English Phonetics and Phonology

English Phonetics and Phonology

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[09/04/15]   1- Aspiration in English: […..h]
Aspiration is: a moment of release until the vocal folds start to vibrate for the following vowel and it can be characterized as a puff of air appears after the voiceless plosive. It is symbolized as (h) after the plosive.

[p, t, k] are all voiceless plosives, while [b, d, g] are all voiced plosives consonants. Pan = /pæn/ = [phæn].

- Now let us have a rule for the aspiration: whenever [p, t, k] occur in the beginning of the syllable or in the stressed syllable, they will be aspirated.

Now let us study the following situations:
-In / pan, tan, can/ we have a voiceless consonants followed directly with a voiced vowel. We all know that all vowels are oral and voiced. Therefore, when we produce [p, t, k] there is a movement from voiceless consonant to a voiced vowel
.
-When we move from /p/ to /a/ there is a little stream or a puff of air goes directly after producing /p/ sound. This sound is /h/ sound and we call this situation as "aspiration".
- If voiceless plosive are preceded by /s/, so there is no aspiration.
S +voiceless plosives + a vowel => No aspiration, e.g.:
"spin" / spIn/ [spIn]

[07/15/14]   6- Transcription in English
Transcription is the use of the phonetic symbols to represent the sounds of words. We have two types of transcription:
1- Phonemic transcription: every speech sound is identified as one of the phonemes and written with the appropriate symbol. Phonemes are enclosed in slashes / / or slant lines, e.g.
"pen" /pen/
2- Phonetic transcription (allophonic): it is more accurate in phonetic detail and contains much more information than phonemic transcription. We use allophones and enclose them in square brackets, e.g.: "pen" [ ph n]
-There are two kinds of phonetic transcription:
- Broad phonetic transcription: it contains a little information than the Narrow phonetic transcription.
- Narrow phonetic transcription: it contains a lot of information about the exact quality of the sounds.
- examples:
"pen" /pen/ ---------------------- Phonemic transcription
"pen" [ ph n] ------------------- Phonetic transcription
-The small marks [ ] and [h] are called diacritics.

[06/11/14]   B- Assimilation of manner:
Assimilation of manner is always Regressive assimilation. A final plosive becomes a fricative or nasal.
"good night" [gʊn naIt] --------------- nasal
"that side" [ðæs saId] ------------------ fricative

C- Assimilation of voice:
Assimilation of voice can be found across morpheme boundary is possible in English. Progressive assimilation of voice occurs with the suffixes /s/ and /z / in three cases:
When a noun carries an "-s" plural suffix
When a verb carries a third person singular "-s" suffix
When a noun carries an "-s" possessive suffix
The suffix will be pronounced as /s/ if the preceding consonant is fortis (voiceless), and as /z/ if the preceding consonant is lenis (voiced).
"cats" [ kæts] -------------------------- "dogs" [dɒgz]
"jumps" [ʤ^mps] -------------------- "runs" [r^nz]
"Pat's" [pæts] ------------------------- "Pam's" [pæmz]

[04/10/14]   Types of assimilation:
A- Assimilation of place:
It is found in cases where a final alveolar consonant is followed by a non-alveolar initial consonant. Assimilation of place is always regressive:
1- Alveolar + bilabial = bilabial
/t/ becomes /p/ before/p, b/ (to maintain the voicelessness feature)
"that boy" [ðæb bɔI] "that person" [ðæt pɜːsn]
/d/ becomes /b/ before /p, b/
"bad boy" [bæb bɔI]
/n/ becomes /m/ before /p, b/
"in put" [Im pʊt]
2- Alveolar + dental = dentalized alveolar
/t/ becomes dental before /ð, θ/
"that thing" [ðæt θIŋ]
/d/ becomes dental before /ð, θ/
"and then" [ænd ðen]
/n/ becomes dental before / ð, θ/
"in the" [In ðə]
3- Alveolar + velar = velar
/t/ becomes /k/ before /k, g/
"that case" [ðæk keIs]
/d/ becomes /g/ before / k, g/
"bad guy" [ bæg gaI]
/n/ becomes / ŋ / before /k, g/
"in case" [Iŋ keIs]
4- /s/ becomes /∫ / before /∫, j/
"this year" [ðI∫ jIə]
"this shop" [ðI∫ ∫ɒp]
5- /z/ becomes /ʒ/ before /∫, j/
"those years" [ðəʊʒ jIəz]

