ТОП 10:

Relations between Phonetics and Phonology

N. Trubetskoy: “Phonetics (1) and Phonology (2) are independent sciences”. (1) is biological and concerned with different characteristics of speech sounds; (2) is linguistic and concerned with the social function of phonetic phenomena.

The majority of Soviet phoneticians: “it is not logical to separate function from form”.

TODAY: the idea of unity of (1) and (2); the description of the ways phonological language units function in real speech.

Additional Branches of Phonetics

-General Phonetics

-Special (Descriptive) Phonetics

-Comparative Phonetics

-Practical Phonetics

-Theoretical Phonetics

-Historical Phonetics

-Contemporary Phonetics

Links with Other Branches of Linguistics

- Grammar (through orphography and intonation (e.g. man-men, foot-feet, sing-sang, wife-wives; distinction of different types of sentences: He came home (F). He came home (R) );

- Lexicology (through pronunciation and word-stress (e.g. homographs: wind [i] – to wind [ai], ‘object – to ob’ject);

- History of a Language (e.g. hasty-nasty);

- Stylistics (through intonation + graphical expressive means e.g. repetition of words, capitalization or italics: THINK before you cross the road).

Links with Non-Linguistic Sciences

· Physiology

· Biology

· Physics

· Psychology

· History

· Statistics

· !!!Computer sciences (automatic speech recognition, creation of synthetic speech, perception of speech by computer)

Methods of Phonetic Analysis

Subjective (introspective) – the oldest and the simplest – direct observation and sensory analysis.

Objective (instrumental) (2nd half of the 20th cent.) – the use of various instrumental techniques (palatography, laryngoscopy, X-ray photography, etc.)

CONSOSNANT – is a speech sound produced by a partial or complete obstruction of the air stream by a constriction of the speech organs. (24 consonant sounds in English)

Consonants are usually classified according to the following principles:

According to the type of obstruction and the manner of the production of noise: occlusive and constrictive. Occlusive consonants are produced with a complete obstruction formed by the articulating organs, the air-passage in the mouth cavity is blocked. Occlusive consonants may be: (A) noise consonants and (B) sonorants.

According to the manner of the production of noise occlusive noise consonants are divided into plosive consonants (or stops) and affricates.

Constrictive consonants may be: (A) noise consonants (or fricatives) and (B) sonorants.


According to the active speech organ and the place of obstruction: labial, lingual and glottal.

According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation: voiced and voiceless, fortis, lenis.

According to the position of the soft palate: oral and nasal.


The distinction between vowels and consonants is based upon their articulatory and acoustic characteristics. Unlike consonants vowels are produced with no obstruction to the stream of the air and on the perception level their integral characteristics is a musical sound or tone formed by means of periodic vibrations of the vocal cords in the larynx. In producing vowels the muscular tension is equally spread over all speech organs. (20 vowel sounds: 12 vowels+8 diphthongs)


- the stability of articulation: monophthongs, diphthongs

- the position of a tongue: front, mixed (central), back

- the vertical movements of a tongue: high or close, mid or half-open, low or open

- the position of the lips: rounded or labialized and unrounded or non-labialized

- length or quantity or duration

- tenseness

Фонема как диалектическая единица.

Phoneme - is the smallest further indivisible abstract linguistically relevant unit of the sound structure of a given language which serves to distinguish one word from another. The linguistic role of a phoneme is clearly seen from its main functions:

1.Сonstitutive (ph-mes constitute morphemes and words)

2.Distinctive (ph-mes distinguish one word from another)

3.Identificatory (native speakers identify definite combinations of ph-mes as meaningful linguistic units)

According to V. Vassilyev, ph-me is a dialectical unity of three aspects:

1. material, real and objective (it exists in the form of a number of definite speech sounds, is a linguistic reality, exists independently of the will of individual persons);

2. abstract and generalized (is an abstraction from and a generalization of actual utterances);

3. functional (is capable of differentiating the meaning of morphemes, words and even sentences).

Allophones - are possible variants, realizations of one and the same phoneme, which never occur in similar phonetic context.


· free from the influence of neighboring sounds

· the most representative of the phoneme as a whole


· Combinatory (influenced by neighbouring sounds);

· Positional (used in definite position traditionally according to the orthoepic norm).

