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М.В.

Евстифеева

ТЕОРЕТИЧЕСКАЯ ФОНЕТИКА
АНГЛИЙСКОГО ЯЗЫКА
Лекции, семинары, упражнения

Рекомендовано УМО по образованию


в области подготовки педагогических кадров
в качестве учебного пособия для студентов
высших учебных заведений,
обучающихся по специальности 050303 — иностранный язык

Москва
Издательство «ФЛИНТА»
Издательство «Наука»
2012

1
УДК 811.111’34(075.8)
ББК 81.2Англ-1-923
Е26

Р е ц е н з е н т ы:
докт. филол. наук, профессор, ректор,
Новый гуманитарный институт Монина Т.С.;
канд. филол. наук, доцент кафедры иностранных языков,
Владимирский государственный университет Камайданова Н.А.;
канд. пед. наук, доцент кафедры английского языка,
Московский государственный областной гуманитарный институт Котова Е.Г.

Евстифеева М.В.
Е26 Теоретическая фонетика английского языка. Лекции, семинары,
упражнения : учеб. пособие / М.В. Евстифеева. — М. : ФЛИНТА :
Наука, 2012. — 168 с.
ISBN 978-5-9765-1115-6 (ФЛИНТА)
ISBN 978-5-02-037670-0 (Наука)
В пособии в сжатом виде изложены основные аспекты фонетической
теории и практики английского языка в современной лингвистике; приведе-
на обобщенная информация о компонентах фонетической системы. Посо-
бие содержит лекционную часть и методические разработки к семинарским
занятиям, а также практические упражнения.
Для студентов факультетов иностранных языков педвузов.

УДК 811.111’34(075.8)
ББК 81.2Англ-1-923

ISBN 978-5-9765-1115-6 (ФЛИНТА) © Евстифеева М.В., 2012


ISBN 978-5-02-037670-0 (Наука) © Издательство «ФЛИНТА», 2012

2
CONTENTS

Предисловие .................................................................................................................. 6
От автора ........................................................................................................................ 8

PART I. Lectures and Seminars


Lecture 1. INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................... 10
§ 1. Phonetics as a science ................................................................................ 10
§ 2. Process of oral speech production .............................................................. 10
§ 3. Aspects of phonetics .................................................................................. 12
§ 4. Units and components of phonetic system ................................................. 14
§ 5. Branches of phonetics ................................................................................ 15
§ 6. Methods of phonetic analysis ..................................................................... 16
Seminar 1 ...................................................................................................................... 17

Lecture 2. MAIN ASPECTS OF FUNCTIONAL PHONETICS ................................ 19


§ 1. Phoneme: definition and functions ............................................................ 19
§ 2. Phonemes, allophones, phones: difference and relationships .................... 20
§ 3. Meaning of phonemes and allophones in teaching practice ....................... 22
§ 4. Main views of the nature of phoneme ........................................................ 24
§ 5. Methods of phonological analysis ............................................................. 25
Seminar 2 ...................................................................................................................... 28

Lecture 3. THE SYSTEM OF ENGLISH PHONEMES ............................................. 30


§ 1. Vowel and consonant phonemes ................................................................ 30
§ 2. Articulatory and phonological views on the classification
of English consonants ................................................................................ 31
2.1. General characteristics of English consonants ................................... 31
2.2. Articulatory classification .................................................................. 31
2.3. Phonological classification ................................................................. 33
2.4. Problem of affricates ........................................................................... 35
§ 3. Articulatory and phonological views on the classification
of English vowels ...................................................................................... 37
3.1. General characteristics of English vowels ........................................ 37
3.2. Articulatory classification .................................................................. 39
3.3. Phonological classification ................................................................ 42

3
3.4. Problem of diphthongs and diphthongoids ......................................... 45
3.5. Problem of vowel length .................................................................... 47
Seminar 3 ....................................................................................................................... 49
Lecture 4. MODIFICATIONS AND ALTERNATIONS
OF SPEECH SOUNDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ....................... 51
§ 1. Types of sound variations in connected speech ...................................... 51
§ 2. Modifications of sounds in connected speech ......................................... 52
2.1. Modifications of consonants in connected speech ....................... 52
2.2. Modifications of vowels in connected speech ................................. 56
2.3. Complex vowel and consonant modifications .................................... 57
§ 3. Notion of alternation and its types ............................................................. 57
§ 4. Problem of phoneme identification. Main phonological schools ............... 60
Seminar 4 ...................................................................................................................... 61
Lecture 5. SYLLABIC STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH WORDS ................................ 63
§ 1. Theories on syllable formation and division .............................................. 63
§ 2. Syllable formation in English .................................................................... 66
§ 3. Syllable division in English ....................................................................... 68
§ 4. Functional characteristics of the syllable ................................................... 70
§ 5. Graphic representation of syllables in English ........................................... 71
Seminar 5 ...................................................................................................................... 72
Lecture 6. WORD STRESS IN ENGLISH ................................................................. 74
§ 1. Nature of word stress ................................................................................. 74
§ 2. Placement of word stress in English ........................................................... 76
§ 3. Degrees of word stress in English .............................................................. 76
§ 4. Phonemic distribution in stressed syllables ................................................ 78
§ 5. Functions of the English word stress .......................................................... 79
§ 6. Stress tendencies in modern English .......................................................... 80
§ 7. Stress patterns of English words ................................................................ 81
§ 8. Basic rules of accentuation ........................................................................ 83
§ 9. Variations of word stress in connected speech. Sentence stress ................. 84
Seminar 6 ...................................................................................................................... 86
Lecture 7. INTONATION IN ENGLISH ................................................................... 88
§ 1. General characteristics of intonation ......................................................... 88
§ 2. Foreign views of the problem of intonation ............................................... 88
§ 3. Problem of intonation in Russian linguistics .............................................. 90

4
§ 4. Prosodic components of intonation. Structure
of English intonation patterns .................................................................... 91
§ 5. Methods of indicating intonation ............................................................... 95
§ 6. Functions of intonation .............................................................................. 96
§ 7. Phonological aspect of intonation .............................................................. 98
§ 8. English rhythm .......................................................................................... 99
Seminar 7 .................................................................................................................... 100

Lecture 8. STYLISTIC AND REGIONAL VARIETIES


OF ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION ........................................................ 103
§ 1. Spoken language as the object of linguistic investigation ........................ 103
§ 2. Territorial varieties of English pronunciation .......................................... 104
2.1. National variants and regional accents of the English language ........... 104
2.2. British English .................................................................................. 106
2.3. American English ............................................................................. 109
2.4. Spread of English .............................................................................. 111
§ 3. Stylistic varieties of English pronunciation ............................................. 112
3.1. Style-forming and style-differentiating factors ................................ 113
3.2. Classification of phonetic styles ....................................................... 115
Seminar 8 .................................................................................................................... 117

PART II. Exercises


Exercise Block 1 .......................................................................................................... 120
Exercise Block 2 .......................................................................................................... 126
Exercise Block 3 .......................................................................................................... 128
Exercise Block 4 .......................................................................................................... 133
Exercise Block 5 .......................................................................................................... 136
Exercise Block 6 .......................................................................................................... 138
Exercise Block 7 .......................................................................................................... 142

PART III. Supplementary Material


Supplement 1. Proverbs, sayings, tongue twisters ........................................................ 148
Supplement 2. Phonetic phenomena ............................................................................ 155
Supplement 3. Stave representation of intonation ........................................................ 158
Supplement 4. Step-by-step phonetic analysis ............................................................. 161

Bibliography ................................................................................................................ 163

5
Предисловие

Пособие ориентировано на современные тенденции в системе


высшего образования, предусматривающие сокращение аудиторных
часов на изучение теоретических предметов и увеличение времени
на самостоятельное изучение лингвистических дисциплин.
Цель учебного пособия — помощь студентам в овладении осно-
вами теории фонетики, установлении взаимосвязи новых теоретиче-
ских знаний с практическими умениями, полученными в рамках
нормативного курса фонетики, а также в профессиональной ориен-
тации студентов, предполагающей использование полученных зна-
ний и умений в дальнейшей педагогической деятельности.
Задача учебного пособия — систематизировать и в доступной
форме изложить элементы фонетической теории, существующие в
современной лингвистике, дать обобщенную информацию обо всех
компонентах фонетической системы современного английского
языка и обеспечить контроль усвоения полученных знаний.
Учебное пособие включает в себя три раздела, объем которых
определяется спецификой материала.
Первый раздел содержит лекционную часть и методические раз-
работки к семинарским занятиям. Лекционная часть разделена на
восемь блоков, в которых в краткой форме изложены основные тео-
ретические положения современной фонетики и фонологии. В рам-
ках семинарских занятий после каждой лекции предполагается рас-
смотрение подробного списка контрольных вопросов для проверки
усвоения лекционного материала. Отметим, что теоретический ма-
териал дается в минимальном объеме. С целью лучшего овладения
учебным материалом перед обсуждением каждой темы студентам
следует рекомендовать дополнительную литературу, указанную в
библиографическом списке.
Второй раздел включает семь блоков практических упражнений,
направленных на реализацию полученных теоретических знаний в
практической области. При этом подчеркивается связь фонетики с
другими подразделами лингвистической теории (лексикологией,
6
грамматикой, стилистикой), а также осуществляется взаимосвязь
теоретической и нормативной фонетики. Упражнения составлены с
учетом постепенного нарастания сложности и нацелены на отработ-
ку определенных фонетических явлений, описанных в соответству-
ющих разделах лекционного курса.
Третий раздел содержит дополнительные материалы, включаю-
щие:
— упражнения, направленные на тренировку звуков и звуковых
переходов в системе английского языка, вызывающих частые
трудности у русскоязычных студентов;
— информацию о фонетических модификациях звуков англий-
ского языка в связной речи и их графической репрезента-
ции;
— сведения о способах абстрактной передачи основных инто-
национных контуров английского языка;
— схему последовательного анализа фонетических явлений,
представленных в английских текстах.
В конце книги приведен библиографический список. Отдельные
пункты из данного списка можно рекомендовать студентам при под-
готовке к семинарским занятиям. Количество рекомендованной ли-
тературы зависит от специфики работы и объема аудиторных часов,
отведенных на освоение дисциплины, и должно определяться самим
педагогом.

7
От автора

Дорогие друзья!
Перед вами — учебное пособие по теоретической фонетике ан-
глийского языка, в котором в сжатом виде изложены основные
аспекты фонетической теории и практики. Книга предназначена для
тех, кто хочет не только правильно произносить английские слова и
хорошо интонировать предложения, но также знать и уметь объяс-
нить причины возникновения и существования тех или иных фоне-
тических явлений в изучаемом языке.
Фонетика — одна из важнейших лингвистических наук. Соглас-
но общепринятой иерархии, в лингвистике выделяются следующие
уровни изучения языка: фонетический, морфологический, лексиче-
ский, словосочетания, предложения, текста. При этом фонетический
уровень принимается за базовый, поскольку он составляет основу
любого языка. Образно говоря, звуки являются своеобразной ‘пи-
щей’ языка, из них, как из кирпичиков, строятся слоги, слова, слово-
сочетания и предложения, реализуя наивысшую человеческую по-
требность — потребность в общении.
Возможно, этот учебник станет Вашим гидом в многообразии
английских звуков, благодаря чему Вы сможете свободно общаться
на изучаемом языке. Понятное и последовательное объяснение мно-
гочисленных фонетических теорий, существующих в современной
лингвистике, поможет Вам овладеть навыками теоретического ана-
лиза языкового материала, которые пригодятся как при изучении
других лингвистических дисциплин, так и в написании рефератов,
курсовых и квалификационных работ. Знания и умения, полученные
Вами, также будут способствовать профессиональному росту и по-
надобятся при обучении уже Ваших учеников.

8
PART I

Lectures and Seminars

9
Lecture 1
INTRODUCTION

§ 1. Phonetics as a science

The word ‘phonetics’ comes from the Greek word fonetika meaning
‘the science of the voice’. Nowadays it means the study of the way humans
make, transmit, and receive speech sounds. Phonetics is an independent
branch of linguistics like lexicology or grammar. These linguistic sciences
study language from three different points of view. Lexicology deals with
the language vocabulary, the origin and development of words, their mean-
ing and word building. Grammar defines the rules governing the modifica-
tion of words and the combination of words into sentences.
Phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics, which deals with speech
sounds and studies the outer form of the language. Neither linguistic the-
ory nor linguistic practice can exist without phonetics, because language
is a system and its components are inseparably connected.
The connection of phonetics with grammar is exercised through or-
thography and intonation. Thus for example, the system of reading rules
helps to pronounce singular and plural forms of nouns correctly (man —
men, foot — feet). The use of the necessary nuclear tone helps to distin-
guish between different types of sentences. It’s especially important in
colloquial speech where one and the same sentence may be understood as
a statement when pronounced with the falling tone (He came \ home.) or
a question when pronounced with the rising tone (He came / home?).
The connection of phonetics with lexicology is exercised through pro-
nunciation and word-stress. For instance, some corresponding forms of
verbs and nouns are homographs identical in spelling. They may be distin-
guished with the help of pronunciation (wind [wınd] — to wind [waınd]),
word-stress ('object — to ob'ject), or the combinative use of word-stress and
pronunciation (increase ['ınkrıs] — to increase [in'kri:z]).
The connection of phonetics with stylistics is exercised through into-
national components or graphical expressive means. For example, repeti-
10
tion of words serves as the basis of rhythm and rhyme; capitalization or
italics highlightning underline special prominence of information:
Look to left and look to right,
Note what traffic is in sight.
Note, too, which light can be seen:
The Red, the Amber, or the Green.
Children, keep from dangerous play
And THINK before you cross today.
Phonetics as a science examines the inventory, structure and func-
tions of speech sounds. On the expression level phoneticians investigate
the sound system of the language: phonemes and their allophones, word
stress, syllabic structure and intonation. On the content level phoneticians
are interested in the analysis and characteristics of phonetic phenomena
and their role in a language. Thus phonetics occupies itself with the study
of the ways of sound organization into a system of units, variations and
functions of these units in all types and styles of spoken language.
Phonetics is the kind of a science that may have application in various
fields of knowledge besides linguistics. Phonetics is also connected with
non-linguistic sciences which have educational or social value, like meth-
ods of language teaching, logics, history, psychology, sociology. The study
of the structure of sound system is indispensable from sciences studying
different aspects of speech production, like acoustics, physiology. The con-
nection of phonetics with other sciences is easily observed by the example
of its branches. Thus, acoustic phonetics is related to physics and mathe-
matics; articulatory phonetics — to physiology, anatomy, and anthropolo-
gy; historical phonetics — to general history and archaeology; functional
phonetics — to communication theory and statistics.
Phonetics is also a part of some interdisciplinary subjects like socio-
linguistics, psycholinguistics, mathematical linguistics, etc. Each of these
sciences can have theoretical or practical application in the sphere of
phonetic investigation.

§ 2. Process of oral speech production

Human speech is the result of a highly complicated series of events


that can be divided into 6 stages: psychological, physiological, physical/

11
acoustic, reception, transmission, linguistic interpretation. They are inter-
connected and constitute two parts of the speech act.
I. The first part of the speech act contains the stages made by the
speaker. It includes the following:
1) the psychological stage concerns the formation of the concept in
the brain of a speaker;
2) when the message is formed, it is transmitted along the nervous
system to the speech organs which produce particular speech
sounds within the physiological stage;
3) the movements of the speech apparatus disturb the air and pro-
duce sound waves during the acoustic stage.
II. The second part of the speech act includes the stages made by the
listener, because any communication requires a listener as well as a speaker:
1) the sound waves are percepted by the listener’s ear within the
reception stage;
2) the spoken message is transmitted through the nervous system to
the listener’s brain during the transmission stage;
3) the information conveyed gets its linguistic interpretation.
The analysis of the process of oral speech production makes it pos-
sible to define four levels of speech production: articulatory, acoustic,
auditory and functional. They are inseparable in the real process of com-
munication. But each of them can be singled out in order to characterize
different aspects of sound phenomena which in their turn are necessary
to define the main branches of pnonetics: articulatory, acoustic, auditory
and functional.

§ 3. Aspects of phonetics

The linguistic analysis of the sound matter of any language helps to


distribute all the sound phenomena into the following aspects: articula-
tory, acoustic, auditory and functional.
I. The articulatory aspect comprises all the movements and posi-
tions of the speech organs necessary to pronounce a speech sound. Speech
12
organs have different functions and thus can be divided into four
groups:
1) The power (respiratory) mechanism supplies the energy in the
form of air pressure and regulates the force of air stream. It in-
cludes the following speech organs: the diaphragm, the lungs, the
bronchi, the windpipe (trachea), the glottis and the supra-glottal
cavities, the larynx, the mouth cavity, the nasal cavity.
2) The vibration mechanism functions as a vibrator when producing voice.
It consists of the vocal cords (voice box), situated in the larynx.
3) The resonator mechanism consists of the speech organs which
function as principal resonators. These are the pharynx, the larynx,
the mouth and nasal cavities.
4) The obstruction mechanism consists of the tongue (the blade, the
tip, the front, the back/dorsum), the lips, the teeth, the soft palate
with the uvula, the hard palate, the alveolar ridge. These speech
organs form different types of obstructions.
II. The acoustic aspect studies sound waves. It is the way in which
the air vibrates between the speaker’s mouth and the listener’s ear.
There may be different types of vibrations which affect the tone of the
voice. The basic vibrations of the vocal cords over their whole length
produce the fundamental tone of voice. The simultaneous vibrations of
parts of the vocal cords produce partial tones (overtones).
The number of vibrations per second is called frequency. Frequency
of basic vibrations of the vocal cords is called the fundamental frequency
which is very important in phonetic investigation. It determines the pitch
of the voice and forms the acoustic basis of speech melody.
III. The auditory (sound-perception) aspect is a physiological and
psychological mechanism. It combines the process of hearing with the
process of discriminating sounds. People can perceive the range from 16
to 20,000 Hz with a difference in 3 Hz. The human ear transforms vibra-
tions of the air into nervous commands and transmits them to the brain.
This enables the listener discriminate the quality, pitch, loudness, and
length of sounds and identify the sounds.
IV. The functional (linguistic) aspect is concerned with the linguis-
tic function of individual sounds and segments of speech. From the func-
13
tional point of view all sound phenomena of any language present a clear-
cut system of interdependent units: phonemes, syllables, stress, and into-
nation. These phonetic phenomena have no meaning of their own. Their
linguistic function is to constitute and distinguish larger meaningful units,
such as morphemes, words, phrases, etc.

§ 4. Units and components of phonetic system

The phonetic system of a language is a set of units arranged in an


orderly way to replace each other in a given framework. Phonetics in
general is divided in two sub-systems: segmental phonetics which is con-
cerned with minimal segments of speech and suprasegmental phonetics
which deals with larger speech units.
Segmental units of phonetics include phonemes and their allophones
as the representation of individual sounds. Suprasegmental units are syl-
lables, word-stress, and prosodic (intonational) phenomena (pith, stress,
tempo, rhythm, pauses). Both segmental and suprasegmental units are
used to form words, phrases and utterances in connected speech.
Thus it’s possible to define phonetics as a branch of linguistics that
studies speech sounds in the broad sense, comprising segmental sounds,
suprasegmental units and prosodic phenomena.
The phonetic system of any language comprises 4 components: pho-
nemic, syllabic, accentual and intonational.
The first is the phonemic component. It is the basic component rep-
resented by the system of segmental phonemes of a language existing in
the material form of their allophones. It may have manifestations in:
— the system of phonemes as discrete isolated units;
— the distribution of allophones of different phonemes;
— the methods of joining speech sounds.
The second component is the syllabic structure of words. It has two
manifestations which are inseparable from each other: syllable formation
and syllable division.
The third component is the accentual structure of words when pro-
nounced in isolation. Its main manifestations are:
14
— the acoustic nature of word stress;
— the stress position in disyllabic and polysyllabic words;
— the degrees of word stress.
The fourth component is the intonational structure of utterances with
the following manifestations:
— the prosodic components of intonation;
— the structure of intonation patterns;
— the representation of patterns in intonation groups.
All the components of the phonetic system of the language constitute
its pronunciation.

§ 5. Branches of phonetics

There are several ways to define branches of phonetics.


I. According to the object of the study there are four branches of pho-
netics. They are interconnected, because the sound matter of a language is
a unity of four aspects: articulatory, acoustic, auditory, and functional.
Articulatory phonetics studies the way in which the speech organs are
used to produce single sounds and combinations of sounds. It is the lon-
gest established and the most highly developed branch. That’s why most
terms used by phoneticians are articulatory in origin.
Acoustic phonetics is the study of the physical properties of speech
sounds and the air vibrations between the speaker’s mouth and the lis-
tener’s ear.
Auditory phonetics studies the way people perceive speech sounds.
All these branches analyse, describe and classify all possible sounds
that the human articulatory apparatus can make and thus concern only the
material side of phonetic units. But scientists are also interested in the
abstract, linguistic side of speech sounds and in the way different sound
phenomena function in a particular language.
The branch of phonetics, which studies the functional (linguistic) as-
pect of speech sounds, is called functional phonetics or phonology.
II. According to the sphere of application phonetics can be divided
into general phonetics and special phonetics.
15
General phonetics studies all the sound-producing possibilities of the
human speech apparatus and the ways they are used for the purpose of
communication.
Special phonetics is based on general phonetics and studies the pho-
netic system of a particular language.
According to the number of languages under study special phonetics
is divided into descriptive and comparative phonetics.
Descriptive phonetics studies the system of pronunciation and pho-
netic units of a single language.
The aim of comparative phonetics is to study the correlation between
phonetic systems of two or more languages.
III. According to the time characteristics of sound phenomena under
study linguists distinguish between historical and contemporary phonetics.
Historical phonetics traces and establishes the successive changes in the
phonetic system of a given language at different stages of its development.
The aim of contemporary phonetics is to find and fix the peculiarities
of speech sounds of the language at the present moment of its existence.
IV. According to the field of application and methods of investiga-
tion phonetics is also divided into theoretical and practical.
Practical phonetics studies the substance, the material form of phonetic
phenomena with the help of different methods of phonetic analysis.
Theoretical phonetics is mainly concerned with the functions of pho-
netic units in the language and uses methods of phonemic analysis.
All the branches of phonetics are closely connected with one another
and study the language in a set of certain phonetic units arranged in an
orderly way.