English Phonetics and Phonology

5- Aspects of Connected Speech
Assimilation: Sounds belonging to one word can cause changes in sounds belonging to neighboring words. A phoneme is realized differently as a result of being near another phoneme belonging to a neighboring word. This is called assimilation. Assimilation is found in rapid speech and is less likely in slow, careful speech.
Final consonant / Initial consonant
----CF / CI----
If CF changes to become like CI in some way, the assimilation is called Regressive that is to say that the consonant affect the previous one. (The phoneme that comes first is affected by the one that comes after it.)
If CI changes to become like CF in some way, the assimilation is called progressive. (The phoneme that comes second is affected by the one that comes first.)

[02/11/14]   5- Aspects of Connected Speech
Assimilation: Sounds belonging to one word can cause changes in sounds belonging to neighboring words. A phoneme is realized differently as a result of being near another phoneme belonging to a neighboring word. This is called assimilation. Assimilation is found in rapid speech and is less likely in slow, careful speech.
Final consonant / Initial consonant
----CF / CI----
If CF changes to become like CI in some way, the assimilation is called Regressive that is to say that the consonant affect the previous one. (The phoneme that comes first is affected by the one that comes after it.)
If CI changes to become like CF in some way, the assimilation is called progressive. (The phoneme that comes second is affected by the one that comes first.)

[01/16/14]   Some:
(When this word occurs before a countable noun, meaning "unknown individual" it has the strong form /s^m/, e.g. "I think some animals broke it". This word has the weak form /səm/ when it occurs before uncountable nouns, meaning "an unspecific amount of" e.g. "some tea" and before nouns in plural, meaning "an unspecific number of" e.g. "some books". It is used in the strong form in final position.

There:
When this word is used as a demonstrative pronoun, it always occurs in its strong form /ðeə/, /ðeər/ before vowels, e.g. "put the book there near the window". The weak form is /ðə/ before consonants and /ðər/ before vowels. It is used in the strong form in final position /ðeə/.

The following words occur in their strong forms when they are final in a sentence (except "to")

[01/04/14]   4- The weak form
When we talk about the weak form in English we are going to consider certain well-known English words that can be pronounced in two different ways, which are called the weak form and the strong form. As an example, the word "that" can be pronounced /ðæt/( strong form) or /ðət/ (weak form). These words are called {form, functional or grammatical words}.
Actually, there are certain contexts where only the strong from is acceptable with the grammatical words:
1. When grammatical words are in final position:
"I'm fond of chips" /aIm fɒnd əv ʧIps/ (weak form)
"Chips are what I'm fond of" /ʧIps a: wɒt aIm fɒnd ɒv/ (strong from)
2. When a grammatical word is contrasted with another word:
"The letter's from him, not to him"/ðə letəz frɒm Im nɒt tu: Im/
3. When a form word is used in coordinated prepositions:
"A work of and about literature" /ə wɜːk ɒv ən əbaʊt lItrt∫ə/
4. When a grammatical word is given stress for the purpose of emphasis:
"You 'must give me more money" /ju 'm^st gIv mI mɔː m^ni/
5. When a grammatical word is being "cited" or "quoted":
"You should not put "and" at the end of a sentence"
/ ju ∫ʊdnt pʊt ænd ət ði end əv ə sentəns/

[12/23/13]   3- Syllabic /m/:
Syllabic /m/ is found in 'happen" /hæpm/ (which can be pronounced as /hæpn/ or /hæpəm/.