Features of Phonemes and Allophones in Comparison
Phonemes Allophones
abstractsound types realspeech sounds, realizations of phonemes in speech
the number in a language is limited the number is unlimited
may occur in one and the same position occur only in a certain position
can differentiate lexical and grammatical meanings of words when opposed to another phoneme can not differentiate meanings of words
phonologicalunits phoneticunits
objects of phonological analysis


The reasons for sound variations are:

§ organic (genetic) (different shapes of speech organs);

§ structural and systemic (ph-c units are the units of a system with its structure and relations);

§ stylistic (ph-c units serve to differentiate styles of speech);

§ dialectal (var-n is caused by social and dialectal differences, traditions).

Types of Sound Variation

ü Idiolectal (is caused by genetic reason) (e.g. if a speaker lisps he says “thish ish” for “this is”)

ü Diaphonic (is caused by historical tendencies active in certain localities at a certain period of time) (e.g. /æ/ ranges from a front open [æ] in the southern part of England to [a] in Northern England map [æ] – map [a])

ü Allophonic (is caused by ph-c environment and ph-c position of sounds)

ü Individual (is caused by individual peculiarities of the speaker: age, gender, emotional state, social status, situation of communication)


Sound modifications – are allophonic variations of speech sounds caused by their position in a word.

· Reduction (weakening of articulation and shortening of duration of vowels in an unstressed position)

(e.g.so [səu], so late [so `leit], not so late [`not sə ,leit]);

· Accommodation (the process of adapting the articulation of consonants to vowels or vice versa)

(e.g. the shortening of /i:/ in “cease” in comparison with “see”);

· Assimilation (the process of adapting the articulation of consonants to consonants)

(e.g. consonant may lose its plosion – “that time”);

· Elision (a complete loss of sound in the word structure in connected speech)


Consonant Elision

e.g. loss of [h] in he, his, her, hers, have (What has he done?);

loss of plosives in clusters followed by another consonant (next day, last time);

loss of [v] before consonants in rapid speech (give me your pen).

Vowel Elision (complete omission of the unstressed vowel)

e.g. history [histeri]-[histri];

correct [cerekt-krekt];

Has he done it? [zidan it].

Insertion is a process of sound addition to the word structure.

e.g.: linking [r] - car owner; intrusive [r] – Indiarand China; inserted [w]in going, allowing.

All-nic modifications are regulated by “the law of the stronger” (the stronger ph-me influences the weaker one) and are caused by “economy of efforts” (the speaker avoids articulatory movements which are not absolutely necessary for intelligibility of speech).


Problem of phonological analysis №1: to establish the list of ph-mes in a definite l-ge.

Methods to solve the problem:

o the distributional method (is based on the phonological rule that different ph-mes can freely occur in one and the same position, while all-nes of one and the same ph-me occur in different positions - rope [p] – robe [b])

o the semantic method (is based on the phonological rule that a ph-me can distinguish words when opposed to another ph-me or zero ph-me in an identical ph-c position)

If two speech sounds distinguish words with different meanings they form a phonological opposition(e.g. pack – tack).

The opposition of a phoneme versus zero phoneme is called a zero (phonological) opposition

(e.g. tray [t] – ray [-]).

The pairs of words which differ only in one speech sound are called minimal pairs (e.g. ship [i]- sheep [i:]).

The commutation test

Aim - to establish minimal oppositional pairs;

Definition: the systemic substitution of one sound for another in the same phonetic context in order to find cases in which such a replacement leads to the change in meaning.

e.g. pin – bin, sin, din, tin, win (diffr. m-gs, diffr. ph-mes)

It is not always a simple thing to identify all the ph-mes of a language. The question is:

whether sound [ə] is a separate ph-me or an all-ne;

whether [j] and [w] in English are all-nes of [i] and [u] or they are separate ph-mes.

There are cases when the establishment of phonological oppositions is not sufficient to determine the ph-mic status of a sound, especially when the sound is of a complex nature.

N. Trubetskoy worked out a number of rules which help to determine whether a sound of a complex nature is monophonemic:

a ph-me is indivisible, as no syllabic division can occur within a ph-me;

a ph-me is produced by one articulatory effort;

the duration of a ph-me should not exceed that of other ph-mes in a language.