§ 6. Methods of phonetic analysis

Linguists distinguish between two groups of methods, which may be


applied when investigating the sound matter of the language: subjective
and objective methods of phonetic analysis.
Subjective (introspective) methods were available from the beginning
of the study of sounds. They include the oldest and simplest methods of
phonetic investigation: sensory analysis and direct observation. These

16
consist in observing and fixing the movements and positions of one’s
own or other people’s organs of speech in the production of various
speech sounds, as well as in analyzing and comparing one’s own articula-
tory and auditory impressions.
Objective (instrumental) methods of phonetic analysis appeared in the
second half of the XXth century with the development of such sciences as
physiology and physics. They involve the use of various instrumental tech-
niques like palatography, laryngoscopy, X-ray photography, electromyogra-
phy, etc. The use of the data of instrumental analysis gives a detailed study
of different phonetic phenomena and articulatory processes. It’s quite clear
that many instruments, which are used in analyzing different phonetic phe-
nomena, derive from other sciences. For instance, the articulatory parameters
of speech are observed and fixed with the help of articulograph. The spectra
of speech sounds are investigated by means of sound spectrograph. The pitch
component of intonation is studied with the help of intonograph.
Nowadays practically no area of practical phonetic investigation can
do without the combination of subjective and objective methods when the
results of instrumental analysis supplement those available from intro-
spective analysis.

Seminar 1

1. What is your idea of phonetics?


2. What is the role of phonetics in language teaching?
3. What is meant by phonetics as a science?
4. Prove that phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics.
5. How is phonetics connected with other branches of linguistics?
6. What is the object of phonetics on the expression and on the content
level?
7. Explain the connection of phonetics with non-linguistic sciences.
8. What interdisciplinary subjects does phonetics overlap with?
9. Name the 6 stages of speech chain production.
17
10. Comment on the peculiarities of the stages made on the part of the
speaker.
11. Comment on the peculiarities of the stages made on the part of the
listener.
12. What are the levels of speech production? How do they correlate
with the aspects of sound phenomena?
13. Characterize the articulatory aspect of phonetics. List the organs of
speech that are included in the:
a) power mechanism;
b) vibration mechanism;
c) resonator mechanism;
d) obstruction mechanism.
14. Discuss the object of the acoustic aspect of phonetics. What are its
main ideas?
15. What does the auditory aspect of phonetics concern?
16. What is the aim of the functional aspect of phonetics?
17. Speak about phonetics as a system. What subdivisions does it in-
clude?
18. Name the segmental and suprasegmental units of phonetics.
19. Give the definition of phonetics.
20. What components of the phonetic system do you know? Characte-
rize each of them.
21. Speak about the main branches of phonetics defined according to the
object of the study. What is implied by the term ‘phonology’?
22. State the difference between general and special phonetics.
23. Discuss the peculiarities of historical and contemporary phonetics.
24. What are the objects and methods of theoretical and practical pho-
netics?
25. What methods of phonetic analysis do you know? Give examples of
each of them.
18
Lecture 2
MAIN ASPECTS OF FUNCTIONAL PHONETICS

§ 1. Phoneme:
definition and functions

A speech sound is the unit of practical phonetics, which is studied


from articulatory, acoustic and auditory aspects. A phoneme is the unit of
functional phonetics, which serves communicative purposes.
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 in order to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words.
The truly materialistic view of the phoneme was first proposed by an
outstanding linguist L.V. Shcherba and supported by V.A. Vassilyev and
other phoneticians. According to it the phoneme is viewed as a func-
tional, material and abstract unit, which performs three functions: distinc-
tive, constitutive and recognitive.
1. The phoneme as a functional unit performs the distinctive function. It
distinguishes different sounds in a contrastive sense and serves as the
smallest language unit that discriminates between larger language
units. Thus, the opposition of phonemes in the same phonetic envi-
ronment differentiates the meaning of morphemes, words and even
sentences.
E.g., sleeper — sleepy;
bath — path, light — like;
He was heard badly — He was hurt badly.
2. The phoneme is a material, real and objective unit that performs the
constitutive function. The phoneme is realized in speech in the form
of its variants or allophones, which do not make meaningful distinc-
tions and serve to constitute the material form of morphemes.

19
E.g., cap [khæph] / [khæp]
— the loss of plosion in the final phoneme [p] doesn’t bring any
change of meaning.
3. The phoneme is also an abstract and generalized unit, which performs
the recognitive function. The phoneme serves to distinguish and un-
derstand the meaning, because the use of the right allophone in the
certain phonetic context helps the listener to understand the message
and thus facilitates normal recognition.
E.g., take it — tape it
— the difference in two phrases is understood by two different pho-
nemes.
This materialistic conception of the phoneme is regarded as the most
suitable for the purpose of language teaching in modern linguistics.

§ 2. Phonemes, allophones, phones:


difference and relationships

The sounds of language should be described and classified from the


point of view of their functional significance. The same sounds can have
different interpretations in different phonetic contexts.
For example, the sound [t] may be opposed to [d] in words like ten—
den, seat—seed. But in the expressions let us — let them [t] remains the
realization of one and the same sound though having certain pronuncia-
tion peculiarities.
In order to tell the difference linguists use two separate terms: pho-
neme and allophone. The term ‘phoneme’ means sounds of speech used
in their contrastive sense whereas the term ‘allophone’ is used for non-
contrastive sounds representing variants of a definite phoneme.
It’s been stated before that the phoneme is a minimal abstract linguis-
tic unit opposed to other phonemes in order to distinguish the meaning of
morphemes and words.
As a unit of language any phoneme possesses a bundle of distinctive
features that makes it functionally different from all other phonemes and
forms the invariant of the phoneme. The articulatory features characteristic
20
of the invariant are called distinctive (relevant). They can be extracted
when opposing to each other in the same phonetic context phonemes with
a difference in one articulatory feature which brings changes in meaning.
For example, all the allophones of the phoneme [d] are occlusive,
forelingual and lenis, but when occlusive articulation is changed for con-
strictive one, [d] is replaced by [z] (breed — breeze, deal — zeal). In
words port — court, both phonemes [p] and [k] have the same features of
occlusive, fortis consonants, but labial [p] is opposed to lingual [k].
The articulatory features which do not serve to distinguish meaning
are called non-distinctive (irrelevant). They are observed within the al-
lophones of a certain phoneme. For example, the opposition of an aspi-
rated [kh] to a non-aspirated one in the same phonetic context does not
distinguish meaning (back).
There are two types of non-distinctive features:
— incidental (redundant) features (aspiration of voiceless plosives,
presence of voice in voiced consonants, length of vowels, etc.);
— indispensable (concomitant) features (tenseness of long monoph-
thongs, checked character of stressed short vowels, lip rounding
of back vowels, etc.).
Allophones are the possible variants of the same phoneme, which
never occur in similar phonetic contexts. They are not used to differenti-
ate meaning and largely depend on the phonetic context, in which neigh-
bouring phonemes predict the use of this or that allophone.
There are two types of allophones: principal and subsidiary. If an al-
lophone retains the typical articulatory characteristics of the phoneme, it
is called a principal allophone. But when certain changes happen in the
articulation of an allophone under the influence of the phonetic environ-
ment, an allophone is called subsidiary.
For example, an English phoneme [d] presents a principal variant when
it is taken in isolation or in words like door, darn, down, and retains its
typical characteristics of an occlusive, forelingual, apical, alveolar, lenis
consonant. But the same phoneme [d] may undergo changes under the influ-
ence of other phonemes, and thus present subsidiary variants. It may be:
— slightly palatalized before front vowels and sonorant [j] (deal,
day, dew);
21
— pronounced without any plosion before another stop (bedtime,
good dog);
— pronounced with nasal plosion before [n], [m] (sudden, admit) or
lateral plosion before [l] (idle);
— post-alveolar followed by [r] (dry, dream);
— dental followed by [θ], [ð] (good thing, lead the way);
— labialized followed by [w] (dweller).
Still all the allophones retain the invariant of phoneme [d] and pos-
sess its three basic articulatory features: they are forelingual lenis stops.
The actual realization of allophones in the speech chain is exercised
through phones. These units are not predicted by phonetic context but
modified by phonostylistic, dialectal and individual variations. That’s
why no speech sounds are absolutely alike.
The relationships between the phoneme as an ideal combination of
articulatory features, the allophone as its variant and the phone as a con-
crete speech sound may be illustrated in the following scheme:

stylistic variation
phoneme à allophone à dialectal variation à phone
individual variation

§ 3. Meaning of phonemes and allophones


in teaching practice
Speaking about phonemes and allophones from the point of view of
language teaching it should be mentioned that allophonic differences of
the same phoneme are not observed by native speakers whereas allo-
phonic modifications of different phonemes completely change the mean-
ing of morphemes, words and sentences.
Anyone who studies a foreign language naturally makes mistakes in
the articulation of sounds. Pronunciation errors are classified into phono-
logical and phonetic.
If an allophone is replaced by an allophone of a different phoneme the
mistake is called phonological, because it affects the meaning of words. For
22
example, the change of a vowel phoneme of the word beat into a more
open, more advanced and not diphthongized one creates another word bit:
[bi:t] vs. [bıt].
If an allophone of the phoneme is replaced by another allophone of
the same phoneme the mistake is called phonetic, because the meaning of
the word does not change. For instance, the absence of aspiration in the
word pit does not create any meaningful variations:
[phıt] / [pıt].
Language teachers should guide the students in order not to admit
phonological mistakes. Phonetic mistakes are possible; nevertheless lan-
guage learners are advised not to make them, because in this case the
degree of foreign accent may be an obstacle to listener’s perception.
Transcription also plays a very important role in teaching and learn-
ing a foreign language. According to the International Phonetic Associa-
tion there exists an accepted inventory of symbols to represent speech
sounds separately from their orthographic notation. For example, the
symbol [g] represents a lenis back lingual plosive consonant in words like
gate and it does not coincide with the orthographic sign ‘g’ of the word
gin, which is pronounced as [ʤ].
Transcription is the system of phonetic notation organized as a set of
symbols representing speech sounds. There are two types of transcription:
— the first is broad (phonemic) transcription, which provides special
symbols for all the phonemes of a language;
— the second is narrow (allophonic) transcription, which suggests
special symbols adding some information about the articulatory
activity of particular allophonic features.
For example, the words Kate, take, hill may get two types of notation:
— a usual broad transcription, like [keıt], [teık], [hıl];
— a narrow transcription, indicating additional articulatory para-
meters, like aspiration [kheıt], loss of plosion [teıko], the dark
shade of the sonorant [l] [hıl].
The broad type of transcription may be used not only in words but in
word combinations as well. For instance, it’s possible to note:

23
— linking [r] in the expression car owner [karǩunǩ];
— reciprocal influence of sounds [n] and [ð] in the expression in the
yard [ın↔ðǩ ja:d].
The broad transcription is mainly used for practical experience while
the narrow one serves the purposes of research work. In practical teaching
the most important variants of allophones should be mentioned to teach
the students correct pronunciation.

§ 4. Main views of the nature of phoneme

The phoneme is a basic linguistic unit and this fact is acknowledged


by all linguists. But not all of them describe it in the same way. There are
several schools of phonology, which express different views of the nature
of phoneme.
I. The psychological view regards the phoneme as an ideal ‘mental
image’ that the speaker bears in mind when pronouncing allophonic vari-
ants. The speech realization of a target phoneme deviates from the ideal
because of the individual peculiarities of the speaker’s articulating organs
and the influence of neighbouring sounds. This view was originated by
the founder of the phoneme theory, the Russian linguist of Polish origin
I.A. Baudauin de Courtenay and shared by E.D. Sapir, Alf. Sommerfelt,
M. Tatham. But the American linguist L. Bloomfield, the English phone-
tician D. Jones and Soviet linguists rejected this view on the basis that it’s
impossible to establish ideal sounds which don’t exist in reality.
II. The functional view doesn’t take into consideration the actually
pronounced speech sounds and regards the phoneme as the minimal sound
unit by which meanings can be differentiated. According to it only dis-
tinctive features of the phoneme make sense, while non-distinctive ones
should be extracted. For example, the words ladder and latter are said to
differ only in one feature of the third sound: lenis or fortis characteristics.
This view is shared by the linguists of Prague Linguistic Circle N.S. Tru-
betzkoy, R. Jacobson, L. Bloomfield, and others.
III. The abstract view regards phonemes as units which are indepen-
dent of speech sounds. The acoustic and physiological properties are as-
sociated with purely abstract phonemes. It is stated that there exist archi-
24
phonemes representing types of units completely independent of any
phonetic properties which are higher than the phoneme. This approach
was originated by the Swiss linguist F. de Saussure and advocated by the
Danish linguist L. Hjelmslev and his followers in Copenhagen Linguistic
Circle H.J. Uldall, and K. Togby.
The second and third views are rejected as purely idealistic concep-
tions which do not take into consideration the real human speech.
IV. The physical view regards the phoneme as a family of related
sounds that have phonetic similarity and do not occur in the same pho-
netic context. This conception was proposed by D. Jones and shared by
B. Bloch and G. Trager. The lack of this approach is that it studies the
phoneme from the point of view of its articulatory characteristics only
without any regard to its functional aspects.
V. According to the materialistic view originated by L.V. Shcherba,
the founder of Leningrad phonological school, the phoneme is defined as
a real, independent distinctive unit which has its material manifestation
in the form of allophones. The number of allophones is much greater than
the number of phonemes proper and they are incapable of differentiating
the meaning. This theory was developed by V.A. Vassilyev, who regard-
ed the phoneme as a dialectical unity of functional, material and abstract
aspects, which performs constitutive, distinctive and recognitive func-
tions. This view is widely recognized in modern phonology, its followers
are L.R. Zinder, M.I. Matusevich, V.A. Vassilyev, M.A. Sokolova and
others.

§ 5. Methods of phonological analysis

The aim of phonological (phonemic) analysis is to determine phone-


mic (functional) and non-phonemic (articulatory) differences of speech
sounds and to identify the inventory of language phonemes.
The phonological analysis of both unknown languages and languages
already described can be fulfilled within two steps.
The first step which is especially important when investigating an un-
known language is to identify the minimal segments of speech continuum
and record them graphically by means of allophonic transcription.
25
The second step is to arrange the sounds into functionally similar
groups in order to find contrastive phoneme sounds and allophones of the
same sounds.
There are two main methods of phonological investigation: the distri-
butional method and the semantic method, but they get different interpre-
tation in modern phonology.
I. According to the distributional method phonemes of any language
are discovered by rigid classification of all the sounds pronounced by
native speakers according to the following laws of phonemic and allo-
phonic distribution:
— allophones of different phonemes occur in the same phonetic con-
text and their distribution is contrastive;
— allophones of the same phoneme(s) never occur in the same pho-
netic context, their distribution is complementary and the choice
depends on phonetic environment.
Numerous examples seem to qualify this approach.
Thus in the opposition let — pet — bet all initial sounds are different
phonemes, because they occur in the same initial position before a vowel.
At the same time [th] and [to] in take and let present allophonic variants of
the same phoneme: [th] never occurs in the final word position and never
follows [s], while [to] never occurs initially before stressed vowels.
Still linguists find some lacks in this approach.
First, there are cases when two sounds are in complementary distribu-
tion, but are not referred to the same phonemes. For example, [h] occurs
only initially or before a vowel (heat) while [ŋ] occurs only medially or
finally after a vowel and never occurs initially (sing).
Then there is one more possibility of distribution besides contrastive
and complementary ones. These are free variants of a single phoneme
when both sounds occur in a language but native speakers are inconsis-
tent in the way they use them (калоши-галоши).
Thus the distributional method doesn’t get a wide acknowledgement
in our home linguistics, because the distinctive function of the phoneme
is underestimated.
II. The semantic method is based on the functional rule that pho-
nemes can distinguish words and morphemes when opposed to one an-
26
other. It consists in the systemic substitution of one sound for another in
the same phonetic context in order to find cases in which such a replace-
ment leads to the change of meaning. This procedure is called the com-
mutation test and it helps to establish minimal oppositional pairs of words
and word-forms presenting different meaning.
For example, pin can be successively substituted for bin, sin, din, tin,
win, and each minimal opposition will present different meanings. But the
substitution of [ph] for [p] in pin doesn’t bring about any change in mean-
ing, though it’s wrong from the point of view of English pronunciation
norm. So it’s possible to conclude that [p], [b], [s], [d], [t], [w] are different
phonemes whereas [ph] and [p] are allophones of the same phoneme.
Any phoneme of a language is opposed to another phoneme at least
in one minimal oppositional pair thus performing the distinctive function.
The phonemic structure of a language is established according to the sys-
tem of oppositions, which include minimal pairs of word-initial, word-
medial and word-final positions.
N.S. Trubetzkoy has worked out the classification of phonological
oppositions which is based on the number of distinctive features. It con-
cerns only relevant (distinctive) features of phonemes. The non-distinc-
tive features are not taken into consideration.
1. A single phonological opposition is established on the basis of a sin-
gle difference in the articulation of two speech sounds. For example,
the opposed phonemes in the minimal pair ‘pen — ben’ possess some
common features (occlusive, labial) and one differentiating feature
(fortis vs. lenis).
2. A double phonological opposition marks two differences in the ar-
ticulation and presents a sum of two single oppositions. For istance,
the minimal pair ‘pen — den’ presents one common feature (occlu-
sive) and two differentiating feature (labial vs. lingual, voiceless-
fortis vs. voiced-lenis).
3. A triple phonological opposition has three articulatory differences,
presenting a sum of three single oppositions. For example, there are
three differentiating features in the minimal pair ‘pen — then’ (oc-
clusive vs. constrictive, labial vs. dental, voiceless-fortis vs. voiced-
lenis).
27
The semantic method is widely used in Russian and foreign linguis-
tics, as it attaches great significance to meaning and concerns both articu-
latory and functional characteristics of phonemes.
A thorough investigation of the problems of phonemes, allophones and
phones and different metods of phonological analysis is given in the book
by M.A. Sokolova “Theoretical phonetics of the English language” [19].

Seminar 2

1. What is the phoneme? Give the definition.


2. Explain the essence of the materialistic conception of the pho-
neme.
3. Discuss the aspects that the phoneme includes. Why none of them
can be ignored?
4. Give examples of the distinctive, constitutive and recognitive func-
tions of the phoneme.
5. What is the difference between phonemes and allophones? Which
of these notions serves as the representation of distinctive features
of a speech sound? What is the representation of non-distinctive
features?
6. What types of non-distinctive features of the phoneme do you know?
Give examples.
7. Is it important to differentiate between the principal and subsidiary
allophones of the phoneme? Why?
8. What units represent the realization of allophones in actual speech?
Explain the connection between phonemes and phones.
9. Comment on the difference between phonological and phonetic mis-
takes. State whether it is useful in teaching practice.
10. What types of transcription do you know? Which one would you
prefer in teaching pronunciation? Why?
11. Speak about the main phonological schools. Discuss the ideas rep-
resented in:
28
a) the psychological view of the phoneme;
b) the functional view of the phoneme;
c) the abstract view of the phoneme;
d) the physical view of the phoneme;
e) the materialistic view of the phoneme.
12. What methods of phonemic analysis do you know?
13. Give a brief overview of the distributional method. State if there are
any lacks in this approach.
14. Explain the essence of the semantic method. Does it get a wide ac-
knowledgement in linguistics?
15. State the basic principles of commutation test. Give your own ex-
amples representing its work.
16. Speak about the theory of phonological oppositions by Trubetskoy.
Name types of oppositions and illustrate them with your own ex-
amples.

29
Lecture 3
THE SYSTEM OF ENGLISH PHONEMES

§ 1. Vowel and
consonant phonemes

There are two main classes of sounds traditionally distinguished in


any language — consonants and vowels. The opposition ‘vowels vs. con-
sonants’ is a linguistic universal and it is clearly seen on all levels of
sound production.
This distinction on the acoustic level is clear due to the effect pro-
duced by these sounds: consonants have voice and noise combined, while
vowels consist of voice only.
On the articulatory level the difference is exercised through the work
of speech organs: vowels are produced without any obstruction, conso-
nants are produced with the help of various obstructions, such as com-
plete, partial or intermittent blockages of the air passage.
On the perception level the difference is understood through the inte-
gral characteristics of tone in vowels and the indispensable characteristics
of noise in consonants.
On the functional level both vowel and consonant classes of sounds are
represented as a set of phonemes established with the help of phonological
analysis. Each of the classes taken separately may undergo further classifi-
cations on the acoustic, articulatory, auditory and functional levels.
The first three levels should be studied simultaneously as there is no
sharp division between them.
Thus the articulatory classification defines the peculiarities of speech
sounds as the combination of articulatory, acoustic and auditory charac-
teristics.
The phonological classification studies the peculiarities of sounds
from the functional point of view.
30
§ 2. Articulatory and phonological views
on the classification of English consonants
2.1. General characteristics of English consonants
Consonants are speech sounds made with the air stream that meets a
complete, partial or intermittent obstruction in the mouth or nasal cavi-
ties. The closure blocks the air stream and the sound production is ac-
companied with certain audible noise characteristics.
The phonological analysis establishes 24 phonemes of the English con-
sonant system [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h, t∫, ʤ, m, n, ŋ, w, r, l, j].

