter the final form without which they cannot exist. A succession of words arranged syntactically is not a communicative unit until a certain prosodic pattern is attached to it. E.G. "Pete has left for Leningrad" is not a communi­cative unit until it is pronounced , i.e. until it acquires a certain pitch—and— stress pattern. Prosody is the only language device that transform words as vocabulary items into comnunicative units — utterances. In written speech prosodic features are to some extent indicated by punctua­tion marks, e.g. "Fire!" is a command or an exclamation, depending on the situation in which it occurs, "Fire?" — a question, "Fire". - a. statement.Prosody forms all communicative types of utterances — statements, questions, imperatives, exclamations and modal (attitudinal) types: — e.g. categoric statements, non-categoric, perfunctory statements, quizzical statements, certainty and uncertainty questions, insistent questions, etc. In constituting an utterance, prosody at the same time performs the segmentative and de limitative function. It segments connected discourse into utterances and intonation groups, and simultaneously delimits them one from another, showing relations between them. It also signals the semantic nucleus and other semantically important words of an ut­terance (or an intonation group). Prosody also constitutes phonetic styles of speech 2. The distinctive function of prosody manifests itself in several particular functions, depending on the meaning which is differentiated. These are communicative—distinctive, modal-distinctive, culminative ("theme— rheme") distinctive, syntactical — distinctive and stylistic—distinctive functions. The communicative —distinctive function is to differen­tiate the communicative types of utterances, i.e. statements, questions, ex­clamations, imperatives, and communicative subtypes: within statements — statesments proper, answers, announcements, etc.; within questions — first instance questions, repeated questions, echo ques­tions; within imperatives — commands, requests and so on. The modal-distinctive (attitudinal-distinctive) function of prosody manifests itself in differentiating modal meanings of utterances (such as certainty versus uncertainty, definiteness versus indefiniteness) and the speaker's attitudes (for instance, a reserved, dispassionate versus involved, interested attitude, or antagonistic versus friendly attitude and so on). Into this function some phoneticians include differentiation of the speaker's emo­tions, the emotional function.The culminative — distinctive function of prosody manifests itself in differentiating the location of the semantic nucleus of utterances and other semantically important words. This function is often called logical, pre­dicative and accentual.

The adherents to the theory of "sentence perspective" claim that in this way prosody indicates the "theme-rheme" organization of an utterance, i.e. it distinguishes between what is already known and what is new in the utte­rance.

The syntactical—distinctive function of prosody is to dif­ferentiate syntactical types of sentences and syntactical relations in sentences.Stylistic — distinctive function of prosody manifests itself in that prosody differentiates pronunciation (phonetic) styles, determined by extralinguistic factors. 3. The identificatory function of prosody is to provide a basis for the hearer's identification of the communicative and modal type of an ut­terance, its semantic and syntactical structure with the situation of the discourse.All the functions of prosody are fulfilled simultaneously and cannot be separated one from another. They show that utterance prosody is linguistically significant and meaningful.

 



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