4- Syllabic /ŋ/:
Syllabic /ŋ/ is found in "thicken" /θIkŋ/ (it can also be pronounced as /θIkəŋ/ or /θIkn/.
Now let us move to the last and the trickiest sound in English that is the /r/ sound and introduce the syllabic /r/:

5- Syllabic /r/:
- in English, /r/ is pronounced when it is followed by a vowel, e.g. "read" /ri:d/. it is not pronounced before consonants, e.g. "bird" /bɜːd/, or before a pause ( in final position), e.g. "he is a teacher"/ hi: iz ə ti:ʧə /.
Whenever syllabic /r/ occurs, there are acceptableمقبول alternativeالبديل pronunciations without the syllabic consonant.
Where non-syllabic /r/ is also acceptable: "history'/hIstri/
Where /ər/ is also acceptable: "flattery" /flætri/- /flætəri/

[12/14/13]   2- Syllabic /n/:
-Syllables, which are composed of a plosive or fricative consonant plus /ən/, are uncommon except in initial position in the word: "tonight" /tənaIt/.

-In medial and final position, we find a syllabic /n/: "threaten" /θretn/ to pronounce a vowel before the nasal consonant would sound strange.

- After bilabial consonants, syllabic /n/ can be found: "happen" /hæpn/ and it also can be transcribed as /hæpm/ in this case, we have what we call assimilation. Anyway, we can say "ribbon" /rIbn/ and / rIbən/.

- After /f/ or /v/, syllabic /n/ is more common than /ən/: "seven" /sevn/.

-We do not find syllabic /n/ after /l/ or /ʧ/ or /ʤ/. For example, "sullen" must be pronounced /s^lən/.

- Syllabic /n/ is not usually found after velar consonants in words spelt "an" and "on": "wagon" /wægen/

- In words spelt "en", syllabic /n/ is possible after velar consonants, but /ən/ is also acceptable: "thicken" /θIkən/. syllabic velar nasal /ŋ/ is also possible in this context: /θIkŋ/.

- Syllabic /n/ may occur after two consonants "Boston" / bɒstn/. However, we never find the sequences /ntn/, /ndn/, /mdn/ we always use /ə/ to separate them: "London" /l^ndən/.

[12/01/13]   Weak syllable can only have four types of center:
4. A syllabic consonant: they are (l, r, n, m, ŋ).
Syllabic consonant: is a consonant that makes a syllable on its own without a vowel. We use this mark under the consonant / ' / to indicate it.
1- Syllabic (l):
When /l/ is preceded by an alveolar consonant, as in "bottle" and "tunnel", the articulator moves from the preceding consonant to the /l/
- Where do we find syllabic /l/ in RP (Received Pronunciation)?
- Syllabic /l/ occurs after a consonant in words ending with one or more consonant letters followed by "le" (or "les" in the case of noun plurals or third person singular verb form), for example:
With alveolar consonant preceding (t- d- n):
Cattle /kætl/ --------------------- bottle /bɒtl/
With non-alveolar consonant preceding:
Couple /k^pl/ ---------------- trouble /tr^bl/
- Such words usually lose their final letter 'e" when a suffix beginning with a vowel is attached, but the /l/ usually remains syllabic. Thus:
"bottle"-------------- "bottling" ----------- / bɒtl/--------------/ bɒtlIŋ/
- We find syllabic /l/ in words ending in one or more consonant letters + "al" or "el": "panel" /pænl/ --------------------- "pedal" /pedl/
- Now, let us simplify stuff for you by summing up the rule of the syllabic /l/: Syllabic /l/ is found after alveolar plosives (battle), after velar consonants (struggle), after bilabial consonants (couple), after fricative consonants (wrestle), and in words spelt "el" or "al" (parcel and pedal).