2.2. Articulatory classification


Articulatory classification organizes English consonants into certain
groups according to distinctive changes in the degree of noise, the manner
of articulation, the place of articulation, the presence of voice and the
position of the soft palate.
I. The degree of noise is determined by the presence of voice and
noise characteristics. According to it English consonants are divided into
noise consonants and sonorants.
Noise consonants [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h, t∫, ʤ] are cha-
racterized by noise component characteristic.
Sonorants [m, n, ŋ, w, r, l, j] are produced with tone prevailing over noise.
II. The manner of articulation is determined by the type of obstruc-
tion. According to it English consonants are grouped into occlusive, con-
strictive and occlusive-constrictive.
Occlusive consonants are produced with a complete obstruction in the
mouth [p, t, k, b, d, g] or nasal cavities [m, n, ŋ]. The sounds [p, t, k,
b, d, g] are also called plosives or stops, because in their production
the air is released with plosion.
Constrictive consonants are produced with an incomplete obstruction
in the resonator, forming a narrow [f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h] or a wider
passage [w, r, l, j]. The sounds [f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h] are also called
fricatives, because in their production the air is released with fric-
tion.
31
Occlusive-constrictive consonants or affricates [t∫, ʤ] are produced
with a complete obstruction, which is slowly released with friction.
III. The place of articulation is determined by the position of the
active organ of speech. According to it English consonants are divided
into labial, lingual and glottal. The class of labial consonants is further
subdivided into bilabial and labio-dental; the class of lingual — into fore-
lingual, mediolingual and backlingual.
1. Labial consonants are articulated by the lips. This class includes:
— bilabial consonants [p, b, m, w], produced with both lips;
— labio-dental consonants [f, v], articulated with the lower lip
against the upper teeth.
2. Lingual consonants are articulated by the tongue. This class is di-
vided into:
— forelingual consonants [t, d, s, z, ∫, j, θ, ð, t∫, ʤ, n, l, r], produced
with the tip of the tongue;
— mediolingual consonant [j], produced with the front part of the
tongue;
— backlingual (velar) consonants [k, g, ŋ], produced with the back
part of the tongue.
The subclass of forelingual consonants may be grouped into:
— interdental consonants [θ, ð];
— alveolar consonants [t, d, s, z, n, l];
— post-alveolar consonant [r];
— palato-alveolar consonants [t∫, ʤ, ∫, j].
3. Glottal consonant [h] is articulated in the glottis.
It’s necessary to mention, that the number of places of articula-
tion may be different. Thus English consonants are divided into:
— unicentral [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h, m, n, ŋ, r, l, j], which
have one point of articulation;
— bicentral [t∫, ʤ, w], which have two points of articulation.
IV. The voice characteristic depends on the work of the vocal cords.
According to it English consonants are divided into:
32
— voiced [b, d, g, v, ð, z, ʤ, m, n, ŋ, w, r, l, j];
— voiceless [p, t, k, f, θ, s, ∫, h, t∫].
V. According to the position of the soft palate all consonants are
classified into:
— oral consonants [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, j, h, t∫, ʤ, w, r, l,
j], produced when the soft palate is raised;
— nasal consonants [m, n, ŋ], produced when the soft palate is low-
ered.

2.3. Phonological classification


The phonological description of consonants partially follows the ar-
ticulatory one but still has certain distinctions. The same points are taken
into consideration (the degree of noise, the manner of articulation, the
place of articulation, the presence of voice, the position of the soft palate),
but they are studied from the point of view of the functional relevance
which is exemplified with the help of distinctive oppositions.
I. The first two points of articulatory classification are the degree of
noise and the manner of articulation. They are considered to be relevant
for phonological description as well, but some disputes arise concerning
their primary importance.
For example, V.A. Vassilyev gives major importance to the type of ob-
struction and distinguishes the opposition of occlusive consonants vs. con-
strictive ones: tea [ti:] — sea [si:], seed [si:d] — seas [si:z], pull [pul] — full
[ful], boat [bǩut] — vote [vǩut]. Each of the classes is then divided into
noise consonants and sonorants with further subdivisions.
consonants
÷ ø
occlusive constrictive
÷ ø ÷ ø
noise consonants sonorants noise consonants sonorants
÷ ø ÷ ø
plosives affricates medial lateral

33
M.A. Sokolova suggests another approach and states the degree of
noise to be the first and basic principle of classification. Thus conso-
nants are divided into noise consonants and sonorants because of
great articulatory and acoustic differences between them. The phono-
logical relevance of this factor is proved by contrastive oppositions:
bake [beık] — make [meık], veal [vi:l] — wheel [wi:l].
Each of the classes then undergoes further subdivisions.

consonants
÷ ø
noise
sonorants
consonants
÷ ò ø ÷ ø
occlusive-
occlusive constrictive occlusive constrictive
constrictive
÷ ø
lateral medial

Still in spite of all the controversy in opinions, both characteristics are


essential for the phonological description of consonants.
II. The principle of consonant classification according to the place of
articulation is fairly universal. On the basis of the position of the active
speech organ against the point of articulation English consonants are
classed into labial, lingual, glottal with further subdivisions.

consonants
÷ ò ø
labial lingual glottal
÷ ø ÷ ò ø
bilabial labio-dental forelingual mediolingual backlingual

This characteristic is relevant for phonological description. The fact


is proved by oppositions of consonants, which bring changes in meaning,
for example:
34
— bilabial vs. forelingual pan — tan [pæn] — [tæn];
— bilabial vs. backlingual pick — kick [pık] — [kık];
— forelingual vs. mediolingual less — yes [les] — [jes];
— forelingual vs. backlingual day — gay [deı] — [geı];
— forelingual vs. glottal sigh — high [saı] — [haı];
— labio-dental vs. forelingual feet — seat [fi:t] — [si:t], etc.
IV. The voice characteristics in phonological analysis is connected
with the force and energy of articulation rather than with the work of the
vocal cords.
According to it consonants are divided into strong (fortis, voiceless) and
weak (lenis, voiced). The difference is exemplified in distinctive opposi-
tional pairs: cap — cab, not — nod, pick — pig, cap — gap, pit — bit.
V. The position of the soft palate is not phonologically relevant,
because the presence or absence of nasalization is not used for meaning
differentiation in English. There are no distinctive pairs of consonants
which differ in the position of the soft palate so in phonology this feature
is considered as an indispensable concomitant one.

2.4. Problem of affricates


The problem of affricates arises in phonology, when phoneticians
define the phonological status and number of these consonants in the
English language.
Russian specialists state there are two affricate sounds in English: [t∫,
ʤ]. Foreign linguists enlarge the scale and point out six more affricates:
[ts, dz, tr, dr, tθ, dð]. So there are eight reputed affricate sounds in Eng-
lish: [t∫, ʤ, ts, dz, tr, dr, tθ, dð].
In order to overcome such a controversy, it’s necessary to consider
this problem thoroughly.
We should note here that only voiceless affricates are the object of
phonological investigation in this case. The articulation of voiced coun-
terparts is said to follow the same principles as voiceless ones.
The first question that needs an answer is: whether these sounds are
monophonemic bicentral entities or biphonemic combinations of two dif-
ferent elements?
35
According to the rules of articulatory indivisibility by N.S. Trubetz-
koy, a sound complex is considered monophonemic if it possesses syl-
labic and articulatory indivisibility, and its duration does not exceed the
normal one.
Thus the analysis of the reputed affricate sounds [t∫, ʤ, ts, dz, tr, dr,
tθ, dð] from the point of view of their syllabic indivisibility shows
that there are some word-groups in which the sounds [t∫, ts, tr, tθ] may
belong to one syllable: butcher [but∫-ǩ], mattress [mætr-is], curtsey
[kǩ:-tsı], eighth [eıtθ].
Further analysis shows that the given sound complexes are homoge-
neous and produced by one articulatory effort.
The length of these sounds cannot be relied on, as it depends on pho-
netic context. For example, the length of English [t∫] in match is much
longer than in chair, but this does not prove that in the first word [t∫]
is biphonemic.
So the analysis on the basis of articulatory and acoustic criteria shows
that potentially the sounds [t∫, ts, tr, tθ] and their voiced counterparts [ʤ,
dz, dr, dð] can be considered monophonemic and therefore can be treated
as affricates.
Here the second question arises: if these sounds are monophonemic,
how many phonemes of the same kind exist in English?
According to the morphological criterion a phoneme is morphologi-
cally indivisible, hence a sound complex is considered to be monophone-
mic if a morpheme boundary cannot pass within it.
In this case [t∫, ʤ] can undoubtedly get a monophonemic status, as
these phoneme sounds prove to be indispensable. For example, with-
out [t] or [∫] the word chair [t∫εǩ] correspondingly becomes share
[∫εǩ] or tear [tεǩ]; the word match [mæt∫] changes into mash [mæ∫] or
mat [mæt].
The sound complexes [ts, dz, tθ, dð] cannot be included in the system
of English phonemes, because their last elements are separate mor-
phemes [s, z, θ, ð] which are easily singled out by native speakers in
any kind of phonetic context.
The case with [tr, dr] complexes is more difficult, because in some
cases they turn to be inseparable when the elimination of one element
36
results in the change of meaning: tray [treı] — ray [reı]. Still they are
normally regarded as sound sequences and are not included in the
system of English phonemes.
Consequently, it’s necessary to take into consideration both ap-
proaches and regard the problem of affricates successively, first resting
on the articulatory and acoustic characteristics and then on the morpho-
logical and functional ones.
Thus Russian phoneticians define [t∫, ʤ] as monophonemic units that are
included in the system of English phonemes and possess the articulatory
characteristics of occlusive-constrictive, bicentral, (fore)lingual, palato-alve-
olar consonants with the opposition of voiceless fortis [t∫] vs. voiced lenis
[ʤ] (to catch — to cadge; riches — ridges; lunch — lunge; to beseech — to
besiege). In home phonology [tr, dr, ts, dz, tθ, dð] are considered as bipho-
nemic complexes which cannot enter the consonant sub-system in spite of
their articulatory and acoustic indivisibility in some contexts.

§ 3. Articulatory and phonological views


on the classification of English vowels

3.1. General characteristics of English vowels


Vowels are speech sounds made with the air stream that meets no
obstruction in the mouth, pharyngeal or nasal cavities. There is no noise
component characteristic in the production of vowel sounds.
A minimum vowel system of any language is likely to take the form
of a triangle with the sounds [i, u, a] at the tops. They form boundaries of
the vowel system as acoustically stable and articulatory different from
each other sounds.
[i] [u]

[a]

37
Sounds [e, o] may be added to them to mark the medium degree of
unlikeness in the acoustic and articulatory characteristics. Thus we get
the most common vowel system with 5 vowels.

[i] [u]

[e] [o]

[a]

The British linguist D. Jones tried to establish a broader classification


of vowels for all languages. He devised the system of eight Cardinal
Vowels on the physiological basis with the help of X-ray photography of
the tongue positions. This system is recognized by most foreign linguists
and serves the basis of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
IPA symbols for the cardinal vowels are: 1 [i], 2 [e], 3 [ε], 4 [a], 5 [α],
6 [ɔ], 7 [o], 8 [u]. The triangle form in this case is changed into a trape-
zium.

1 8

2 7

3 6

4 5

The articulatory changes in this case should be described as follows: the


front part of the tongue raised as close as possible to the palate forms point of
articulation No.1, the gradual lowering of the tongue to the back lowest posi-
tion gives point No.5, the lowest front position of the tongue gives point
No.4, the upper back limit for the tongue position gives point No.8. The
tongue positions between these points form points for No. 2, 3, 6, 7.

38
The system of cardinal vowels is an international standard, but in
spite of great theoretical significance its practical application is limited.
In language teaching this system can be learned only by oral instructions
from a teacher who knows how to pronounce the vowels.
The model pronunciation can be illustrated by the following examples:
1 [i] — German Biene, Russian пили;
2 [e] — Russian тесть;
3 [ε] — Russian эта;
4 [a] — French la;
5 [α] — English hot;
6 [ɔ] — German Sonne;
7 [o] — French Rose;
8 [u] — German gut.
The system of cardinal vowels gets necessary transformations when
applied to a particular language.
The standard of English pronunciation, called Received Pronuncia-
tion or BBC English, contains 20 vowel phonemes [ı, e, æ, a:, ɔ, o:, u, ʤ,
ǩ:, ǩ, i:, u:, eı, aı, ɔı, au, ǩu, ıǩ, εǩ, uǩ].
They may be exemplified by the following words: [ı] ink, [e] net, [æ]
act, [a:] arc, [ɔ] on, [o:] all, [u] put, [∧] utter, [ǩ:] earn, [ǩ] about, [i:]
neat, [u:] pool, [eı] eight, [aı] my, [au] how, [ɔı] oil, [ıǩ] ear, [εǩ] air, [uǩ]
doer, [ǩu] no.

3.2. Articulatory classification


Articulatory classification of English vowels describes distinctive
changes in the stability of articulation, the tongue position, the lip posi-
tion, the vowel length, the vowel tenseness and the character of the vow-
el end.
I. According to the stability of articulation English vowels are di-
vided into monophthongs, diphthongs and diphthongoids.
Monophthongs are pure vowel sounds with stable unchanging articu-
lation: [ı, e, æ, a:, ɔ, o:, u, ∧, ǩ:, ǩ].
39
Diphthongs are complex vowel sounds with unstable articulation in-
cluding an articulatory glide from one position to another: [eı, aı, ɔı,
au, ǩu, ıǩ, εǩ, uǩ]. They consist of two elements: the nucleus with a
strong and distinct articulation which forms the starting point of a
vowel, and the glide which reveals the direction of the sound
change.
Diphthongoids are vowel sounds with a slight change in articulation
when the difference between the starting point and the end of the
sound is not so clear: [i:, u:].
II. The variations in the tongue position also have an effect on the
quality of vowel sounds. They include horizontal and vertical movements
of the tongue.
1. According to horizontal movements of the tongue, vowels are di-
vided into front, front-retracted, central, back, and back-advanced.
Front vowels are produced when the tongue is in the front part of the
mouth and its front is raised to the hard palate: [i:, e, æ], [eı] and the
nucleus of [εǩ].
Front-retracted vowels are pronounced when the tongue is in the
front part of the mouth but slightly retracted: [ı] and the nucleus of
[ıǩ, aı, au].
Central vowels are produced when the tongue is in the central part of
the mouth and its front is raised to the back part of the hard palate:
[ʤ, ǩ:, ǩ] and the nucleus of [ǩu].
Back vowels are pronounced when the tongue is in the back part of
the mouth and its back is raised to the soft palate [ɔ, o:, u:, a:] and the
nucleus of [ɔı].
Back-advanced vowels are produced when the tongue is in the back
part of the mouth but slightly advanced and its centre is raised to the
soft palate: [u] and the nucleus of [uǩ].
2. According to vertical movements of the tongue, vowels are divided
into close, mid, and open.
Close (high) vowels are produced when the front or back of the tongue
is raised high to the palate: [i:, ı, u, u:].
40
Open (low) vowels are pronounced when the front or back of the
tongue is at the lowest position: [æ, a:, ɔ, o:].
Mid (half-open) vowels are produced when the raised part of the
tongue is between the close and open positions [e, ∧, ǩ:, ǩ].
Each of these vertical tongue positions has two variants: broad and
narrow, which include a higher or lower position of articulation with-
in one of the levels. Thus a more precise classification includes the
following groups:
— close narrow vowels [i:, u:];
— close broad vowels [ı, u];
— mid narrow vowels [e, ǩ:];
— mid broad vowels [∧, ǩ];
— open narrow vowel [o:];
— open broad vowels [æ, a:, ɔ].
The nuclei of diphthongs are always pronounced within broad
variants.
III. According to the position of the lips, vowels may be rounded or
unrounded.
Rounded vowels are produced when the lips are drawn together with
a round opening between them: [ɔ, o:, u, u:].
Unrounded vowels are pronounced when the lips are neutral or spread:
[i:, ı, e, æ, a:, ∧, ǩ:, ǩ].
IV. According to the length the classes of long and short vowels are
distinguished:
long vowels are capable of being continued during a longer period of
time [i:, a:, o:, ǩ:, u:];
short vowels — during a shorter period of time [i, e, ɔ, u, ǩ, ∧].
The vowel sound [æ] stands apart from this category because it’s
relatively long.
V. The degree of tenseness which distributes vowels into tense and
lax is closely connected with vowel length.
41
Tense vowels are produced when the speech organs are tense, here
belong all English long vowels: [i:, a:, o:, ǩ:, u:].
Lax vowels are produced with less tenseness of the speech organs,
here belong all English short vowels: [i, e, ɔ, u, ǩ, ∧, æ].
VI. English vowels are also classified according to the character of
the end into checked and free (unchecked). This criterion is connected
with the quality of vowel sounds under the influence of word stress.
Checked vowels are pronounced with maximum force of utterance
and have a strong end. They are abruptly interrupted by the following
consonant and therefore occur only in closed syllables. These are
English stressed vowels followed by a strong voiceless consonant
(bet [bet], dock [dɔk], cart [ka:t], tape [teıp], teacher [‘ti:t∫ǩ]).
Free vowels are pronounced with lessening force of utterance and
have a weak end. Here belong English vowels followed by a weak
voiced consonant or no consonant at all (pull [pul], card [ka:d], tame
[teım], try [traı], illusion [ı’lu:jn]).

3.3. Phonological classification


The phonological description of vowels partially follows the articula-
tory one, yet it has significant distinctions. The same criteria are taken
into consideration (the stability of articulation, the tongue position, the lip
position, the vowel length, the vowel tenseness, the character of the vow-
el end), but they are analysed from the point of view of their functional
sufficiency. The criteria of articulatory classification provide the basis for
the establishment of distinctive oppositions, but not all of them get the
same treatment in home and foreign phonology. Moreover, some criteria
are not considered to be phonologically relevant.
I. The stability of articulation is a disputable criterion. British and
American phoneticians suppose that the stability of speech organs in the
pronunciation of vowel sounds is quite relative.
Therefore in foreign linguistics the subdivision of vowels into
monophthongs and diphthongs is based on the number of elements con-
stituting a vowel phoneme. Thus simple vowels are defined as monoph-
thongs whereas complex vowels are defined as diphthongs.

42
Russian scholars single out the criterion of the stability of articula-
tion, according to which vowels are subdivided into:
— monophthongs with stable tongue position;
— diphthongs with unstable articulation which implies gradual glide
of the tongue from one position to another;
— diphthongoids, with relatively unstable articulation which implies
a slight glide only.
The classification suggested by Russian linguists is more exact from
the articulatory point of view and thus it is more suitable for teaching
purposes. Yet the phonemic status of diphthongs and diphthongoids
causes much argument.
II. The position of the tongue in the mouth cavity is the criterion
acknowledged as phonologically relevant by all linguists. Still the clas-
sifications suggested by Russian and foreign scientists have considerable
meaningful differences.
According to the horizontal movements of the tongue our phoneti-
cians distinguish five classes of vowels: front, front-retracted, central,
back, back-advanced. Foreign phoneticians distinguish only three classes:
front, central and back.
The classification of English vowels according to the vertical move-
ments of the tongue is also variable. British scholars distinguish three
classes of vowels: high, mid and low. Russian phoneticians make this
classification more detailed and distinguish two subclasses in each class,
all in all constituting six classes: broad and narrow variations of close,
mid and open vertical positions.
The controversy in the treatment of this criterion naturally leads to
different views on the next criterion — the length of vowels.
III. The distribution of vowels according to their length into long and
short from the articulatory point of view is stated by all linguists. The
antagonism of foreign and home linguists lies in the field of phonology.
British and American phoneticians consider vowel length to be an
essential phonemic feature whereas Russian scientists don’t treat it as
phonologically relevant. They underline that physical duration of a vow-
el in connected speech depends on many factors and doesn’t always serve
as the only distinctive feature.
43
The explanation of such a considerable difference in the approaches
to the second and third criteria is quite simple. In fact, the criteria of
tongue position and vowel length are interconnected from the point of
view of their functional significance. Foreign linguists do not single out
the classes of front-retracted and back-advanced vowels when analyzing
the horizontal movements of the tongue. They also do not distribute vo-
wels into broad and narrow variants when dealing with the vertical move-
ments of the tongue. So the number of vowel classes distinguished on the
basis of the tongue position is fairly smaller which results in different
views on the criterion of vowel length.
This can be clearly illustrated by the example of vowels [i:, ı, u:, u].
According to the approach of Russian linguists, they belong to the
same vowel classes, but differ in subclases:
[i:] front, close narrow vowel — [ı] front-retracted, close broad
vowel;
[u:] back, close narrow vowel — [u] back-advanced, close broad
vowel.
Therefore the distinction of minimal pairs like Pete [pi:t] — pit [pıt],
pool [pu:l] — pull [pul] is made with the help of functional features based
on different positions of the tongue. Thus the length of vowels is not
considered to be relevant.
In foreign linguistics the classification of vowels according to the
tongue position is not so precise. Therefore both [i:] and [ı] are classed as
front vowels, both [u:] and [u] — as back ones. In this case word-meaning
in oppositions like beat [bi:t] — bit [bıt], seat [si:t] — sit [sıt] can be dif-
ferentiated only with the help of vowel length which should be taken into
consideration as a phonologically relevant factor.
IV. The traditional classification of vowels according to the lip
position into spread, neutral and rounded, may be reduced to two posi-
tions: rounded and unrounded.
Still lip rounding is not phonologically relevant because it takes place
only due to physiological reasons. From the phonological point of view
lip rounding is caused by different positions of the tongue. Any back
vowel is pronounced with lip rounding and the degree of rounding de-
pends on the height of the raised part of the tongue.
44
V. The degree of vowel checkness or the character of vowel end
concerns the quality of vowels in stressed syllables under the influence of
the following consonant.
According to it all English long vowels are free as their pronunciation
doesn’t depend on the next consonant phoneme.
The pronunciation of English short vowels is checked when they are
stressed. The degree of checkness is terminated by the following conso-
nant: it is greater before a voiceless consonant and smaller before a voiced
one or a sonorant.
But this characteristic has no phonological value and it is important
only for practical application in language teaching.
VI. The degree of tenseness characterizes the state of the organs of
speech at the moment of vowel production. Special instrumental analysis
shows that long vowels are tense while short ones are lax. This characte-
ristic is also non-phonological and it is used only in teaching practice.
The criteria of vowel checkness and tenseness are phonologically
non-relevant, because they are realized only in connection with other
phonetic phenomena, namely the syllabic structure and the word stress.
Thus in the word pity ['pıtı] the sounds [ı] in the first and second syllables
have different degrees of checkness and tenseness because of the diffe-
rences in their placement and accentuation.