According to these rules:

/tʃ/, /dȝ/ are monophonemic combinations

/ts/, /tz/, /tr/, /dr/ are biphonemic combinations

triphthongs are biphonemic combinations

In such a way it has been established that in the

English language there are 12 vowel phonemes:

/ i:, i, e, æ, o, o:, u, u:, a, ʌ, ɜ:, ə /

8 diphthongs:

3 glides to /i/ – / ei, ai, oi /

2 glides to /u/ – /ou, au /

3 glides to /ǝ/ – / iǝ, ɛǝ, uǝ/

24 consonant phonemes:

/ n , t, d, s, l, ð, v, m, k, w, z, r, b, f, p, h, η, g, ʃ, j, dȝ, tʃ, θ, ȝ /

Problem of the phonological analysis №2: the identification of the inventory of distinctive features on which all the phonological oppositions in a l-ge are based.

Each ph-me is characterized by a certain number of phonologically relevant features, which are its constant distinctive features and bring changes in meaning (occlusive – constrictive [d-z], labial – lingual [p-k]).

Each all-ne of a certain ph-me is characterized by definite phonologically relevant features (which are common to all its all-nes) plus a number of phonologicallyirrelevant features(articulatory features which do not serve to distinguish meaning – aspiration, tenseness, lip rounding).

Problem of the phonological analysis №3: to describe the interrelationships among the ph-mes of a l-ge.

There are three views on this problem:

1. the morphological approach(R.Avanesov, P. Kuznetsov, A. Reformatsky…)

a ph-me in a weak position may lose one of its distinctive features and distinctive function;

one and the same sound may belong to one ph-me in one word and to another ph-me in another word:

e.g.луг – [лук] [k1] is an all-ne of a ph-me [г]

лук – [лук] [k2] is an all-ne of a ph-me [k]

2.the phonological approach (L. Shcherba, L.Zinder…)

speech sounds in a neutral position belong to that phoneme with whose principle variant they completely or nearly coincide:

e.g. [т] in кот-код belongs to ph-me [т].

3.the third approach(N. Trubetzkoy, R. Jakobson)

an archiph-me represents a combination of distinctive features common to two different ph-mes excluding their specific features:

e.g. both [к] and [г] in «лук» and «луг» are assigned to an abstract unit which is neither [к] nor [г] .

All-nic differences are not observed by native speakers but all-nic modifications of different ph-mes completely change the meaning of morphemes, words and sentences.

Mistakes in the articulation of sounds:

phonological (an all-ne is replaced by an all-ne of a different ph-me) – affect the meaning of words (beat: [bi:t-bit]);

phonetic (an all-ne is replaced by another all-ne of the same ph-me) – the meaning does not change (the absence of aspiration in [pit]).

!!! Guide the students in order not to admit phonological mistakes. Ph-c mistakes are possible but not advisable, because they produce a foreign accent and may affect the listener’s perception.


Transcription -a visual system of phonetic notation organized as a set of symbols representing speech sounds; it solves the problem of representing the speech visually.

Types of transcription:

- phonemic, or broad transcription (special symbols for all ph-mes in a l-ge) used for practical experience;

- allophonic, or narrow transcription (special symbols adding some information about the articulatory activityof particular all-nic features) used for research work.


Слог как звуковой комплекс.

The Syllable as a Phonetic Unit – is the smallest articulatory and perceptible unit.

When we pronounce a syllable the speech organs, while producing a consonant (vowel), take all the positions necessary for the following vowel (consonant).

The listener can recognize the preceding sound only after he has analyzed the whole s-le. And it takes less time to identify a s-le than the isolated sounds it contains.


The Syllable as a Phonological Unit - is a structural unit which consists of a vowel alone or of a vowel (or a syllabic sonorant) surrounded by consonants in the numbers and arrangements permitted by a given language.

4 structural types of syllables:

Ø covered open (CV), when there is no consonant after the vowel (e.g. "no" ‑ [nəu])

Ø uncovered closed (VC), when the vowel is followed by a consonant (e.g. "odd" – [od])

Ø covered closed (CVC!!!), when the vowel is preceded by a consonant (e.g. "note" – [nəut])

Ø uncovered open (V), then there is no consonant before the vowel (e.g. “oh”– [əu])


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