[11/20/13]   Weak syllable can only have four types of center:
3. /u/ a close back spread vowel in the general area of /u:/ and /ʊ/:
/u/ is more like/u:/ when it precedes another vowel, less so when it precedes a consonant or pauses (in final position). /u/ is found in the following positions:
In the words (you/ to/ do/ into) when they are unstressed and followed by a vowel. "to eat" /tu i:t/ ---------- "to get" /tə get/
In "who" and "through" in all positions when they are unstressed, example: "who" /hu/ -----------"through" /θru/

[11/19/13]   Weak syllable can only have four types of center:
1. The vowel /ə/ ("schwa")
To learn where /ə/ is appropriate and where it is not, we have to consider the spelling: (there are many cases but the most common are:)
spelt with "a"; strong pronunciation would have / æ /, example:
character /kærəktə/
spelt with "ar"; strong pronunciation would have / ɑː /, example:
molar /məʊlə/
spelt with "o"; strong pronunciation would have / ɒ /, example:
potato /pəteItəʊ/
spelt with "or"; strong pronunciation would have / ɔː /, example:
forget /fəget/
spelt with "er"; strong pronunciation would have / ɜː /, example:
perhaps / pəhæps/
2. /i/ a close front spread vowel in the general area of /i:/ and /i/:
/i/ is more like/i:/ when it precedes another vowel, less so when it precedes a consonant or pause (in final position). /i/ is found in the following positions:
in word- final position in words spelt with final "y" or "ey" e.g. /hæpi/
in final position when "y" is followed by a suffix beginning with a vowel, example: /hæpiə/
in a prefix spelt "re", "pre" and "de" if it precedes a vowel: /riækt/ react.
In unstressed words like ( she/ me/ be/ we/he) and (the) when it is precedes a vowel "the arm" /ði a:rm/

[11/16/13]   3- Strong and Weak Syllable
- Many factors determine whether a syllable is weak or strong:
• Stress: the primary is strong while the secondary stress usually weak.
• Elision: it is to delete the weak vowels like the schwa /ə/
• Intonation: it is related to the level of the sound.
• Strong or weak form of the word and the mood of the speaker
• Vowels: long is usually strong, short is usually weak
In fact, vowels in weak syllable tend to be 1- shorter, 2- of lower intensity, 3- different in quality. For example, in the word /fɑːðə/ the second syllable, which is weak, is shorter than the first, it is less loud, and it has a vowel that cannot occur in strong syllables.

[11/10/13]   The Structure of Syllables in English:

*- After the center:
1/ Zero coda or termination: like "are" /a:/ for example.

2/ One consonant after the vowel: like the words is /Iz/, for example, here we only have an final consonant and nothing else.

3/ Two consonant after the vowel: like the word bank /bænk/. Here we need to differentiate between pre-final and final consonants.
In /bænk/, the sound /n/ is pre-final, while /k/ is the final sound.
As a rule: the pre-final sounds are ( s- n-m- ŋ-l).

*-Another situation is to recognize which consonant is the final and which is the post-final sound in the syllable:
In words like /beds/ [bedz] and /bagged/[bægd], words are finished with two consonants sounds one is belong to the stem word /bed, bag/ and the other belong to the additional part to this stem /s, d/. In other words /s, d/ are added to represent tense or a part of speech. We call this additional, functional, letters as a post-final.
/bagged/[bægd] = bæg + d => /g/ is the final and /d/ is the post-final.
As a rule: the post-final sounds are ( s-z-t-d- θ).

4/ Three consonants after the vowel: here we have two kinds of final three consonants:
-In words like /helped/ [helpt] we have pre-final consonant that is/l/ and final /p/ and post-final /t/.
- The second type is to have final + post-final1+ post-final2:
/Fifths/ [fIfθs] we have the final consonant that is/f/ and post-final1/θ/ and post-final2 /s/.
As a rule, (f, k, p) represent the only final consonants when we have three consonant cluster.

5/ Four consonants after the vowel:
In this case, we have a final preceded by pre-final and followed by post-final1 and post-final2.
"Twelfths" /e/ is the center, /l/ is pre-final, /f/ is final, / θ/ is post-final1, /s/ is post-final2.

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