3.4. Problem of diphthongs and diphthongoids


The classification of English simple and complex vowels gets diffe-
rent interpretation in Russian and foreign linguistics.
Monophthongs are singled out by all phoneticians who consider that
these are simple vowels with more or less stable position of the articulating
speech organs. But the number of monophthongs may differ in some clas-
sifications because of various points of view on the phonemic status of
complex vowels — diphthongs and diphthongoids. For example, some fo-
reign linguists liquidate diphthongs as unit phonemes in accordance with
the principle of structural simplicity and economy, others single out both
monophthongs and diphthongs but reject the existence of diphthongoids.
The English diphthongs are the object of sharp phonological debates.
The question is: whether they are biphonemic sound complexes or com-
45
posite monophonemic entities? Modern linguistics uses a complex ap-
proach to the solution of this problem.
According to the rules of articulatory indivisibility N.S. Trubetskoy
states that diphthongs are unisyllabic, because:
— their parts can’t belong to different syllables;
— they present one phoneme with gliding articulation;
— their length doesn’t exceed the length of a single phoneme.
According to the criterion of morphological indivisibility added by
L.R. Zinder English diphthongs can‘t be separated, because they belong
to one morpheme: buy [baı] — buyer ['baı-ǩ]. Thus English diphthongs
differ from Russian biphonemic combinations like [ай, ой]: чай [чай] —
чаю [ча-йу], стой [стой] — стою [сто-йу].
Taking this information into consideration, phoneticians grant mono-
phonemic status to the English diphthongs on the basis of articulatory,
morphonological and syllabic indivisibility combined with the criterion
of duration:
— English diphthongs are pronounced within a single articulatory
effort;
— neither morpheme nor syllable boundary can separate the nucleus
and the glide (saying ['seı-ıŋ], crying ['kraı-ıŋ], enjoying [ın-
'djOı-ıŋ], slower ['slǩu-ǩ], ploughing ['plau-ıŋ], clearer ['klıǩ-rǩ],
airing ['εǩ-rıŋ], poorer ['puǩ-rǩ]);
— the duration of diphthongs coincides with the one of long monoph-
thongs in the same phonetic context (site [saıt] — seat [si:t], coat
[kǩut] — caught [ko:t]).
With the help of commutation test V.A. Vassilyev shows that any
diphthong can form oppositions with practically all vowels and thus de-
fines the monophonemic status of diphthongs (bite — bit [baıt — bıt];
bite — but [baıt — b∧t]; bite — bought [baıt — bo:t]; etc.).
The monophonemic character of English diphthongs is also proved
by native speakers’ intuition who perceive these sound complexes as a
single unit element.
Besides diphthongs Russian linguists also define such a subclass of
English vowels as diphthongoids on the basis of slight articulatory insta-
46
bility in the pronunciation of [i:, u:] which becomes gradually stronger in
modern English.
The division of English vowels into monophthongs, diphthongs and
dipthongoids is very important for language teaching since there are no
such sounds in Russian. Russian sound combinations like [йа, йо, йу, ой,
ай, ау, уа] (яд, йод, юг, рой, край, мяукать, вуаль) are biphonemic
clusters of two vowels or a vowel and the sonorant [й], when both ele-
ments are pronounced with equal energy and distinction.
So special attention should be given to pronunciation teaching of
English diphthongs, presenting a phonemic entity of two elements, the
first of them being a strong and distinct nucleus and the second — a weak
and indistinct glide. The pronunciation of diphthongoids characterized by
a certain degree of instability, which is greater in comparison with
monophthongs and smaller in comparison with diphthongs, also requires
special attention.

3.5. Problem of vowel length


Vowel length or vowel quantity has been the point of disagreement
among phoneticians for a long time.
From practical point of view the quantity of a vowel in connected
speech is presupposed by many factors:
— its proper length;
— the phonetic context (be — bead — beat [bi: — bi·d — bit]);
— the word stress (in stressed syllables vowels are longer, cf.
forecast ['fo:ka:st] — to forecast [fɔ'ka:st]);
— the number of syllables (vowels are shorter in polysyllabic words:
verse [vǩ:s] — university [ junı'vǩ·sıtı]);
'
— the syllabic structure (in words with V, CV, CCV type vowels are
longer than in VC, CVC, CCVC type: [ǩ:] in err and earn; [ju:]
in dew and duty);
— other factors (the position in the tone group, the position in the
utterance, the tempo of the utterance, the type of pronunciation,
the style of pronunciation, etc.).
47
But the problem phonology investigates is whether variations in
quantity are meaningful and thus can be treated as a relevant feature when
characterizing the system of English vowels.
Foreign scholars usually follow the approach of an outstanding British
phonetician D. Jones who underlines the phonological relevance of vo-
wel quantity. He states that words may be distinguished from one another
with the help of oppositions of different vowel length called chronemes
(deed — did, fool — full).
An outstanding Russian phonetician V.A. Vassilyev objects to this
point of view and considers that the difference in the quantity of vowels
should be subordinate to the difference in their quality. This conclusion
is based on two laws characterizing any language system:
(1) a relevant feature must characterize a number of units;
(2) a feature is systemic if it does not depend on the context.
The first law can be proved with the help of distinctive oppositions
containing vowels of different length. Most English vowels are character-
ized by the predominance of other distinctive features besides quantita-
tive correlation:
— in [i:, u:] vs. [ı, u] — diphthongoids vs. monophthongs;
— in [ǩ:] vs. [ǩ] — stressed vocalism (a vowel seldom occurs in
unstressed syllables) vs. unstressed vocalism (a vowel never oc-
curs in stressed syllables);
— in [a:] vs. [∧] — back open vs. central mid characteristics.
This gives the ground not to treat vowel length as a phonologically
relevant feature.
The second law shows that besides a great deal of other factors the
absolute length of vowels greatly depends on phonetic context. Long
vowels are the longest in terminal positions (bee, bar), they are shorter
before voiced consonants (bead, hard), and the shortest before voiceless
consonants (beet, cart). Still the words like bit and beat are perceived as
different, because vowels differ in quality: [ı] is a front retracted pure
monophthongs whereas [i:] is a diphthongized vowel.
So vowel length can’t be considered a minimal distinctive feature
since it varies under the influence of different phonetic context and serves
as an incidental feature characterizing vowel sounds of a certain quality.

48
Such an approach to phonological relevance of the quantity of English
vowels is shared by most Russian and many British phoneticians.
The problem of vowel length also concerns the status of phoneme
[æ]. It is treated as a historically short vowel that tends to be lengthened
before lenis consonants [b, d, g, m, n, z] almost the same as long vowels.
Nowadays the most part of phoneticians considers that [æ] belongs to the
subclass of long vowels on the basis of its qualitative — quantitative rela-
tions in the opposition [æ] vs. [ǩ].

Seminar 3

1. Give reasons why the opposition ‘vowels vs. consonants’ is consi-


dered to be a linguistic universal.
2. How is the distinction between vowels and consonants understood
on the material side of phonetic units’ representation?
3. What is the way to represent vowels and consonants on the func-
tional level?
4. Characterize consonants as a class of speech sounds. How many
consonant phonemes exist in English?
5. Point out the main principles of consonant classification. Explain the
divergences of the articulatory and phonological classifications.
6. Give an overview of the articulatory classification of consonants
compared to their phonological classification. Discuss the relevance
of the following points:
a) the degree of noise and the manner of articulation;
b) the place of articulation;
c) the presence or absence of voice;
d) the position of the soft palate.
7. Characterize vowels as a class of speech sounds. How many vowel
phonemes exist in English?
8. Point out the main principles of vowel classification. Explain the
divergences of the articulatory and phonological classifications.
49
9. Give an overview of the articulatory classification of vowels com-
pared to their phonological classification. Discuss the relevance of
the following points:
a) the stability of articulation;
b) the tongue position;
c) the vowel length;
d) the lip position;
e) the vowel tenseness and the character of the vowel end.
10. What criteria — articulatory or phonological — are more suitable in
the view of teaching pronunciation? Why?
11. State the essence of the problem of affricates in phonology. What
questions should be solved in connection with this problem?
12. What approaches regarding the problem of affricates exist in home
and foreign linguistics? Which one is the most suitable in your
opinion? Why?
13. State the essence of the problem of diphthongs in phonology. What
questions should be solved in connection with this problem?
14. Discuss the nature of English diphthongs and prove their monopho-
nemic character.
15. What can you say concerning the problem of diphthongoids?
16. Discuss the importance of the division of English vowels into
monophthongs, diphthongs and dipthongoids in connection with
language teaching.
17. Give an account of factors that can influence the quantity of the
vowel.
18. Can vowel length differentiate the meaning? Why does this question
constitute the subject of controversy among home and foreign lin-
guists?
19. What are the laws characterizing any language system according to
V.A. Vassilyev? How does this statement explain the connection
between the quantity and quality of vowels.
20. What can you say concerning the status of the phoneme [æ]?
50
Lecture 4
MODIFICATIONS AND
ALTERNATIONS OF SPEECH SOUNDS
IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

§ 1. Types of sound variations


in connected speech

In the process of speech communication language sounds undergo


different kinds of variations because of articulatory transitions in the pro-
duction of neighbouring sounds.
Every speech-sound pronounced in isolation has three stages of ar-
ticulation:
(1) the initial stage (the on-glide) when speech organs move to the posi-
tion of articulation;
(2) the medial stage (the retention/hold stage) when speech organs are
kept in the position of articulation;
(3) the final stage (the off-glide/release) when speech organs return to the
position of rest.
But in actual speech sounds are seldom pronounced by themselves,
they are used in combination with other sounds. There are four types of
sound junction in English:
(1) a combination of a consonant and a vowel (CV transition): me [mi:];
(2) a combination of a vowel and a consonant (VC transition): in [ın];
(3) a combination of two consonants (CC transition): blow [blǩu];
(4) a combination of two vowels (VV transition): reality [rı'ælıtı].
The adjacent speech sounds influence each other and modify the pro-
cess of sound production. The variations of the stages of articulation re-
sult in their merging or interpenetration.
51
Merging of stages usually takes place if two sounds of a different
nature are joined together: vowels and consonants, noise consonants and
sonorants, etc. In this case the end of the preceding sound penetrates into
the beginning of the following sound and they are articulated almost si-
multaneously (law [lo:]).
Interpenetration of stages usually takes place when consonants of a
similar or identical nature are joined together. In this case the end of the
first sound penetrates not only into the beginning but also into the middle
of the second sound (act [ækt], begged [begd]).
Sound variations are caused by different types of phonetic units: seg-
mental or suprasegmental.
Combinative changes are conditioned by segmental units and result
in the reciprocal influence of neighbouring sounds (tune [tju:n], in the
[in ðǩ]).
Positional changes are conditioned by suprasegmental units and re-
sult in the stylistic and intonational influence on sounds (word combina-
tions slight pressure, hot muffins may sound in colloquial speech like
['slaip 'pre∫ǩ], ['h∧p 'm∧fnz]).
The majority of sound variations in connected speech are combina-
tive, they may influence either phonemic or allophonic composition of a
word.
Phonemic variations are generally termed ‘sound alternations’.
They include changes between related phonemes and have great phono-
logical value.
Allophonic variations in the phonetic sequence are called ‘sound mo-
difications’. They are very important for practical language teaching.

§ 2. Modifications of sounds in connected speech

Sound modifications are allophonic variations of speech sounds


caused by their position in a word. They are usually quite regular and can
be stated in the form of rules which predict the use of certain allophones
in each position. Sound modifications are observed both within words
and at word boundaries. There are different types of sound modification
in modern English, which characterize consonants, vowels, or both.

52
2.1. Modifications of consonants in connected speech
Consonants are characterized by the following types of sound modi-
fications: assimilation, accommodation, elision, and inserting.
I. Assimilation is the adaptive modification of a consonant by a
neighbouring consonant within a speech chain. There are different types
of assimilation.
1. According to the direction of sound modification assimilation is di-
vided into:
— progressive (dogs — voiced [z], cats — voiceless [s]);
— regressive (width — [d] becomes dental);
— reciprocal (tree — [t] becomes post-alveolar, [r] is partly de-
voiced).
2. According to the degree of sound modification assimilation can be:
— complete, when two sounds become completely alike or merge
into one another (sandwich ['sænnwıʤ] → ['sænwıʤ] →
['sænıʤ]);
— incomplete, when the adjoining sounds are partially alike (sweet
[w] is partially devoiced).
These types of assimilation may result in different modifications of
the place of articulation, the manner of articulation, and the force of ar-
ticulation.
1) Assimilation affecting the place of articulation includes the following
modifications of consonants:
— alveolar [t, d, n, l, s, z] become dental before interdental [ð, θ]
(eighth, breadth, on the, all the, guess that, does that);
— alveolar [t, d] become post-alveolar before post-alveolar [r] (true,
dream);
— alveolar [s, z] become post-alveolar before apical forelingual [∫]
(this shelf, does she);
— alveolar [t, d] become fricative before palatal mediolingual [j]
(graduate, congratulate);
— nasal [m, n] become labio-dental before labio-dental [f, v] (com-
fort, infant);
53
— nasal [n] becomes dental before interdental [θ] (seventh);
— nasal [n] becomes velar before backlingual [k] (think);
— nasal [n] becomes palato-alveolar before palato-alveolar [t∫, ʤ]
(pinch, change).
2) Assimilation affecting the manner of articulation includes the follow-
ing modifications of consonants:
— loss of plosion in the sequence of two stops [p, t, k, b, d, g] (and
dad, that tape, fact) or in the sequence of a stop and an affricate
(a pointed chin, a sad joke);
— nasal plosion in the combination of a plosive consonant and a
nasal sonorant (sudden, happen, at night, submarine, let me);
— lateral plosion in the sequence of an occlusive consonant and a
lateral sonorant (settle, please, apple);
— anticipating lip-rounded position in the combination of conso-
nants [t, d, k, g, s] and a sonorant [w] (quite, swim, dweller).
3) Assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords includes the fol-
lowing modifications of consonants:
— progressive partial devoicing of the sonorous [m, n, l, w, r, j] be-
fore voiceless [s, p, t, k, f, θ, ∫] (small, slow, place, fly, sneer, try,
throw, square, twilight, pure, few, tune, at last, at rest);
— progressive voicing or devoicing of the contracted forms of the
auxiliary verbs is, has depending on the preceding phoneme
(That’s right. Jack’s gone. John’s come.);
— progressive voicing or devoicing of the possessive suffixes -’s /
-s’, the plural suffix -(e)s of nouns or the third person singular
ending -(e)s of verbs according to the phonetic context (Jack’s,
Tom’s, Mary’s, George’s; girls, boys, dishes, maps; reads, writes,
watches);
— progressive voicing or devoicing of the suffix -ed depending on
the preceding sound (lived, played, worked);
— regressive voicing or devoicing in compound words (gooseberry,
newspaper);

54
— regressive voicing or devoicing in closely connected pairs of
words, which usually include two functional words or a combina-
tion of a notional and a functional word (I have to do this. She’s
fine. Of course.).
It’s important to mention that English consonants are not subjected to
voiced-voiceless or voiceless-voiced assimilation within non-compound
words (anecdote, birthday, obstinate) or in free combinations of two no-
tional words (sit down, this book, these socks, white dress).
II. Accommodation is the adaptive modification of a consonant un-
der the influence of a neighbouring vowel which includes the following
changes:
— labialization of consonants under the influence of the following
back vowels [ɔ, o:, u, u:, a:], resulting in lip rounding (pool, rude,
ball, car);
— labialization of consonants under the influence of the following
or preceding front vowels [ı, i:], resulting in lip spreading (tea
— eat, feet — leaf , keep — leak, pill — tip);
— palatalization of consonants under the influence of front vowels [ı,
i:] (cf: part — pit, top — tip, far — feet, hard — hit, chance —
cheese).
III. Elision is a complete loss of sound in the word structure in con-
nected speech. The following examples of consonant elision are observed
in modern English:
— loss of [h] in personal and possessive pronouns he, his, her, hers
and the forms of the auxiliary verb have (What has he done?);
— loss of [l] when preceded by [o:] (always);
— loss of plosives [p, t, k, b, d, g] in clusters followed by another
consonant (next day, just one, last time, old man);
— loss of [θ, ð] in clusters with [s, z, f, v] (months, clothes, fifth, sixth);
— loss of [v] before other consonants in rapid speech (give me your
pen).
IV. Insertion is a process of sound addition to the word structure. There
are the following cases of this consonant modification type in English:
55
— linking [r], which reveals its potential pronunciation
(carzowner);
— intrusive [r] pronounced in word combinations with vowels in the
word-final and word-starting positions (chinazand glass);
— inserted [j] after word-final diphthongs gliding to [ı] (saying,
trying);
— inserted [w] after word-final diphthongs gliding to [u] (going, al-
lowing);
— inserted [t∫, ʤ] instead of word-final [t, d] before [j] (could
you).

2.2. Modifications of vowels in connected speech


The main types of sound modifications characterizing vowels are re-
duction and elision.
I. Reduction is the weakening of vowels in unstressed positions, de-
termined by the position of a vowel, the stress structure of a word or the
tempo of speech. This type of vowel modification may be qualitative,
quantitative, or both.
1. Quantitative reduction is the decrease of vowel quantity when its
length is shortened under the influence of the following factors:
— word stress: vowels in unstressed positions are usually shorter (cf:
Is / he [hi:] or \ she to blame? vs. At 'last he [hi] has \ done it.);
— position of a vowel in a word: the positional length of English
vowels is the longest in the end, shorter before a lenis consonant,
and the shortest before a fortis consonant (cf: he [hi:] — heel
[hi·l] — heat [hit]).
2. Qualitative reduction is the loss of vowel quality (colour) which gene-
rally results in the following changes:
— reduction of the vowels of full value to the neutral sound [ǩ] in
unstressed positions (analyze ['ænǩlaız] — analysis [ǩ'nælısıs]);
— slight nasalization of vowels preceded or followed by nasal con-
sonants [n, m] (no, my, can, come).
56
II. Vowel elision (zero reduction) is the complete omission of the
unstressed vowel which is realized in connected speech under the influ-
ence of tempo, rhythm and style of speech. It usually occurs:
— in notional words within a sequence of unstressed syllables (his-
tory ['hıstǩrı] → ['hıstrı], territory ['terıtǩrı] → ['terıtrı]);
— in notional words within unstressed syllables preceding the
stressed one (correct [kǩ'rekt] → [k'rekt], suppose [sǩ'pǩuz] →
[s'pǩuz]);
— in unstressed form words within a phrase (Has he done it? [hæz hi· /
d∧n ıt] → [hǩz hı / d∧n ıt] → [ǩz ı / d∧n ıt] → [z ı / d∧n ıt]).

2.3. Complex vowel and consonant modifications


Contemporary modifications of sounds in English include the cases
of complex sound modifications with both vowels and consonants. They
are quite difficult to classify.
For example, here belong the pronunciation of the construction ‘be
going to’, the Infinitive after the verb ‘want’, and the verbal form ‘have
got to’ in rapid speech:
I want to drink. [aı 'wɔnǩ 'drınk]
We’ve got to go there. [wıv 'gɔtǩ 'gǩu ðεǩ]
He’s going to come. [hız 'gɔnǩ 'k∧m]

§ 3. Notion of alternation and its types

As it has been stated, allophonic modifications of speech sounds are


quite regular. They are predicted by the context establishing changes of
allophones in each position. But there are variations of a different kind
in English called sound alternations which involve interchange be-
tween related phonemes as well. Two types of alternations are presented
in English on the synchronic and diachronic levels: historical and con-
temporary.
57
I. Sound alternations that are traced back to the phonemic changes in
earlier periods of language development and are known as historical. In
this case the alternating sounds are affected not by the present-day pho-
netic position or context but by certain diachronic processes which reveal
sound changes made in the course of language history. They are now-
adays reflected in English as alternations of phonemes used for differen-
tiating words, their derivatives and grammatical word-forms. Historical
alternations mark both vowels and consonants. They usually have certain
orthographic representation and may be supported by suffixation and
stress shifting.
1. Vowel alternations are exemplified by:
— distinctions of irregular verbal forms (get — got — got, know —
knew — known);
— distinctions of causal verbal forms (to rise — to raise);
— distinctions of singular and plural noun forms (goose — geese,
man — men);
— distinctions of parts of speech in etymologically correlated words
(long — length).
2. Consonant alternations represent:
— distinctions of irregular verbal forms (send — sent — sent);
— distinctions of parts of speech in etymologically correlated words
(defence — to defend);
— reduction of consonant clusters in the initial (write, know, gnat),
medial (listen, whistle) or final positions (lamb).
3. Vowel and consonant alternations are presented by distinctions of
parts of speech in etymologically correlated words (live — life,
bath — to bathe).
II. Sound alternations on the synchronic level are known as contex-
tual or contemporary. They concern the phonemic structure of mor-
phemes under the influence of other morphemes joined to them. Such
phonemic changes do not have any spelling representation and characte-
rize sounds in weak positions, namely unstressed positions for vowels
and final or pre-consonantal position for consonants.
58
The study of contextual alternations differs from the study of sound
modifications. The latter is mainly connected with the articulatory and
acoustic aspects of sound phenomena whereas the first one deals with
phonology and touches upon the problem of phoneme identification of
alternated sounds in weak positions.
Let’s consider the following example. If we take the first syllabic
vowel of the words ac'tivity and con'trast and compare it with the first
syllabic vowel of the words 'active and 'contrast, we’ll clearly see the
difference in sound representation. It is the weak position of a vowel in
the first case and its strong position in the second one.
But the question is in defining the phonemic status of the vowel in its
weak position. There are two possible variants when in the words ac'tivity
and con'trast the first syllabic vowel may be considered:
— either as the principle allophone of a neutral phoneme [ǩ];
— or as subsidiary allophone of [æ] and [ɔ] in the words 'active and
'contrast, correspondingly.
The difference is quite significant, because the sound [ǩ] may be iden-
tified either as an independent phoneme, or as a neutralized allophone of
some other phoneme. This problem still doesn’t get a single decision in
modern linguistics.
Yet in case of the English language the problem of contextual alterna-
tions and phoneme identification is said to be not so important. Numerous
phonetic simplifications of units larger than phonemes manifested in con-
nected speech don’t seem to affect the meaning of English sentences.
Omissions of speech sounds made in this or that word for the sake of the
economy of pronouncing efforts do not lead to excessive ambiguity.
For example, the auxiliary verbs have and be, in the 3rd person singu-
lar (has, is) reduced to a single sound [z] are properly recognized by the
listener because of their syntactic function in the context. So the sound
sequences [z 'nik 'k∧miŋ] or [z 'nik 'k∧m] are easily reconstructed as ‘Is
Nick coming?’ or ‘Has Nick come?’
The same is with the possessive -’s and the plural -s of nouns pro-
nounced as [z]. In the sound sequences [ðǩ 'bɔız 'skeıt] or [ðǩ 'bɔız 'pen] the
sound [z] is correspondingly recognized as the plural or possessive forms
of a noun: ‘The boys skate’ or ‘The boy’s pen’.
59
The problem of phoneme identification is far more significant for the
Russian language because of the widely spread voiced — voiceless pho-
nemic consonant assimilation and vowel reduction.

§ 4. Problem of phoneme identification.


Main phonological schools

There are different views on the problem of the phonemic status of sounds
in neutral positions and the identification of phonemes they belong to.
I. The representatives of Moscow phonological school (R.I. Avane-
sov, P.S. Kuznetsov, A.A. Reformatsky, and others) support the theory of
morphological neutralization of phonemes. They state that a phoneme
may lose one or more of its distinctive features in a weak position within
a morpheme. Thus phonemic alternations within one and the same unit
are connected with morphology. According to this view:
— two different phonemes in different allomorphs of the same mor-
pheme may be represented on the synchronic level by one and
the same sound which is their common variant (вода — вóды, мо-
роз — морóзы) and, consequently,
— one and the same sound may belong to one phoneme in one word
and to another phoneme in another word (кот — код).
In order to decide to which phoneme the sounds in a phonologically
weak position belong, it is necessary to find another allomorph of the same
morpheme, in which the phoneme occurs in its strong position and retains
all the distinctive features. The strong position of a Russian consonant is
before a vowel in the same word, the strong position of a vowel is that
under stress. So the given examples may get the following treatment:
— in ‘вода — вóды’ [a] and [o] are allophones of the same phoneme
[o], in ‘мороз — морóзы’ [с] and [з] are allophones of the same
phoneme [з];
— in ‘кот — код’ the identification of the allophone depends on the
identification of the strong position of allomorphs ‘коты — коды’.
II. The representatives of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) phonological
school (L.V. Shcherba, L.R. Zinder, M.I. Matusevich, and others) sup-
60
port another view and advocate the autonomy of the phoneme and its
independence from the morpheme. They state that allomorphs of a single
morpheme may differ from each other on the synchronic level not only in
their allophonic, but also in their phonemic composition. The content of
the morpheme is constant. Speech sounds in phonologically neutral posi-
tions belong to that phoneme with whose principal variant they com-
pletely or nearly coincide. Thus:
— in ‘вода’ the first vowel sound should be assigned to phoneme [a];
— in ‘кот — код’ the sound in question belongs to phoneme [т].
III. According to the representatives of Prague phonological school
(N.S. Trubetzkoy, R. Jacobson, and others), there are types of units higher
and broader than phonemes: the so-called ‘archiphonemes’. An archipho-
neme represents a combination of distinctive features common to two
different phonemes excluding their specific features. So in ‘кот — код’
the sound in question is neither [т] nor [д] but an abstract unit combining
their voiceless-fortis and voiced-lenis characteristics and making them
similar in neutral positions.
It should be mentioned that none of these conceptions is recognized
as ideal in modern linguistics.

Seminar 4

1. What are the main types of sound junction in English?


2. Name and characterize the stages of articulation when speech sounds
are pronounced in isolation.
3. Explain the notions of interpenetration and merging of stages of
articulation.
4. Characterize the combinative and positional changes of articulation.
What types of units are they caused by? Give examples.
5. Comment on the term ‘sound modifications’. What types of varia-
tions do they concern? What units do they characterize?
6. Give an overview of consonant modifications in modern English.
Discuss the following variations and give your own examples to il-
lustrate each of them:
61
a) assimilation;
b) accommodation;
c) elision;
d) insertion.
7. Speak about vowel modifications in modern English. Discuss the
following variations and give your own examples to illustrate each
of them:
a) reduction;
b) elision.
8. What do you know about complex vowel and consonant modifica-
tions?
9. Comment on the term ‘sound alternations’. What types of variations
do they concern? What units do they characterize?
10. What types of sound alternations are presented in the English lan-
guage?
11. Discuss the peculiarities of historical alternations. Illustrate your
words with examples.
12. What do contextual alternations concern?
13. Is there any difference between the study of contextual alternations
from that of sound modifications? Prove your opinion.
14. How are the problems of contextual alternations and phoneme iden-
tification connected? Is it important in case of the English lan-
guage?
15. Why is the problem of phoneme identification significant for the
Russian language? Does it get a single interpretation in linguistics?
16. Survey the conceptions of phonemic neutralization put forward by
scholars of different linguistic trends. Comment on the theories pre-
sented by:
a) Moscow phonological school;
b) St. Petersburg phonological school;
c) Prague phonological school.
62
Lecture 5
SYLLABIC STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH WORDS

§ 1. Theories on syllable formation and division

Speech continuum can be broken into syllables — minimal pro-


nounceable units presenting a cluster or group of sounds. Syllables form
language units of greater magnitude: morphemes, words and phrases,
each of them characterized by a certain syllabic structure. Thus any meaning-
ful language unit may be considered from the point of view of two as-
pects: syllable formation and syllable division, which form a dialectal
unity.
The syllable is a rather complicated phenomenon and, like a pho-
neme, it can be studied on four levels: articulatory, acoustic, auditory and
functional. Its complex character gave rise to many theories in foreign
and home linguistics.
The articulatory study of the syllable was presented in the expiratory
theory (chest pulse theory, pressure theory) based by R.H. Stetson. Ac-
cording to it, speech is a pulsating expiratory process and every syllable
corresponds to a single expiration. So the number of syllables in an utte-
rance should be determined by the number of expirations made in its
production. But the validity of the theory is fairly doubtful. It was strongly
criticized by Russian and foreign linguists, because the number of sylla-
bles in a word and even the number of words in a phrase can be pro-
nounced with a single expiration.
The acoustic level of the syllable is investigated in the sonority the-
ory put forward by O. Jespersen. It is based on the assumption that each
sound is characterized by a certain degree of sonority which determines
its perceptibility. Thus it’s possible to establish a ranking of speech
sounds from the least sonorous to the most sonorous ones:
63
open vowels the most sonorous
close vowels
sonorants
voiced fricatives
voiced plosives
voiceless fricatives
voiceless plosives the least sonorous

According to it any sound sequence presents a wave of sonority,


which is formed with the most sonorous sound as the center of the syl-
lable and the least sonorous sounds as marginal segments, like in the
word plant [pla:nt].

p l a: n t
The most serious drawback of this theory is that many English syl-
lables contradict it. For example, in this case a sound sequence like stops
[stops] should have three syllables instead of the actual one.
Further experimental work resulted in a lot of other theories, but the
question of the articulatory and acoustic mechanism of syllable formation
is still open in phonetics. It might be fair to suppose that this mechanism
is similar in all languages and can be regarded as a phonetic and physio-
logical universal.
The theory of muscular tension by L.V. Shcherba has prevailed for
a long time in Russian linguistics. It states that the syllabic peak in most
languages is formed with the help of a vowel or sometimes a sonorant,
and the phonemes preceding or following the peak are marginal. The syl-
lable is defined as an arc of muscular tension in which the tension of ar-
ticulation increases within the range of prevocalic consonants and then
decreases within the range of postvocalic consonants. This theory has
been further modified by V.A. Vassilyev, who suggested that the physical
parameters of pitch, intensity and length also vary within the range of the
syllable. So on the speech production level the syllable can be treated as
64
an arc of articulatory effort which combines the changes in the muscular
tension of articulation and the acoustic data.
l
l l
l l
p l a: n t
Still all the theories mentioned above analyze the syllable either on
production or perception levels. An outstanding Russian linguist and psy-
chologist N.I. Zhinkin has made an attempt to combine these levels of
analysis in the so-called loudness theory. His experiments showed that
the loudness of sounds depends on the variations of the pharyngeal pas-
sage modified by the narrowing of its walls. Thus the increase of muscu-
lar tension results in the increase of actual loudness of a sound. So on the
perception level the syllable is the arc оf loudness which correlates with
the arc of articulatory effort on the production level, since variations in
loudness are due to the work of all speech mechanisms.
Speaking about the definition of the syllable, it is perfectly obvious
that no phonetician has so far succeeded in it. The attempts to define the
concept of the syllable resulted in the existence of different approaches.
Some linguists treat the syllable as a purely articulatory unit universal
for all languages, which lacks any functional value, because its boundar-
ies do not always coincide with those of morphemes.
Still the majority of linguists regard the syllable as the smallest pro-
nounceable unit with a certain linguistic function which refers to the
structure of a particular language. In this case the definition of the syl-
lable tends to single out the following features:
— a syllable is a chain of phonemes of varying length;
— a syllable is constructed on the basis of the contrast of its con-
stituents, usually of vowel-consonant (VC) type;
— the nucleus of a syllable is a vowel, but there are languages in
which this function is performed by a consonant;
— the presence of consonants in a syllable is optional;
— the distribution of phonemes in the syllable follows the rules of a
particular language.

65
Thus the definition of the syllable presents a sum of features charac-
teristic of this suprasegmental unit.

§ 2. Syllable formation in English

The syllabic structure of all languages can be characterized from the


point of view of two aspects: syllable formation and syllable division
which are inseparable from each other. Let us begin with the study of the
first aspect.
Syllable formation in English is generally based on the phonological
opposition ‘vowel vs. consonant’. Vowels are usually syllabic while con-
sonants are not, with the exceptions of [l, m, n]. The English language
possesses a great variety of syllables types.
V.A. Vassilyev classifies syllable formation in English on the basis
of the type of phoneme the syllable ends in. He states the existence of two
types of syllables:
(1) open syllables ending in a vowel phoneme (I [aı], me [mi:], spy [spaı],
spray [spreı]);
(2) closed syllables ending in a consonant phoneme (it [ıt], and [ænd],
ants [ænts]).
The linguist underlines that these are phonetic syllables which distin-
guish the actual pronunciation of a word. They shouldn’t be confused
with orphthographic syllables into which words are divided in writing
and which are used in the system of reading rules.
M.A. Sokolova, V.D. Arakin and other linguists suggest another ap-
proach. They define four types of syllables in English on the basis of the
number and arrangement of consonants with a vowel. These are:
(1) fully open syllables, which consist of a vowel sound only (V type):
are [a:], or [o:], I [aı];
(2) fully closed syllables, in which a vowel is between consonants (C)
CVC(C) type): cat [kæt], jump [ʤ∧mp], plan [plæn];
(3) syllables covered at the beginning, in which a consonant or a se-
quence of consonants precede a vowel (CC)CV type): so [sǩu], spy
[spaı], screw [skru:];
66
(4) syllables covered at the end, in which a consonant or a sequence of con-
sonants follow a vowel (VC(CC) type): on [ɔn], old [ǩuld], acts [ækts].
Certain peculiarities of the system of English phonemes admit the
existence of types of syllables which consist of consonants only, with the
nucleous [l, n, m]. These are:
(1) syllables of CC type (table [teıbl], taken [teıkn], rhythm [rıðm]);
(2) syllables of CCC type (decent [di:snt], seldom [seldm]);
(3) syllables of CCCC type (students [stju:dnts];
(4) syllables of CCCCC type (functional [f∧ŋk∫nl]).
The distribution of consonant sounds in the structure of syllables is
fixed by certain rules and restrictions:
— sonorants [w, j] are always syllable initial (wheel [wi:l], yes [jes]);
— sonorants [n, l, m] are syllabic only in unstressed final positions
if preceded by a noise consonant (bottle [bɔtl], bottom [bɔtm],
button [b∧tn]);
— [s] is always initial in the syllables of CCCV type (straw
[stro:]);
— [s/z] are usually included in the syllables of VC(CC) type as mor-
phological indexes of the plural form of nouns or 3rd person sin-
gular form of verbs (casks [ka:sks], asks [a:sks]);
— [r] becomes syllabic in some accents (perhaps [præps]);
A single generalized formula of English syllables can be summarized
as follows: (C)V/C(C). The brackets indicate the optional presence of con-
sonants. This formula shows that the syllabic structure of the English lan-
guage consists of a nucleus which may be accompanied with consonants.
The nucleus is the peak of the syllable which is presented by a vowel
or a sonorous consonant. Consonant(s) preceding the nucleus make up
the syllable onset. Consonant(s) following the nucleus make up the syl-
lable coda. The combination of the nucleus and the coda makes up the
rhyming property of a syllable.
The structure of the English syllable admits from 1 to 3 pre-vocalic
consonants (splay [spleı]) and from 1 to 5 post-vocalic consonants (min-
strels ['mınstrlz]).
67
The number of syllables in English words can vary from 1 to 8 (day
[deı], baby ['beıbı], family ['fæmılı], generation [ ʤenǩ'reı∫n], liberality
'
[ lıbǩ'rælıtı], responsibility [rıs ponsǩ'bılıtı], irresponsibility
' '
[ırıs ponsǩ'bılıtı], incomprehensibility [ın'komprı hensǩ'bılıtı].
'
The basis of syllable formation in the English' language is the open
type of syllable in case of long or diphthongized vowels, and the closed
type of syllable in case of short vowels. This statement brings us to the
point of syllable division.

§ 3. Syllable division in English

Syllable division is another aspect of the syllabic structure of any


language. It helps to establish the structure of meaningful language units
(morphemes and words) and thus determines the syllabic characteristics
of the language. The rules of syllable division are studied by a special
branch of phonetics — phonotactics. It determines the patterns accor-
ding to which phonemes are grouped into syllables.
As it was mentioned above, both open and closed syllables form mor-
phemes and words in English, but due to the specific structure of the
language it is difficult in some cases to define the syllable boundary. It is
predetermined by word stress in conjunction with the free or checked
character of vowels.
There are the following rules for syllable division in the English
language.
I. Syllable division concerning stressed long monophthongs, diph-
thongs and diphthongoids doesn’t present any difficulty.
These are free vowels which occur in a phonetically open syllable and
the point of syllable division is right after them: carpet ['ka:-pıt], greeting
['gri:-tıŋ], taming ['teı-mıŋ].
II. Syllable division in case of short vowels manifests their checked
character under stress.
A short stressed vowel separated from the next vowel by a consonant
or a consonant cluster always occurs in a closed syllable in order to retain
its checked character: city ['sıtı], ekstra ['ekstrǩ].
68
The difficulty is to find the point of syllable division. It greatly de-
pends on the number of consonant phonemes following the vowel.
1) When a short stressed vowel is followed by one consonant, there
are two possibilities to determine the point of syllable division. It
may be after or inside the intervocalic consonant: city ['sıt-ı] or
['sıŧı]. The results of instrumental analysis show that the point of
syllable division in such words is inside the intervocalic conso-
nant. It can be marked in transcription by putting a syllable boun-
dary after the consonant serving as the point of syllable division
and adding an apostrophe sign to the next consonant in order to
fill the gap in notation: ['sıt-’ı].
2) When a short stressed vowel is followed not by a single conso-
nant, but by a consonant cluster, the rule for syllable division is
different. In words like extra there may be several possibilities to
determine syllable boundaries: ['ek-strǩ], ['eks-trǩ], or ['ekst-rǩ].
The division ['ek-strǩ] seems to be more natural. Instrumental
analysis proves that a new pronunciation effort begins after the
first consonant. Therefore such syllable division is fixed in pro-
nunciation dictionaries.
It should be kept in mind that the pronunciation of the stressed short
vowel in this case is checked, the transition from a vowel to a consonant is
very close and there is no weakening of an articulatory effort towards the
end of the syllable. Thus the syllable is closed. This rule for syllable divi-
sion in the English language is very important for language teaching. Stu-
dents should never confuse the Russian open stressed syllable in words like
си-то with the English closed stressed syllable in words like city ['sıŧı].
III. Syllable division concerning English pre-tonic unstressed vowels
also depends on the number of consonants sepating them from the next
stressed vowel, no matter whether it is a monophthong, a diphthong or a
diphthongoid.
1) When an unstressed short vowel is separated from a succeeding
stressed one by a single consonant, the syllable it belongs to is
always open (before [bı-'fo:], idea [aı-'dıǩ]).
2) The case when vowels are separated by a cluster of two consonants
is more difficult. The point of syllable division is determined with
69
the help of phoneme distribution. If a consonant cluster is possible
in the initial position, the syllable boundary lies before the cluster
and the syllable is open; if it does not, the point of syllable division
is between the consonants and the syllable is closed.
For example, the words agree, abrupt should be divided into syllables
in the following way: [ǩ-'grı], [ǩ-'br∧pt], because clusters [gr], [br] are
possible at the beginning of English words (great, cry, break). The syl-
lable boundary of the word admit is between [d] and [m]: [ǩd-'mıt] as the
sound sequence [dm] doesn’t occur at the beginning of English words.
IV. Syllable division of post tonic vowels (monophthongs, diphthongs
and diphthongoids) separated from the following vowel by a consonant is
a matter of no practical importance for language learners. Still most lin-
guists state that it should be before the consonant: history ['hıs-tǩ-rı].

§ 4. Functional characteristics of the syllable

The syllable is a phonological unit that performs the following close-


ly connected functions: constitutive, distinctive and identificatory.
1. The constitutive function of the syllable lies in its ability to be a word
or a part of it. It this respect the syllable exercises the connection of
smaller and greater language units.
On the one hand, it represents the correlation of the distinctive
and acoustic features of phonemes. On the other hand, it realizes the
prosodic characteristics of speech within the stress pattern of words,
the rhythmic and intonation structures of utterances. Thus the syllable
sums up specific minimal features of both segmental and supraseg-
mental levels.
2. The distinctive function of the syllable lies in its ability to differenti-
ate words and word-forms taken separately or in combinations.
This statement can be illustrated with the following distinctive
oppositions: nitrate [naı-'treıt] vs. night-rate [naıt-'reıt]; lightening
['laı-tn-ıŋ] vs. lightning ['laıt-nıŋ]. In these minimal pairs syllable di-
vision changes the allophonic contents of words and thus helps to
distinguish between them.
70
The similar distinction is found within language units of greater
magnitude: an aim [ǩn 'eım] vs. a name [ǩ 'neım]; we loan [wı 'lǩun]
vs. we’ll own [wıl 'ǩun]. These oppositional pairs present differentia-
tion of syllables concerning word combinations.
Sometimes syllable division may even be the basic ground for
sentence differentiation: I saw her rise [aı 'so: hǩ 'raız] vs. I saw her
eyes [aı 'so: hǩr 'aız]; I saw the meat [aı 'so: ðǩ 'mi:t] vs. I saw them
eat [aı 'so: ðǩm 'i:t].
3. The identificatory function of the syllable is conditioned by the pro-
nunciation of the speaker.
The listener’s ability to perceive and identify the exact meaning of a
word or a combination of words depends on the speaker’s ability to es-
tablish the correct syllabic boundary: pea stalks ['pi: 'sto:ks] vs. peace
talks ['pi:s 'to:ks]; my train [maı 'treın] vs. might rain [maıt 'reın].
The realization of the distinctive and identificatory functions of
the syllable is closely connected with the notion of juncture, kept by
the speaker and taken in by the listener.
Close juncture (conjuncture) occurs between the sounds of the
same syllable. Open juncture (disjuncture) occurs between the sounds
of two different syllables.
Some linguists state that word juncture should be marked in a pho-
netic transcription with [+]. In this case the differentiation between the
oppositional pairs will look as follows:
ice cream [aıs + kri:m] vs. I scream [aı + skri:m].
Summarizing, it’s necessary to underline that the syllable reveals its
functional value only occasionally. This means that all the functions of the
syllable can be realized only with the help of other phonological units.

§ 5. Graphic representation of syllables


in English

Any syllable as a part of a word has double representation. Its pho-


netic image is shown in transcription (phonemic or allophonic) and its
written notation is shown in spelling (orthography). But the problem is
71
that parts of phonetic and orthographic syllables do not always coincide
(let-ter ['let-’ǩ], sin-ging ['sıŋ-’ıŋ).
Syllable division in writing may follow the rules which have already
been stated above. Then the division of the syllabic structure in orthogra-
phy is made according to phonological principles (fa-mi-ly, re-gu-lar).
Still such a division is not always possible. For example, in the words
body ['bɔd-’ı], money ['m∧n-’ı], the consonant letter representing the
point of syllable division should be added to the next vowel letter in order
to escape notation gaps: bo-dy, mo-ney.
Syllable division in writing may be also based on the morphological
principle. In this case prefixal and suffixal morphemes are divided from
the root one (ir-regul-ar), no matter whether they belong to the same
phonetic syllable or not.
Graphic representation of syllables in orthography is relevant for language
learning only when it is necessary to carry some of the letters over to the next
line. This process is usually called syllable separation. Special attention is
necessary in order to exercise it correctly. There are the following rules:
— a word can be separated only if it consists of more than 5 letters
and contains more than one syllable;
— the number of separated letters should be more than one;
— the parts of a word subjected to separation are derivational morhemes
used in word-building, but not inflexional ones used in word-chan-
ging (be-come, friend-ship, commit-ment, sports-man, volley-ball);
— the suffix -ing can be separated with the preceding consonant if
there is a consonant cluster before it: hand-ling;
— suffixes consisting of two syllables can’t be broken and should be
sepapated as a whole: vulner-able;
— suffixes consisting of two letters can’t be separated with the exep-
tion of -ly: surprised, teacher, graphic, but: correct-ly.

Seminar 5

1. What is a syllable? How would you define it in a general sense?


2. Interpret different theories that study the syllable. Consider the fol-
lowing:
72
a) the expiratory theory;
b) the sonority theory;
c) the theory of muscular tension;
d) the loudness theory.
3. Give the definition of the syllable as a sum of features, characteristic
of this suprasegmental unit.
4. What are the two aspects that determine the problem of the study of
syllable?
5. What is syllable formation in the English language based on?
6. Give an overview of different classifications of syllables types. Il-
lustrate what you are going to say.
7. Discuss the peculiarities of consonant distribution in the structure of
English syllables. Give your own examples.
8. Give a generalized formula of an English syllable. What parts does
it consist of?
9. What type of syllable makes up the basis of syllable formation in
English?
10. What is the essence of syllable division in the English language?
11. List and explain the basic rules for syllable division in the English
language.
12. Why is it sometimes difficult to define syllable boundary within
English words?
13. What functions does a syllable perform?
14. Characterize the syllabic functions one by one. Suggest evidence for
each of them with the help of examples.
15. Explain the notion of juncture. How is it connected with the realiza-
tion of syllabic functions?
16. What is the difference between phonetic and orthographic represen-
tations of syllables?
17. What methods of syllable division in writing do you know?
18. List the rules for syllable separation. Give your own examples.
73
Lecture 6
WORD STRESS IN ENGLISH

§ 1. Nature of word stress

The syllabic structure of words is closely connected with their ac-


centual structure. The sequence of syllables in a word is not pronounced
identically, some syllable(s) are uttered with greater prominence. These
are known as stressed or accented syllables.
Stress in isolated words is termed ‘word stress’; stress in connected
speech is termed ‘sentence stress’. Word stress in English is indicated by
placing a special stress mark before a stressed syllable /'/. Sentence stress
also needs special marking.
The term ‘word stress’ doesn’t get a single definition in linguistics. It
is defined as:
— an increase of expiratory energy and articulatory activity (B.A. Bo-
goroditsky);
— the greater degree of force exhalation and loudness (D. Jones);
— the changes in the degree of force of breath (H. Sweet); etc.
It is clear that the effect of prominence of a stressed syllable is
achieved due to distinctions in its articulatory and auditory characteristics
which vary in different languages. Thus the most suitable and generally
accepted approach lies in studying the nature of word stress.
Word stress should be defined as a complex phenomenon marked by
the changes of force, pitch, quantitative and qualitative components. The
correlation of these components determines the nature of word stress in
an individual language, so that:
1. force (dynamic) stress implies greater force and intensity of articula-
tion in stressed syllables;
74
2. tonic (musical) stress is connected with the variations of voice pitch
in stressed syllables;
3. quantitative stress concerns the increase of the length of nuclear vo-
wels in stressed syllables;
4. qualitative stress deals with the colour of nuclear vowels, which re-
veal all their distinctive features in stressed syllables.
It would be fair to mention that the predominance of one component
within a single language is less frequent than the combination of different
components. For instance, in Swedish the force stress is combined with
the tonic one: the word komma changes the meaning from ‘comma’ into
‘come’ when its stressed syllable gets additional differentiation in tone.
Yet Chinese is characterized by the tonic stress only: the word chu chan-
ges its meaning according to the pitch of the voice into pig (level tone),
bamboo (rising tone), to live (falling tone).
The nature of word stress in English is a disputable question. It is
traditionally defined as mostly dynamic stress with some tonic compo-
nent. But modern phonology suggests another approach. Some linguists
(D. Crystal, A.G. Gimson, S.F. Leontyeva, and others) state that the spe-
cial prominence of English stressed syllables is manifested not only
through the increase of intensity and pitch variations, but also through the
changes in the quantity of vowels and quality of vowels and consonants.
Indeed, if we compare stressed and unstressed syllables in the words
abstract ['æbstrækt] and to abstract [ǩb'strækt], we may notice the fol-
lowing peculiarities of the stressed syllables:
— their force of stressed syllables is greater, as the articulation is
more energetic;
— the voice pitch is higher, because the vocal cords and the walls of
the resonator are more tense;
— the quantity of the vowel [æ] in [ǩb'strækt] is greater, as it is lon-
ger;
— the quality of the second vowel [æ] in ['æbstrækt] is also diffe-
rent, because it changes the distinctive features from a broad vari-
ant of the open vowel closer to a narrow one.
So the problem of components interrelation in the English word stress
is still awaiting its solution.
75
As far as the Russian language is concerned, the word stress presents
the combination of force, quantitative and qualitative components. For
example, the vowel [и] is pronounced with different length in stressed
and unstressed syllables in the words идú and úдиш; the quality of the
vowel [о] in the words грозá and грóзы undergoes great changes because
of word stress.

§ 2. Placement of word stress in English


The traditional classification of languages according to the placement
of word stress includes languages with fixed and free stress.
If the stress is limited to a particular syllable of a polysyllabic word,
it is called fixed. For example, in French the stress always falls on the last
syllable of the word, in Finnish and Czech — on the first syllable, in Po-
lish — on the last but one syllable.
If the place of the stress is not confined to a specific position in a
word, it is called free. Such a placement of stress is exemplified in the
Russian language where the stress may fall on the first, second, last or
other syllables in different words (óблако — морóз — молокó).
The English language represents a more complicated case, because it
tends to combine free and fixed tendencies of the placement of word
stress. It holds true that word stress can fall on different syllables in Eng-
lish words ('mother, 'cinema, ba'lloon, de'mocracy). Moreover, there are
cases of stress shifting which help to differentiate parts of speech or de-
rivative word-forms ('import — to im'port, 'library — li'brarian). Still the
placement of stress in English words is highly predictable, as its position
in most cases is the product of the historical language development.
In order to avoid accentual mistakes and difficulties in establishing
the stress pattern of English words, it is necessary for language learners
to know the basic rules of accentuation, which are presupposed by the
origin of English words and their rhythmic or morphemic structure.

§ 3. Degrees of word stress in English


According to the degree of prominence, word stress is divided into
primary and secondary stress. Both types serve to single out stressed
76
syllables in a word, but the degree of prominence achieved by the pri-
mary stress is greater than that indicated by the secondary stress.
Notional words in every language have primary stress, which is also
termed ‘main’ or ‘nuclear’. The existence of secondary stress in polysyl-
labic words is not characteristic of all languages.
For example, English words with the number of syllables counted
one to four usually have one primary stress ('toy, 'owner, 'character,
psy'chology), but most words of more than four syllables have two
stresses: primary and secondary (pro nunci'ation). In the Russian lan-
guage polysyllabic words have only one ' primary stress (произношéние).
The most common mistake made by Russian students consists in omitting
the secondary stress in words like demonstration [ demǩns'treı∫n] under
'
the influence of the primary stress pattern демонстрáция. Therefore spe-
cial attention should be paid to this peculiarity of English word stress in
the process of language teaching.
The foresaid distribution of the degrees of word stress is backed up
by all linguists. However, the opinions of phoneticians differ concerning
the following question: how many degrees of stress are linguistically re-
levant in a word?
Russian linguists consider that unstressed syllables should not be
taken into account, whereas foreign ones state that there are actually as
many degrees of stress in a word as there are syllables.
British scholars usually distinguish three degrees of stress in a word:
— primary stress, which is the strongest;
— secondary stress, which is less prominent;
— weak stress, which is realized in unstressed syllables.
American scholars distinguish four degrees of word stress:
— primary stress;
— secondary stress;
— tertiary stress;
— weak stress.
The difference between the secondary and tertiary stresses is rather
vague and seems to be predetermined by the differences between British
and American variants of English.
77
For example, some suffixes of nouns and verbs get additional tertiary
stress in American English ('terri tory, 'dictio nary, 'adver tize). Yet the
tendency to use tertiary stress on' a post-tonic' syllable is also
' traced in
modern British English.
Due to some peculiarities of the English language, some polysyllabic
words have two primary stresses ('seven'teen, 'good-’looking, to 'mis'lead).
The difference between them is marked by the predominance of some
components determining the nature of word stress.
The first main stress, which is called ‘pre-nuclear primary stress’, is
accompanied with the change of the pitch level height. The second main
stress, which is called ‘nuclear primary stress’, is affected by a change of
pitch direction and forms the accentual nucleus of a word. There are ca-
ses when the two primary stresses may be accompanied with a secondary
one ('re organi'zation).
It’s 'necessary to mention that all the words with two primary stresses
in modern English may have variants in accentuation generally observed
in connected speech. They are usually pronounced with two primary
stresses in a careful normative copnversation and retain the difference
between the nuclear and pre-nuclear primary stress ('indi vidu'ality,
'ir'regular). But in a rapid colloquial conversation the degree ' of the first
primary stress may be changed into the secondary or even weak one
('indi vidu'ality, ir'regular).
'

§ 4. Phonemic distribution
in stressed syllables

The accentual structure of the English language is closely connected


with the distribution of vowel and consonant phonemes.
All English vowels may occur in stressed syllables with the exception
of [ǩ], which is never stressed. The intensity of English vowels in identi-
cal stressed positions is different. It is the highest in [a:] and then gradu-
ally reduces to [ı] as follows: [a:, о:, ǩ:, i:, u:, æ, ɔ, e, u, ı].
English long vowels, diphthongs and diphthongoids retain their qua-
lity in stressed positions (army ['a:mı], eager ['i:gǩ], waiter ['weıtǩ]).
Unstressed diphthongs may partially lose their glide quality (subway
78
['s∧bweı]). Vowels [ı, u, ǩ] tend to occur in unstressed syllables. Sylla-
bles with the syllabic sonorants [l, m, n] are never stressed.
English consonants tend to keep their distinctive features in stressed
syllables: stops have a complete closure, fricatives have full friction,
fortis-lenis features distinction is clearly defined.

§ 5. Functions of the English word stress

In phonology the notion ‘word stress’ is replaced by the term ‘ac-


centeme’ introduced by V.A. Vassilyev.
The accenteme is a suprasegmental phonological unit which varies
in degrees, placement and performs different functions.
The functions of word stress as a unit of phonology are as follows:
constitutive, recognitive, and distinctive.
1. The constitutive function consists in the ability of word stress to or-
ganize the syllables into language units with a definite accentual
structure. A word does not exist without word stress, and any sound
continuum becomes a phrase only when it is divided into units orga-
nized by word stress into words.
2. The recognitive (identificatory) function of word stress enables a per-
son to identify a succession of syllables as the definite accentual pat-
tern of a word. Correct accentuation helps the listener to make the
process of communication easier, whereas misplacement of stress
prevents normal understanding.
3. The distinctive function of word stress consists in its ability to dif-
ferentiate the meaning of words and word-forms.
Primary accentemes are represented by stressed word positions. Weak
accentemes are found in unstressed positions.
Accentuation oppositions usually consist in the shifting of word stress
or changing its degrees, which may or may not be accompanied with
vowel reduction.
When primary word accentemes are opposed to weak ones, they help
to differentiate between words, word-forms or word combinations in the
English language:

79
transport ['trænspo:rt] — to transport [trǩns'po:t];
mankind ['mænkaınd] — mankind [mæn'kaınd];
blackboard ['blækbo:d] — black board ['blæk 'bo:d].
The same functions characterize the processes of word-building and
word-formation in the Russian language: зáмок — замóк, безобразнáя —
безóбразная, ногú — нóги.

§ 6. Stress tendencies in modern English

The accentual structure of English words is rather unstable due to


differences in the origin of English vocabulary. Modern English word-
stock presents a mixture of native and borrowed words, and it is small
wonder that lexical layers of different origin follow different tendencies
in accentuation.
Three main tendencies characterize word stress in the English lan-
guage: recessive, rhythmical, and retentive.
1. The recessive tendency is observed mostly in monosyllabic or disyl-
labic words of Anglo-Saxon origin and some French borrowings. It is
explained by the fact that in Germanic languages the stress originally
fell on the initial syllable or the second (root) syllable in words with
prefixes.
Unrestricted recessive tendency indicates native English words
without prefixes ('mother, 'swallow) and assimilated French borrow-
ings dated back to the 15th century ('reason, 'colour) with the stress
on the first syllable.
Restricted recessive tendency characterizes English words with
prefixes (fore'see, be'gin) where the root syllable is stressed.
2. The rhythmical tendency in present-day English is caused by the
rhythm of alternating stressed and unstressed syllables in polysyllabic
words. It explains the placement of primary stress on the third syllable
from the end in three- and four-syllable words (ar'ticulate) and the use
of secondary stress in multisyllabic French borrowings ( revo'lution).
'
3. The retentive tendency is traced in the instability of the accentual
structure of English words. According to it a derivative often retains
80
the stress pattern of the original parent word: 'similar — a'ssimilate,
recom'mend — recommen'dation.
' '
For a long time the recessive and rhythmical tendencies have been in
constant interrelation. This is clearly shown on the diachronic level in the
process of historic assimilation of French borrowings. The shift of the
original French stress in trisyllabic words onto the first syllable is the
result of the strong recessive tendency and also the adaptation to the
weaker rhythmical tendency ('faculty, 'possible).
On the synchronic level the gradual strengthening of the rhythmical
tendency becomes obvious. It may be illustrated by a great number of vari-
ations in the accentual structure of English multisyllabic words, which get
a spoken pronunciation variant with the stress on the second syllable ('hos-
pitable — ho'spitable, 'distribute — dis'tribute, 'aristocrat — a'ristocrat).
The tertiary stress marking on the third syllable in American English
('terri tory, 'neces sary) is also an example of the rhythmical tendency.
' '

§ 7. Stress patterns of English words


The distribution of stressed syllables into stress patterns helps to sys-
tematize the accentual structure of English words. The classification is
made according to the degrees of word stress and the number of stressed
syllables. It is also closely connected with the morphological type of
words and the semantic value of their parts (roots and affixes).
1. [┴ ─ (─)].
The pattern with the primary stress on the first syllable marks:
— disyllabic words subjected to the recessive tendency ('father,
'sunny, 'palace, 'office);
— trisyllabic words with or without suffixes subjected to the rhyth-
mical tendency ('family, 'scientist, 'populate, 'active);
— compound words with greater semantic significance of the first
component ('gas-pipe, 'bookcase).
2. [─ ┴ (─)].
The pattern with the primary stress on the second syllable is real-
ized in:
81
— disyllabic words with historical prefixes subjected to the restrict-
ed recessive tendency (be'cause, pro'claim, a'part, for'get);
— disyllabic verbs with the endings -ate, -ise/ize, -y (nar'rate,
com'prise, de'fy);
— words of three or four syllables with suffixes subjected to the
rhythmical tendency (phi'lology, de'mocracy, ex'perience,
o'riginate).
3. [┴ (─) ┴ (─)].
The pattern with two primary stresses is generally observed in:
— compound nouns or adjectives, consisting of two roots ('well-
'bred, 'absent-'minded, 'tea-'pot, 'ice-'cream);
— composite verbs with postpositions ('get 'up, 'come 'out, 'give 'in);
— compound words with separable prefixes ('un'fair, 'dis'appear,
'ex'minister, 're'play).
4. [┴ ┬ ─].
The pattern with primary stress followed by the secondary one is
very common among compound words as the accentuation variant of
the third pattern ('hair- dresser, 'dog- killer, 'sub structure). It is often
'
realized in connected speech. ' '

5. [(─) ┬ (─) (┴) ─].


The pattern with the secondary stress preceding the primary one
marks a great number of simple polysyllabic words with affixes
( intu'ition, govern'mental, pe culi'arity, repre'sent). It is as well
'
found '
in compound ' accentuation
words as the ' variant of the third
pattern in connected speech ( misin'terpret).
'
6. [┴ ┴ ┴ (┴)].
The pattern with three and more primary stresses is characteristic
of initial compound abbreviations ('B'B'C (British Broadcasting Cor-
poration), 'N'Y'S'E (New York Stock Exchange).
7. [┬ (─) ┬ (─) ┴ ─].

82
The pattern with two secondary stresses preceding the primary
one is found in a very small number of words with the stressed pre-
fixes, roots and suffixes ('sub'organ'ization, 'indilviduali'zation).
8. [┴ ┴ (─) ┬ ─].
The pattern with two primary stresses preceding the secondary
one is rarely found in compound words with separable prefixes
('un'trustlworthy).
The patters described above suggest the idea of great variability
in the accentuation of English words. The most widely used are pat-
terns # 1, 2, 4 and 5, which cover the main part of common English
vocabulary. Still there are a lot of words which have variants in ac-
centuation. They may differ in:
— number of stresses: UNSC [┴ ┴ ┴ ┴] or [┴ ─ ─ ┴];
— place of stress: laryngoscope [┴ ─ ─ ─] or [─ ┴ ─ ─];
— degree of stress: disability [┴ ─ ┴ ─ ─] or [┬ ─ ┴ ─ ─]; etc.
This fact underlines the instability of English accentual structure mul-
tiplied in connected speech.

§ 8. Basic rules of accentuation

Stress tendencies and the system of stress patterns helps to establish


basic rules of accentuation, which are very useful for language learners.
The accentual structure of simple and derivative words is rather com-
plicated.
Language learners should stick to the following rules:
— most disyllabic words have stress on the first syllable ('water,
'finish);
— disyllabic words with prefixes of no referential meaning of their
own have stress on the second syllable (mis'take; be'hind);
— most three- and four-syllable words have stress on the third syl-
lable from the end ('criticism, re'markable);
— four-syllable words with suffixes -ary, -ory have stress on the first
syllable ('stationary, 'territory);
83
— polysyllabic words with the primary stress on the third syllable
have secondary stress on the first syllable ('proba'bility);
— polysyllabic words with the primary stress on the fourth and
fifth syllable have secondary stress on the second syllable
(arlticu'lation);
— polysyllabic words with separable prefixes with a distinct
meaning have two primary stresses ('un'known, 'dis'charge,
're'pay, 'mispro'nounce, 'pre-'war, 'ex-'wife, 'inter'view, 'anti-
ag'gressive).
Special attention should be paid to the accentual structure of com-
pound words. Variability in the accentuation of English words is multi-
plied many times because of the variability in compound structures of the
English language.
In order not to make mistakes, the following rules should be ob-
served:
— compound numerals have two primary stresses ('twenty-'four);
— compound adjectives are generally double-stressed ('well-
'known);
— compound adjectives with semantically weak second component
are single-stressed ('childlike), but they are not numerous;
— compound verbs with post-positions get two main stresses ('put 'off);
— compound nouns are usually single-stressed ('strong-box), and
thus differ from word combination with two stressed words
('strong 'box);
— compound nouns with the equal significance of both elements are
double-stressed ('ice-'cream), but they are quite rare.

§ 9. Variations of word stress in connected speech.


Sentence stress

The realization of English word stress in actual speech may not coin-
cide with that in individual words. As it’s been stated before, the notion
84
of word stress is closely connected with the notion of sentence stress.
This connection is exercised with the help of their similar and different
features.
On the one hand, word stress and sentence stress have a lot in common:
— the accentual structure of a word predetermines the arrangement
of stresses in a phrase, because sentence stress usually falls on the
syllables marked by word stress;
— the stress pattern of a phrase is conditioned by the semantic and
syntactical value of words, as only notional words are generally
stressed;
— the rhythmical tendency of words and phrases is observed in the
alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables at approximately
equal intervals.
On the other hand, the demarcation of word stress and sentence stress
is rather distinct:
— the sphere of application is different, as they characterize diffe-
rent language units: word stress is applied to a word, but sentence
stress is applied to a phrase;
— the syntactical value of words isn’t always kept, because there are
cases when notional words are not stressed in a phrase (I 'don’t
like that 'man!);
— the rhythmic structure of a word and a phrase may not coincide,
as the number of stresses varies within isolated words and diffe-
rent phrases ('Fif 'teen. → 'Open 'page 'fifteen. → He 'mounted
'fifteen 'hills.);
— the stress characteristics of a word are changed under the influ-
ence of the tempo of phrases, because quick speed of articulation
usually causes the dropping of secondary stress (The 'mass
demons'tration was sup'pressed by 'local au'thorities.).
So in connected speech the accentual structure of a word obtains ad-
ditional characteristics. This fact sometimes presents difficulties for lan-
guage learners. They should be aware of the most widely spread accen-
tual patterns of words, as well as of their modifications caused by rhythm,
melody and tempo of utterances.

85
Seminar 6

1. Prove that the syllabic and accentual structures of words are closely
connected.
2. What definitions of the term ‘word stress’ do you know? Which one
do you consider to be the most appropriate?
3. Name and characterize the components determining the nature of
word stress.
4. Discuss the nature of English word stress. What is the traditional
approach? What approach does modern phonology suggest? Illus-
trate your opinion.
5. What differences can you trace between word stress in English and
in Russian?
6. Speak about the classification of languages into those with fixed
stress and those with free stress.
7. What are the tendencies of the placement of stress in English
words?
8. Give a brief overview of a general classification of word stress made
on the basis of the degree of prominence.
9. How many degrees of word stress are possible? Discuss the opin-
ions of:
a) Russian linguists;
b) British linguists;
c) American linguists.
10. Explain the peculiarities of polysyllabic words in English which
concern the degrees of word stress. Are these retained in connected
speech?
11. What differences can you notice in the degrees and the position of
word stress in the English and Russian languages?
12. Give an account of the distribution of English vowel and consonant
phonemes in stressed syllables.
86
13. What functions does word stress perform?
14. Give a definition of the term ‘accenteme’. Where is it studied? What
types of accentemes do you know?
15. What are the functions of accentuation oppositions?
16. What tendencies effect the position of word stress in English?
17. Speak about the recessive tendency. Give examples to illustrate its
influence on borrowings in English.
18. What caused the appearance of rhythmical tendency?
19. Prove the interrelation of both tendencies in the accentual structure
of English words.
20. What peculiarity marks the accentual structure of English words
with retentive tendency?
21. Which stress tendency prevails in modern English?
22. What are the most typical stress patterns of English words? What
other stress patterns do you know? Give examples to illustrate
them.
23. Is the accentual structure of English stable? Why? / Why not?
24. What are the basic rules of word accentuation? Speak about:
a) peculiarities of word stress in simple and derivative words;
b) peculiarities of word stress in compound words.
25. What is the connection of word stress and sentence stress? Comment
on the similar and different features of these phenomena.
26. Why does the study of the accentual structure of English words
cause difficulties for language learners?

87
Lecture 7
INTONATION IN ENGLISH

§ 1. General characteristics of intonation

Intonation is a language universal, there are no languages which are


spoken without any change of intonation. The role and functions of into-
nation get various interpretations in different linguistic schools.
Intonation is a phonetic phenomenon generally studied within the
following language aspects: acoustic, auditory and functional.
The acoustic and auditory characteristics of intonation are combined
within the perception level; the first present special interest for research
work in theoretical phonetics, the second are connected with teaching prac-
tice. The functional level actualizes linguistic functions of intonation.

§ 2. Foreign views of the problem of intonation

There are different approaches to the problem of intonation in British


and American linguistics.
I. The first is contour analysis, which is widely used in Great Britain.
Its representatives are H. Sweet, D. Jones, G. Palmer, and others.
Intonation is defined as a layer that is superimposed on the lexico-
grammatical structure and serves to express the speaker’s attitude to the
situation with the help of tone-blocks — the smallest meaningful units,
consisting of pre-head, head and nucleus taken altogether. Ten tone-block
types are distinguished and then combined with sentence types (state-
ment, question, exclamation, command).
II. The second is the grammatical study of intonation worked out
by the British linguist M. Halliday.
88
According to it the main unit of intonation is a clause which presents
a complex of three systemic variables: tonality, tonicity and tone. Tona-
lity marks the beginning and the end of a tone-group. Tonicity marks the
focal point of each tone-group. Tones mark the nucleus and convey the
attitude of the speaker. These parts of clauses are connected with the help
of grammatical categories and carry out the syntactical function. Thus the
statement “I’d like to” may have several attitudinal meanings determined
by the pre-nuclear and nuclear choices: neutral (Low Fall), non-commit-
tal (Low Rise), contradictory (High Rise), reserved (Fall Rise), committal
(Rise-Fall).
III. The American school of intonation founded by K. Pike considers
pitch phonemes and contours to be the main units of intonation, which
have their own meanings, but stand apart from the communicative func-
tion of intonation. This approach is treated by most linguists as ‘me-
chanical’.
IV. D. Crystal represents the extralinguistic study of intonation. He
states that it is impossible to explain intonational meaning only with the
help of grammatical or attitudinal means. He ignores the significance of
pre-head and head choices and deals only with terminal nuclear tones,
which should have both linguistic and extralinguistic marking.
According to D. Crystal, there are nine ways of saying “Yes” as an
answer to the question “Will you marry me?”:
1) Low Fall — the most neutral tone, it reflects a detached, unemo-
tional statement of fact;
2) Full Fall — an emotionally involved tone, the involvement of the
speaker determines the onset pitch, whereas the choice of emo-
tion (surprise, excitement, irritation) depends on facial expression
of the speaker;
3) Mid Fall — a routine tone that conveys detached and unexcited
attitude;
4) Low Rise — an emotional tone, the attitude is told by the speak-
er’s facial expression: with a ‘happy’ face the tone is sympathetic
and friendly, with a ‘grim’ face it is guarded and ominous.
5) Full Rise — an emotionally involved tone meaning disbelief or shock,
the extent of the emotion is determined by the width of the tone;
89
6) High Rise — an emotional tone, often used in echoing what has
just been said, it reflects mild query or puzzlement;
7) Level tone — conveys bored, sarcastic, ironic attitude of the
speaker;
8) Fall-Rise — a strongly emotional tone, the emotion is determined
by the expression of the speaker’s face: a ‘straight’ or ‘negative’
face conveys uncertainty, doubt, or tentativeness, a ‘positive’ face
conveys encouragement or urgency;
9) Rise-fall — a tone that presents strong emotional involvement,
depending on the face the attitude might be delighted, challeng-
ing, or complacent.
Thus the linguistic study of intonation in foreign linguistics is restricted
by pitch movements (melody) which determine its outer physical expres-
sion. The priority of the pitch parameter is quite evident, but real commu-
nication involves the change of other intonation parameters as well.

§ 3. Problem of intonation
in Russian linguistics

There is wide agreement among Russian linguists about the definition


of intonation on the perception level. Intonation is a complex unity
formed by significant variations of pitch, loudness and tempo closely
related.
Pitch variations include significant moves of the voice up and down.
The degree of loudness determines the force of utterance and the promi-
nence of words. The tempo is determined by the rate of speech and the
length of pauses. Some linguists also mark speech timbre as the fourth
component of intonation. It definitely conveys certain shades of attitudi-
nal or emotional meaning but there is no good reason to consider timbre
alongside with three other components of intonation, because it has not
been thoroughly described yet.
It’s necessary to mention that the term ‘intonation’ isn’t considered to
be a happy one in theoretical phonetics, as it is too many-sided. M. Sokolo-
va substitutes it with the term ‘prosody’, which embraces the three main
90
prosodic components: pitch, loudness and tempo. This term is widely
used in modern linguistic literature, because it is more adequate and
causes no misunderstanding.
The prosodic components of intonation and their speech realizations
are interconnected. Every speech syllable has a special pitch colouring and
bears a definite amount of loudness. Together with the speech tempo they
form an intonation pattern which is the basic unit of intonation.
An intonation pattern contains a nucleus which may or may not be
preceded or followed by other stressed or unstressed syllables. The
boundaries of an intonation pattern are marked by temporal pauses. Into-
nation patterns are actualized in intonation groups.
An intonation group (a speech syntagm) presents a semantically and
syntactically complete group of words which may have different length:
from one word to a group of words or a sentence.
For example: \Yes.
I \do.
I \like it.
I like that \too.

§ 4. Prosodic components of intonation.


Structure of English intonation patterns

As it’s been stated before, there are three prosodic components of in-
tonation: pitch, loudness and tempo, which serve to actualize syntagms
and sentences. They are interdependent and form the structure of an into-
nation pattern.
I. The pitch component or speech melody includes distinct varia-
tions of intonation in the direction of pitch, pitch level and pitch range.
It’s necessary to consider them thoroughly.
1. Variations in the direction of pitch give greater prominence to one of
the syllables and form the nucleus of an intonation pattern.
There are eight nuclear tones in modern English: Low Fall (\ No),
High Fall (\ No), Low Rise (/ No), High Rise (/ No), Fall-Rise (\/ No),
Rise-Fall (/\ No), Rise-Fall-Rise (/\/ No) and Mid-Level (> No).
91
The first five of these are the most important nuclear tones cha-
racteristic of English. They have different meanings. Low Fall and
High Fall usually express certainty, completeness, and independence.
Low Rise and High Rise vise versa express uncertainty, incomplete-
ness or dependence. Fall-Rise combines the meaning of certainty
with that of incompleteness, thus suggesting that there is something
else to be said. It may occur within one syllable or spread over two or
more syllables (\Fortunately I /do.).
The last three tones are not considered to be essential ones. Rise-
Fall and Rise-Fall-Rise add some refinement to speech and can be
easily replaced by basic nuclear tones without making considerable
changes in the meaning of the utterance: Rise-Fall by High Fall and
Rise-Fall-Rise by Fall-Rise. Mid-Level tone is characteristic of spon-
taneous speech when replacing the rising tone (After 'everything
you’ve >said | I 'don’t want to \go there!).
2. The pitch level parameter includes variations of the normal range of
speaking voice within a given interval between its lower and upper
limits. There are three pitch levels: high, medium, and low.

High level
Medium level
Low level

3. The pitch range is the interval between two pitch levels from the
highest-pitched to the lowest-pitched syllables. The pitch range may
be normal, wide, and narrow.

↑ ↑ ↕
↓ ↑ | ↕
↓ ↓ ↕
Normal Wide Narrow
(of high, medium, low levels)

II. The loudness component of intonation or force of the utterance


includes changes in the level of loudness.

92
They may cause various semantic differences. For example, an over-
all loudness level conveys extreme emotions, such as anger, menace, or
excitement. Loudness changes are inseparably connected with pitch vari-
ations, because both of them create the effect of accentuation.
III. The tempo component of intonation implies variations in the
rate of the utterance and pausation.
a) The rate of speech is divided into normal, fast and slow.
It differs according to the importance of the parts of the utterance,
since the important ones are spoken slower, but unimportant ones are
pronounced at a greater speed.
b) Pauses are complete stops of phonation dividing a stretch of
speech into smaller units.
According to their length, the following kinds of pauses are distin-
guished:
— short pauses, which separate intonation groups within a phrase;
— longer pauses, which manifest the end of the phrase;
— very long pauses, which are used to separate phonetic wholes.
From the functional point of view there exist:
— syntactic pauses, which separate phonopassages, phrases, intona-
tion groups;
— emphatic pauses, which mark parts of the utterance especially
important for the speaker (She is the most ¦ talented actress I’ve
ever met ||);
— hesitation pauses, which are used in spontaneous speech to think
over what to say next; they may be silent (It’s rather a ... difficult
question ||) or filled (I’ll have to ... eeh ... think it over ||).
The changes of pitch, loudness and tempo are not accidental. They
are formalized in the abstracted set of intonation structures called intona-
tion patterns, which form the prosodic system of the English language.
Definite intonation patterns are actualized in real communicative situa-
tions with the help of intonation groups.
An intonation group is a word or a group of words characterized by
a certain intonation pattern complete from the point of view of meaning.
93
For example, the sentence ‘I suppose he’ll be here in a moment’ may be
divided in two intonation groups: ‘I suppose’ and ‘he’ll be here in a mo-
ment’.
The structure of an intonation pattern potentially includes the pre-
head, the head, the nucleus and the tail:
— the pre-head contains unstressed and half-stressed syllables pre-
ceding the head;
— the head includes syllables from the first stressed up to the last
stressed one;
— the nucleus is the last stressed syllable presenting the change in
the pitch direction;
— the tail consists of unstressed and half-stressed syllables follow-
ing the nucleus.
The boundaries of an intonation pattern are marked by complete stops
of phonation or temporal pauses.
The abovementioned structure of an intonation pattern may be further
grouped into two larger units:
1) The pre-nuclear part of the intonation pattern is formed with the
pre-head and the head.
It can present different variations of pitch patterns, which do not
usually affect the grammatical meaning of the utterance, but often
convey meanings associated with the speaker’s attitude. There are
three common types of prе-nuclear part:
— a descending type with the pitch level gradually descending to the
nucleus;
— an ascending type with the ascending sequence of syllables;
— a level type with the syllable set of approximately the same pitch
level.
2) The terminal part of the intonation pattern consists of the nucleus
and the tail.
It is the most significant part of the intonation pattern which deter-
mines the nuclear tone and the pitch level of the rest of the utterance. The
set of English nuclear tones includes five widely used common tones
94
(Low Fall, High Fall, Low Rise, High Rise, Fall-Rise), and three optional
tones (Rise-Fall, Rise-Fall-Rise, Mid-Level).
It’s important to mention, that every part of the intonation pattern
besides the nucleus is considered to be optional.
For example, let us consider the importance of sentence parts in the
following dialogue:
Who’s done it? — Well, that’s Jack actually.
It is obvious that in the second sentence of the dialogue the nucleus
‘Jack’ is the only part of the intonation group which is really informative.
All other parts (the pre-head ‘well’, the head ‘that’s’, the tail ‘actually’)
can be omitted in real speech, because they are not necessary for under-
standing the meaning.

§ 5. Methods of indicating intonation

The best way of representing intonation in the text is the system of


special symbols:
— level arrows which indicate the starting point of the head (→);
— superscript line signs representing stressed syllables (');
— interlinear line signs representing half-stressed syllables (ı);
— downward and upward arrows or slants which indicate the nu-
cleus (\);
— vertical bars indicating syntactic pauses ( || or | );
— wavy bars indicating emphatic or hesitation pauses (¦).
The abstract notation of intonation is usually presented by the system
of tonograms with dots, dashes and slash marks which are put at the nec-
essary pitch level:
— two parallel horizontal lines (staves) represent the range of human
voice;
— dashes represent a level tone of stressed syllables (─);
— dots represent unstressed syllables (·);
95
— downward and upward curves represent the final nuclear tone;
— vertical bars indicate the temporal component (|| , | or ¦).
This representation is called ‘a stave’ or ‘a tonogram’.

§ 6. Functions of intonation

Intonation is an important means of human communication. On the


functional level intonation is studied as the list of its linguistic functions
and the ways of their differentiation.
One of the most developed classifications in foreign linguistics is
presented by D.Crystal, who distinguishes the following functions of
intonation:
— the emotional function, which serves to express attitudinal mean-
ing (interest, impatience, delight, irony, shock, anger, etc.);
— the grammatical function, which helps to identify certain gram-
matical structures in oral speech (statement, question, exclama-
tion, command);
— the informational function, which draws the listener’s attention to
the new information in an utterance with the help of the most
prominent tone;
— the textual function, which helps to contrast and organize mean-
ingful units larger than the sentence;
— the psychological function, which splits stretches of speech into
units that are easier to perceive and memorize;
— the indexical function, which serves an important marker of per-
sonal or social identity with the help of distinctive prosodic fea-
tures.
Russian linguists consider the functional aspect of intonation in a dif-
ferent way. Intonation is treated as a complex phenomenon with a ge-
neral function of communication. This communicative function of into-
nation is realized in the process of speech communication and serves:
— to structure the information content of a text and identify new
information;
96
— to determine the speech function of a phrase and indicate sentence
types;
— to convey attitudinal meaning (surprise, annoyance, etc.);
— to structure a text and organize smaller units (phrases, intonation
groups);
— to differentiate between the meaning of the units with the same
grammatical structure and lexical composition;
— to characterize a particular style of oral speech.
For the purposes of language teaching Russian phoneticians (M.A. So-
kolova, K.P. Gintovt, and others) define the following two main func-
tions of intonation as a powerful means of communication: the constitu-
tive and the distinctive ones.
1. The constitutive function characterizes intonation as an organizing
mechanism.
On the one hand, it delimitates texts into intonation groups with
a certain structure; on the other hand, it integrates intonation groups
when forming a complete text. A broad classification of intonation
patterns, different and specific in their nature, is singled out in every
language. Their material realization helps the speaker to construct the
utterance and enables the listener to perceive it.
2. The distinctive function of intonation helps to distinguish commu-
nicative types of sentences, the actual meaning of a sentence, the
speaker’s attitude to its contents and the style of the utterance.
The distinctive function of intonation is realized in the opposition of
the same word sequences which differ in certain parameters of the intona-
tion pattern.
For example, the meaning of the phrases: ‘If Tom calls let me know
at once’ and ‘If Tom calls let me know at once’ is easily distinguished
thanks to the opposition of different intonation patterns of the first intona-
tion groups. The first sentence means that a few people are expected to
call but it is Tom who interests the speaker; the meaning of the second
one is that no one else but Tom is expected to call.
The opposition in the pitch parameters of the sentences ‘I en\joyed it’
and ‘I en/joyed it’ shows the reserved attitude of the speaker in the first
97
case, and the attitude implying a continuation like ‘but it could have been
a lot better’ in the second one.

§ 7. The phonological aspect of intonation

The phonological (functional) aspect of intonation is studied by a


special branch of phonology called intonology. Numerous attemts to de-
scribe phonological facts of the intonation system in our country and
abroad show that there are far more questions here than in the field of
segmental phonology.
From the point of view of intonology all the constituents of an intona-
tion pattern form a complex system of abstract units. These phonological
units, just like phonemes, consist of a number of variants.
Let us consider this problem more carefully by the example of one of
the units of phonology.
The phonological tone units are called terminal tonemes. They con-
sist of a number of allotones: principal and subsidiary.
The principal allotone is realized in the nucleus — the most powerful
phonological unit that serves to distinguish the type of the sentence. For
example:
'Tom \called me. (statement)
'Tom /called me? (general question)
The subsidiary allotones get realization in the pre-head or in the tail
if there are any, for instance:
\
No.
\
No, Mary.
Oh, \no, Mary.
The number of terminal tones indicates the number of intonation
groups, which may be important for the meaning. Then the division of the
sentence in two or more intonation groups conveys different ideas.
For example, let us analyze the following sentence: ‘My partner who
went away on business last month has just arrived.’
The division in two intonation groups indicates that the speaker has
more than one business partners:
98
My partner who went away on business last month, | has just arrived ||.
The division in three intonation groups means that he’s the only busi-
ness partner:
My partner, | who went away on business last month, | has just arrived ||.
Terminal tones also identify the semantic centre of the utterance and
single out the information. For example, the unusual stress of form words
instead of content ones expresses the speaker’s feelings and attitudes:
I 'don’t \like him. (neutral)
I \don’t |like him. (annoyed)
Besides tonemes, the classification of phonological units constituting
intonation patterns includes other abstract units: intonemes, accentemes,
chronemes, etc. They also include variations.

§ 8. English rhythm

It’s impossible to describe English intonation without reference to


speech rhythm, because the interrelated prosodic components (pitch,
loudness, tempo) and speech rhythm are inseparably connected. Rhythm
makes up the framework of the spoken message.
A general term of ‘rhythm’ implies a regular recurrence of some phe-
nomenon in time. Speech production is naturally connected with the pro-
cess of breathing, it is conditioned by physiological factors and is charac-
terized by rhythm. Rhythm as a linguistic notion is realized in lexical,
syntactical and prosodic means, mostly in their combinations.
Speech rhythm is traditionally defined as a recurrence of stressed
syllables at more or less equal periods of time in a speech continuum.
The type of rhythm depends on the language. There are two types of
languages:
— syllable-timed languages (French, Spanish), based on the syllabic
structure;
— stress-timed languages (English, German, Russian), based on the
so-called ‘beats’ or ‘stress pulses’.
99
In syllable-timed languages the speaker gives approximately equal
period to each syllable no matter whether it is stressed or unstressed. This
produces the effect of even rhythm.
In stress-timed languages the effect of rhythm is based on units lar-
ger than syllable. The so-called ‘stress pulses’ follow each other in con-
nected speech at roughly equal periods of time no matter how many
stressed syllables are between them. Thus the distribution of syllables
within rhythmic groups is unequal and the regularity is provided by strong
‘beats’.
The more unstressed syllables there are after a stressed one, the
quicker they must be pronounced, for example:

One Two Three Four


One and Two and Three and Four
The
One and a Two and a Three and a Four
One and then a Two and then a Three and then a Four

The peculiarities of English rhythm implying the regular stress-timed


pulses of speech, create the abrupt effect of English rhythm. It has the
immediate connection with such phonetic phenomena as vowel reduction
and elision, placement of word-stress and sentence-stress.
The effect of English rhythm is also presupposed by the analytical
structure of the language. It explains greater prominence of notional words
and a considerable number of unstressed monosyllabic form words.
It is undoubtful that the most striking rhythmicality is observed in
poetry.

Seminar 7

1. Why is intonation viewed as a language universal?


2. What are the levels of studying intonation? What language aspects
do they comprise?
3. Discuss the priorities in the linguistic study of intonation in foreign
linguistics. Explain the essence of the theories by:
100
a) H. Sweet;
b) M. Halliday;
c) K. Pike;
d) D. Crystal.
4. Give your arguments for the definition of intonation suggested by
Russian linguists.
5. What is the difference between the terms ‘intonation’ and ‘prosody’?
6. Define the term ‘intonation pattern’. How is it related to the term
‘intonation group’?
7. What components form the structure of an intonation pattern?
8. What does the pitch component of intonation include?
9. What effect is achieved by variations in the direction of pitch?
10. What nuclear tones are distinguished in modern English? Which of
them do you think to be necessary for pronunciation teaching?
Why?
11. What other pitch parameters are important in modifying the contour
of an intonation pattern?
12. Characterize the loudness component of intonation. Suggest your
reasons for its connection with the pitch component.
13. What does the term ‘tempo’ imply? Explain the peculiarities of rate
and pausation.
14. How is the prosodic system of the English language formed and
actualized in the process of communication?
15. Speak on the structure of the intonation pattern.
16. Discuss the pre-nuclear and terminal parts of the intonation pattern.
Which has the greatest functional value? Why?
17. Which parts of the intonation pattern are optional? Give your rea-
sons.
18. What are the ways of representing intonation?
19. How is the functional aspect of intonation presented in foreign lin-
guistics?
101
20. What conception of the functional level of intonation is followed in
home linguistics?
21. State the value of the communicative function of intonation.
22. What functions of intonation are important for language teaching?
Characterize the role of these functions in the process of communi-
cation.
23. Suggest examples for the distinctive function of intonation.
24. Prove that intonation is a unit of phonology.
25. Give the classification of phonological units. Illustrate its main ideas
with the help of tonemes.
26. What is your understanding of intonation and its role in language
organization?
27. What types of rhythmic language organization do you know?
28. Speak on the peculiarities of English rhythm.

102
Lecture 8
STYLISTIC AND REGIONAL VARIETIES
OF ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION

§ 1. Spoken language as the object


of linguistic investigation

The ability to use language presupposes the existence of two forms of


it: spoken and written, which are different in origin and practice. Spoken
language is as old as mankind, written language is a comparatively recent
cultural development. Speaking is acquired without any specific formal
instruction. Writing as the symbolic representation of the language by
graphic signs must be taught and learned through a deliberate effort. Thus
the origin of the written language lies in the spoken one, but not the other
way round.
For a long time the linguistic research was based on the assumption
that only the written form of language can serve an object of theoretical
investigation. Written language usually has a generally accepted standard
which is the same throughout the country. The spoken form of the lan-
guage was considered not worthy of scientific analysis because of a great
number of distinctions from the literary norm. The understanding that the
language is not an isolated phenomenon, but the part of society, gave rise
to sociolinguistics and changed the approach to linguistic studies.
Nowadays different language phenomena are viewed as a tool of
communication and any linguistic system is explained in connection with
numerous extralinguistic factors. Spoken language, which presents regu-
lar variations greatly depending on non-linguistic factors, has thus be-
come a reliable object of linguistic investigation.
In the past years there appeared a great many of linguistic sciences
correlated with different variations of language use in connection with
social factors, such as functional stylistics, psycholinguistics, ethnolin-
103
guistics, anthropological linguistics, varianthology, and others. They can
study language phenomena within three levels: phonetic, lexical and
grammatical.
Speaking about phonetics it becomes obvious that pronunciation is by
no means homogeneous. It changes under the influence of numerous fac-
tors. The linguistic factors are studied in phonology, whereas the extra-
linguistic ones refer to other branches of phonetics which are linked with
sociolinguistic sciences.
The varieties of language phonetic means of different territoriality
conditioned by language communities ranging from small groups to na-
tions, are studied within phonovarianthology. The problems of different
styles of pronunciation are studied within phonostylistics. It analyses the
spoken form of language expression and deals with those phonetic means
used in some particular situations under the influence of a certain set of
extralinguistic factors.
It should be mentioned that problems of phonostylistics and phonovari-
anthology are thoroughly investigated in the book by M.A. Sokolova men-
tioned in the previous sections [19]. Here we’ll try to give a brief overview
of the main poins and add some new information on the subject.

§ 2. Territorial varieties
of English pronunciation

Territorial differentiation of any language is closely connected with


social and cultural conditions and becomes the basis of its division into
national variants and regional dialects. They are studied within rather a
young branch of linguistics — varianthology, which conducts language
research on the levels of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

2.1. National variants and regional accents


of the English language
Territorial differentiations in pronunciation of the language observed
in the speech of the whole nation are called national pronunciation
variants.
104
National variants of the language evolve from conditions of regional,
economic, political and cultural concentration which characterize the for-
mation of a nation. They may have considerable differences, but nume-
rous common features prove that they still belong to the system of one
and the same language. Speaking of English, there is a great diversity of
its spoken realizations in different regions of the world, particularly in
terms of pronunciation.
British English and American English prove to be the two main na-
tional variants of the English language. They serve the bases for all other
national variants in the English-speaking world. On the ground of politi-
cal, geographical and cultural unity the following two groups of national
variants may be distinguished:
1) the British-based group, including English English, Welsh Eng-
lish, Scottish English, Irish English, Australian English, New
Zealand English;
2) the American-based group, including United States English and
Canadian English.
Some foreign linguists (P. Trudgill, J. Hannah, A. Hughes, and others)
consider that Scottish English and Irish English stand apart from these two
groups. Russian phoneticians (M.A. Sokolova, K.P. Ghintovt, T.F. Leon-
tyeva, and others) suppose that English English, Welsh English, Scottish
English and Northern Irish English should be better combined into the
British English subgroup on the ground of political, geographical, cultural
unity which brought more similarities than differences for these pronun-
ciation variants.
Every national variant of the language falls into smaller regional dia-
lects, distinguished from each other by differences in pronunciation,
grammar and vocabulary.
The reference to pronunciation differences only presupposes the use
of the term ‘accent’. The two types of accents are usually distinguished:
— local accents, which reveal peculiarities in pronunciation used by
smaller language communities in a particular district;
— area accents, which unite common pronunciation features of seve-
ral local accents.
For certain extralinguistic reasons one of the dialects gradually be-
comes the standard language of the nation and its accent is acknowledged
105
as the standard pronunciation model. Still this standard is not homoge-
neous throughout the country and may have certain variations.
American English and British English have separated more than a cen-
tury ago. Nowadays these are the two most widely used national variants of
English, each of them possessing its own standards in all language systems.
It’s important to note that pronunciation standards are not perma-
nently fixed and undergo constant changes under the influence of various
internal and external factors. Teaching practice should follow the rules of
the most widely accepted pronunciation model.

2.2. British English


The term ‘British English’ is generally used nowadays as the syno-
nym of ‘English English’, the national variant used in England and con-
trasted to American English.
There are two groups of accents in English English, which may be
further divided into smaller groups of area accents, each of them consist-
ing of local accents.
1. The Southern accent group includes:
— Southern accents (Greater London, Cockney, Surray, Kent, Es-
sex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire);
— East Anglia accents (Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cam-
bridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire);
— South-West accents (Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wilt-
shire).
2. The Northern and Midland accent group includes:
— Northern accents (Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland);
— Yorkshire accents (North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South
Yorkshire);
— North-West accents (Lancashire, Cheshire);
— West Midland accents (Birmingham, Wolverhampton).
In the course of language development London local accent became
the pronunciation standard in the 19th century. It was acknowledged as the
106
Received Pronunciation (RP). The use of this pronunciation type
marked the speaker as the representative of high society. For a long time
RP has been referred to as “King’s (Queen’s) English”, it characterized
the speech of aristocracy and the court. The spread of education gradu-
ally modified the characteristics of this accent in the direction of social
standards. Received Pronunciation was taught at public schools and used
in the best society by cultured people. It has become a social marker, a
prestigeous accent of an educated Englishman. Nowadays only about 5%
of the population in Britain speaks RP, though it is still regarded as a
conservative model for correct pronunciation, particularly for educated
formal speech.
The wide distribution of radio and television caused considerable
changes in the sound system of the present-day English, and there ap-
peared a new pronunciation model — the ВВС English. This is the pro-
nunciation of professional BBC newsreaders and announcers. It is based
on RP, but also takes into consideration modern linguistic situation and
thus becomes more flexible and true-to-life. Moreover, the wide spread
audio-visual means of mass communication make it accessible to general
public. The last edition of English Pronouncing Dictionary fixes the BBC
accent as the most broadly-based pronunciation model accent for modern
English.
The remarkable systemic modifications in the standard can be men-
tioned both in the vowel and consonant systems in the course of the last
century.
I. Vowel changes include the following:
1. increasing diphthongization of the historically long vowels [i:] and
[u:];
2. frequent lengthening of a historically short vowel [æ];
3. gradual monophthongization of some diphthongs:
— [au], [aı] followed by neutral [ǩ] are smoothed (power [pauǩ] →
[paǩ], fire [faıǩ] → [faǩ]);
— [oǩ], [uǩ] are pronounced like long [o:] or short [ɔ] with an [ǩ]-
shade (poor [puǩ] → [po:]/[pɔǩ]);
— [εǩ] is levelled to long [ǩ:] (careful [‘kεǩful] → [‘kǩ:ful]);
107
4. mutual vowel interchanges:
— between diphthongs [ou] and [ǩu] (phone [foun]/[fǩun], note
[nout]/[nǩut];
— between monophthongs [æ] and [a] (have [hæv]/[hav], dance
[dans]/[dæns]).
II. Consonant changes include the following:
1. gradual loss of the voiced/voiceless distinctions in certain positions:
— increasing devoicing of final voiced stops (dog [dog] → [dok],
cab [kæb] → [kæp]);
— voicing of intervocalic [t] (letter ['letǩ] → ['ledǩ]);
2. loss of final [ŋ] and initial [h] in rapid speech (He saw her sitting there
[hi· →so: hз· 'sıtıŋ ðεǩ] → [i: →so: з· 'sıtın ðεǩ];
3. wide usage of typical elements of the American pronunciation:
— dark [l] instead of [l] (believe [bı'lıv] → [bı'lıv]);
— palatalized [k] in final positions (quick [kwık] → [kwık’]);
— linking and intrusive [r] (farzaway, the ideazof);
III. Combinative changes generally concern the pronunciation of [j]
in certain phonetic contexts, which include:
— loss of [j] before [u:] (student ['stju:dnt] → ['stu:dnt], suit [sju:t]
→ [su:t]), sometimes accompanied with palatalization of the pre-
vious consonant (Tuesday ['tju:zdı] → ['t∫u:zdı]);
— intrusion of [j] before [u:] after [l] (illuminant [ı'lu:mınǩnt] →
[ı'lju:mınǩnt]);
— change of [j] by other sounds in original combinations [tj], [dj],
[sj] (factual ['fæktjuǩl] → ['fækt∫uǩl], graduate ['grædjuǩıt] →
['græʤuǩt], issue ['isju:] → ['i∫u:].
Other combinative changes gradually follow the general tendencies
of assimilation and reduction.
These are variations which get systemic representation in modern
British English pronunciation. There are also non-systemic variations in
standard pronunciation which appear in different accents, but they are too
numerous and need a separate consideration.
108
2.3. American English
The development of American English began with the settlement of the
first British colonists in the North American continent. In the course of its
formation American English has undergone the influence of many other lan-
guages spoken by the Native Americans (the Indians), by the immigrants
from Ireland, Spain, France, Holland, Germany, by the Negroes. Nowadays
the impact of Spanish and Chinese is easily felt in American English.
As for American pronunciation, it’s not homogeneous at all. The
three main regional types of pronunciation are distinguished: eastern,
southern and western.
1. The Eastern type is spoken in New England and New York. It re-
sembles Southern accents of British English and includes:
— the cases of linking and intrusive [r];
— initial [hw] (which [hwıt∫]);
— monophthongization of diphthongs with [ǩ]-glide (fierce [fıǩs] →
[fi:s]).
2. The Southern type is spoken in Southern and South-Eastern states and
is characterized by a specific Southern drawl. It is a vowel drawl,
which causes:
— diphthongization of pure monophthongs (egg [eg] → [eig], yes
[jes] → [jeis]);
— monophthongization of original diphthongs (eight [eıt] → [ε:t],
drain [dreın] → [drε:n]).
3. The Western type is spoken in Western and central Atlantic states. It
is characterized by the so-called ‘Western burr’. This phenomenon
includes:
— the pronunciation of retroflexed vowels with r-colouring in the
middle of the word (bird [bǩ:rd], worm [wǩ:rm], first [fǩ:rst], card
[ka:rd], port [po:rt]);
— the pronunciation of retroflexed [r] in the final position (far [far],
here [hıǩr]).
A.D. Schweitzer offers to divide these types of pronunciation into 2 groups
on the basis of the presence or absence of the Western burr. These are:
109
— the non-rhotic group pronounced without Western burr, which
includes the Eastern and Southern types of pronunciation;
— General American pronunciation with Westen burr, which in-
cludes the Western type of pronunciation.
Some linguists treat General American (GA) as a standard pronun-
ciation type, because it is spoken by the majority of Americans. It is true
that GA is used in the states, which constitute about 90% of all the terri-
tory of the USA. It is also frequently heard from professional voices on
national media (radio, television, movies, CDs, etc.).
But many linguists state that no dialect can be singled out as an Ame-
rican standard, because different types of pronunciation are constantly
mixed and even professionally trained speakers retain their regional pro-
nunciation features.
The peculiar situation with the absence of the codified pronunciation
standard is intensified with the specific status of the English language in
the USA. It is not fixed in the Federal Constitution as the official lan-
guage of the United States, though it really is.
Still American pronunciation is different from RP. American English
possesses a set of systemic peculiarities both among the segmental and
suprasegmental units.
The segmental peculiarities include:
1. Specific pronunciation of vowel phonemes:
— absence of clear distinction between short and long vowels (sit/
seat [sı·t], pull/pool [pu·l];
— existence of only 5 diphthongs, compared to 8 in RP — [eı], [aı],
[oı], [au], [ou], while other diphthongs are treated as biphonemic
combinations;
— rhotic pronunciation of vowels before [r] in all positions (turn
[tǩ:rn], star [sta: r]);
— ‘nasal twang’ — nasalization of vowels preceded or followed by
nasal consonants (stain, small, name, stand, time, any, make);
— pronunciation of [æ] instead of [a] before a consonant or a cluster
(class, after, path, dance, plant, grass, bath, half);
— pronunciation of [a] instead of [o] (dog, body, shot, hot) and a
complete loss of long [o:] (cot [kat] vs. caught [kot]);
110
— monophthongization of diphthongs and diphthongization of
monophthongs, including the reverse pronunciation of [ı] and [aı]
(civilization [ sıvılı'zeı∫n] → [ sıvılaı'zeı∫n], direct [dı'rekt] →
'
[daı'rekt], specialization '
[ spe∫ıǩlı'zeı∫n] → [ spe∫ıǩlaı'zeı∫n]; si-
'
multaneous [ sımǩl'teınjǩs] → [ saımǩl'teınjǩs]);'
' '
2. Specific pronunciation of consonant phonemes:
— loss of [t] after [n] in the middle of the word (twenty ['twenı],
wanted ['wonıd], winter ['wınǩ]);
— flapping — pronunciation of [t] like [d] in the intervocalic posi-
tion and before [l] (bitter, battle, little);
— existence of only dark shade of [l] (look [źuk], lamp [źæmp], luck
[ź∧k]);
— omittance of [j] between a consonant or a vowel [u:] (news [nu:z],
tube [tu:b], during ['du:rıŋ]).
The supra-segmental peculiarities generally concern word stress and
include:
— placement of stress on the final syllable instead of the initial one
in words of French origin (ballet [bæ'leı]);
— placement of stress on the first element in compound words
('weekend, 'hotdog);
— existence of tertiary stress in polysyllabic words with suffixes
-ory, -ary, -mony (laboratory ['læbrǩ torı], secretary ['sekrǩ tǩrı],
ceremony ['serǩ monı]). ' '
'
American intonation patterns on the whole are similar to those of RP.
The differences generally convey emotional and attitudinal meaning. For
example, the intonation contour of a general question is neutral if it is
used in RP. In General American it conveys the meaning of surprise or
reserved curiosity:
I’ve ordered some oysters for dinner. — Do you /like them?

2.4. Spread of English


Nowadays the English language is spoken all over the world. The
process of modern intercultural relations demands the use of English as
111
the language of world communication. This results in constant interrela-
tion of English with other world languages. That’s why linguists state that
new variants of English appear in the countries which originally do not
belong to the English-speaking ones.
The present-day linguistic research data show that besides Australian
English, Canadian English, New Zealand English, certain regular pecu-
liarities can be found in the so-called Indian English, South African Eng-
lish and other languages. Some scientists even speak about such variants
as Japanese English, Mexican English or Russian English, which appear
because of contemporary globalization processes. The possibility to treat
these variations as national variants of English is hotly debated in modern
linguistics and it needs further consideration.
Speaking about Russian English the linguists of this trend use the
term ‘Ruslish’. They state that it is possible to mention certain systemic
modifications of segmental and supra-segmental units of English in the
speech of Russian users of this language.
In case of phonetics, there are typical mistakes usually made by most Rus-
sian speakers both on segmental and suprasegmental levels. For example:
— dental articulation of consonants instead of the apical one (tree [t]
→ [т], day [d] → [д]);
— devoicing of voiced sounds at the end of the word (standard
['stændǩt]);
— absence of secondary stress in polysyllabic words (six'teen);
— use of rising intonation instead of falling one in detached special
questions (Where’s my /book?).
These peculiarities have a tendency to fix in the speech of Russian
people because of the influence of the native language.
The problem is whether to treat them as phonetic mistakes or as mani-
festations of a new rising variant of the English language. This question
is still awaiting its solution.

§ 3. Stylistic varieties of English pronunciation


The same word or a sequence of words may be pronounced quite dif-
ferently by different speakers under different circumstances. Thus in
112
rapid colloquial speech the conjuction and is frequently pronounced like
[n], but the same word might be pronounced like [ǩnd] in slow everyday
speech or even like [ænd] in a careful serious conversation. In other
words, the pronunciation of speech sounds is greatly determined by the
style of pronunciation. Stylistic variations of pronunciation are quite nu-
merous. They are studied within phonostylistics — a comparatively new
branch of linguistics which has links both with phonetics and stylistics.

3.1. Style-forming and style-differentiating factors


Phonostylistics explains the use of definite phonetic features in cer-
tain kinds of extralinguistic contexts, and helps to identify the segmental
and suprasegmental phenomena in order to classify them.
Special extralinguistic analysis shows that speech communication is
connected with the following three factors: the purpose, the participants
and the setting of communication. So the style of communication is de-
termined by these factors as well.

purpose of communication æ
participants of communication à style of communication
setting of communication ä

Any act of communication presupposes the presence of the speaker


and the listener, whose conversation arises from a certain topic and hap-
pens at a certain place. According to it they use different linguistic means
which result in stylistic variations. Thus the combination of different lin-
guistic and extralinguistic means depends on a number of factors on any
level of linguistic analysis including the phonetic one.
The style of speech can be analyzed from the point of view of style-
forming and style-differentiating factors. The difference between them is
that the first ones concern the production level, while the second ones
relate to the perception level.
I. The style-forming factors determine phonostylistic patterns used
on the part of the speaker. According to the degree of their significance
they may be divided into: proper style-forming, style-modifying, and in-
113
cidental factors. They are interdependent and show different phonetic
phenomena as a part of the whole system.
1. The the aim (purpose) of the utterance is the only style-forming factor
which sets the style of conversation.
It is presupposed by the type of activity (working, teaching, pub-
lic speaking, chatting, etc.) and its subject matter. These affect pro-
nunciation and make the speaker select functional phonetic means of
a certain phonostylistic pattern in order to realize the purpose more
effectively.
2. The style-modifying factors are considered to be less important, as
they cause modifications within the style set by the style-forming fac-
tor. They include:
— the speaker’s attitude to the situation realized in numerous intona-
tion varieties and reveals emotions of an individual;
— the form of communication: a monologue or a dialogue, which
need different phonetic organization and imply distinctions in
the possibility of interruption, continuity, ability to participate,
etc.;
— the degree of formality, that reflects the influence of social roles
and relationship on the distinction and precision of articulation;
— the degree of preparedness or spontaneity, which leads to diffe-
rences in the rate of speech and the number of hesitation pauses;
— the kind of speech activity: speaking or reading, presupposed by
the absence or presence of reference to a written text, which has
a decisive influence on the phonetic organization of the utte-
rance.
3. The incidental (concomitant) factors are characteristic of a language
user and cannot much influence on the choice of style.
These are the speaker’s individual characteristics, the temporal
limits of the utterance, the social status, the sex and age of the speaker.
They are not deliberately chosen in the act of communication and are
generally considered to be informative.
II. The style-differentiating factors are revealed on the part of the
listener when interpreting the style of a given utterance. The variations of
114
the following characteristics are the first to attract attention: the speech
tamber, delimitation and accentuation of semantic centers.
1. Speech tamber is a special voice colouring, which shows the speaker’s
attitude to the situation of communication. Its interpretation is usually
combined with non-verbal communication markers, like movements
of face or body parts.
2. Delimitation refers to the number, length and character of pauses.
They divide an oral text into larger units, like phonopassages in
monologues or semantic blocks in dialogues. These are furtheron di-
vided into smaller units, like phrases and intonation groups. Thus the
emotional state of the speaker and his preparedness to the conver-
sation are revealed.
3. Accentuation of semantic centers denotes a special prominence given
to the parts of the utterance which the speaker supposes to have a
considerable functional value. They are contrasted with the help of
intonation and the degree of contrast serves the marker of the style.
All in all, phonetic factors realized in different styles include su-
prasegmental variations of pitch direction, pitch range, pitch level, loud-
ness, tempo (by means of pauses and speech rate), rhythm and positional
modifications of segmental phonemes. But it’s necessary to remember
that realization of these phonetic variations is exercised only together
with lexical and grammatical ones in the process of oral transmission of
ideas by verbal means.

3.2. Classification of phonetic styles


There is no generally accepted classification of phonetic styles. Still
it is possible to distinguish the main approaches to this classification.
I. Some linguists try to unite the classification of phonetic styles with
that of functional styles. For instance, S.M. Gaiduchic distinguishes the
following styles of pronunciation: solemn, scientific business, official
business, everyday, familiar. These phonetic styles correlate with func-
tional styles of the language differentiated on the basis of different spheres
of discourse.
115
But there are certain lacks in this approach, because oral texts referred
to different functional styles may have identical phonetic features. Thus,
an extract from a piece of prose or an advertisement does not reveal any
phonostylistic differences if read aloud with the same pragmatic aim.
II. Another group of phoneticians suggests that the classification of pro-
nunciation styles should be based on different degrees of formality and fami-
liarity between the speaker and the listener. For example, J.A. Dubovsky
suggests the following phonetic styles: informal ordinary, formal neutral,
formal official, informal familiar, declamatory.
The degree of familiarity may be also combined with the number of
listeners. Thus, L.V. Shcherba suggests the existence of only two styles of
pronunciation: the colloquial style characteristic of people’s quiet talk, and
the full style used in distinct public speech. On the same basis A.D. Jones
distinguishes: the rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the
natural style addressed to a fair-sized audience, the acquired style of the
stage, and the acquired style of singing.
The theories stated above are suitable for presenting texts for descrip-
tion and analysis, but they still don’t create a symmetrical classification
of speech acts.
III. A different view is presented by the linguists, who consider the
problem of phonostylistic classification in connection with style-forming
factors. For instance, M.A. Sokolova singles out five intonational styles
according to the purpose of communication: informational style, aca-
demic (scientific) style, publicistic style, declamatory style, conversational
(familiar) style. The use of each of these styles results in evident varia-
tions of suprasegmental phonetic units.
This approach makes up a rather adequate system of phonostylistic
varieties, but still differentiation of intonation according to the purpose of
communication is not enough. There are other factors that affect intona-
tion in various situations. Moreover, the changes of the segmental units
are not clearly defined.
It’s possible to say that the question of phonostylistic classification is
still open in modern linguistics, as the peculiarities of different styles of
pronunciation have not yet been sufficiently investigated. But no matter
which classification is taken into account, it’s always necessary to remem-
ber that any style is seldom realized in its pure form. Every oral text presents
a fusion of styles and includes different phonostylistic characteristics.
116
Seminar 8

1. State the difference between the spoken and written language


forms.
2. Can spoken language be the object of theoretical investigation?
Why? / Why not?
3. What factors influence pronunciation?
4. Define the object of phonovarianthology.
5. What is your idea of the national variant of a language? How do they
appear?
6. What groups of national variants of the English language are distin-
guished? List variants included into each of them. Name the most
widely used national variants of English.
7. What is meant by the terms ‘dialect’ and ‘accent’? What types of
accents do you know?
8. How can you define the term ‘national pronunciation standard’?
Give reasons for the fact that it is not homogeneous.
9. Speak about the origin and development of RP. Is it relevant nowa-
days?
10. Prove that the BBC English can be considered a new pronunciation
model. What factors caused its appearance?
11. What components of the pronunciation system of English are sub-
jected to changes? Give an account of:
a) the main changes in vowels;
b) the main changes in consonants;
c) combinative changes.
12. What types of American pronunciation are distinguished? Explain
the peculiarities of each type.
13. Give arguments pro and contra the treatment of GA as a standard
pronunciation type in American English.
117
14. Comment on the main peculiarities of American pronunciation. Dis-
cuss specific features in:
a) vowel pronunciation;
b) consonant pronunciation;
c) placement of stress and intonation patterns.
15. Is it possible to consider certain peculiarities observed in the pro-
nunciation of foreign speakers as the rise of new variants of Eng-
lish? Explain your point of view.
16. What is the object of phonostylistics?
17. Name the main components of speech communication and prove
their interrelation.
18. State the difference between the style-forming and style-differenti-
ating factors.
19. Give the classification of style-forming factors. Which factor is the
most significant? Why?
20. Give an overview of other style-forming factors.
21. What variations do the style-differentiating factors imply? Give a
brief characterization.
22. Is it possible to determine the style of speech according to phonetic
variations only? Why? / Why not?
23. Speak about different classifications of phonetic styles. Discuss this
problem in connection with:
a) functional styles;
b) degrees of formality and familiarity;
c) style-forming factors.
24. Which of these classifications is the most relevant in your opinion?
Give your reasons.
25. Comment on the following statement: ‘any style is seldom realized
in its pure form’.

118
P A R T II

Practical Exercises

119
Exercise Block 1

#1. Write the 3rd person singular forms of the verbs and transcribe
them. State the connection of phonetics and grammar.
loves poil place tick
like put type rule
deny punish see touch
teach dig read rely

#2. Write the three forms of the verbs and transcribe them. Under-
line the interchanging vowel and consonant sounds. Prove that
phonetics is connected with grammar.
become drive kneel shake
bite feel lean shoot
build find leap sink
catch forgive lie spill
choose grind mean swear
creep hang ride throw
dig hide run wind

#3. Write the plural forms of the nouns and transcribe them. State
the connection of phonetics and grammar.
girl wife month leaf
cat dog mouse book
box goose boy tooth
woman house postman army
120
#4. Read the following sentences. Prove that phonetics is connected
with grammar through intonation.
1) I’m a journalist. — You are a journalist? — I’m really a profes-
sional!
2) As a matter of fact, I find this subject quite interesting.
3) Morning came at last; the rain fell again, and the wind howled.
4) What’s your opinion on this subject?
5) Betty went to school at 7.30. — Betty went to school? Oh, she
went to school so early!
6) It is a nice country house, quite perfect and pretty, very small and
plain, and well deserving a visit.
7) You see, I promised Ben to meet him.
8) He went by train and I went by bus, so he got there earlier and I
saw more of the country.
9) Do you expect to stay here for a long time?
10) Poodle? What poodle? Oh, that little creature! Like it? It’s yours!

#5. Read the words and word-combinations. Place the accent marks.
State the connection of phonetics and lexicology.
ability-to-pay — ability to pay early-warning — early warning
blueprint — blue print face-down — face down
bull’s-eye — bull’s eye heavy-weight — heavy weight
blackmail — black mail hot-house — hot house
cache-drive — cash drive mad-doctor — mad doctor
earles-penny — earl’s penny to redbook — red book

#6. Transcribe the following words. Find examples of conversion,


suffixation, and homonymy. Prove that phonetics is connected
with lexicology.
an abstract — to abstract to exhibit — exhibition
an object — to object to expect — expectation
121
a transfer — to transfer to converse — conversation
a present — to present to transform — transformation
an advice — to advise lead (руководство) — lead (свинец)
a breath — to breathe tear (разрыв) — tear (слеза)
a song — to sing row (ряд) — row (шум)
a house — to house bow (лук) — bow (поклон)

#7. Read the tongue-twisters. What sounds are used to create the effect
of alliteration? State the connection of phonetics and stylistics.
1) Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
If Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where is the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
2) Robert Rowley rolled a round roll around,
A round roll Robert Rowley rolled around;
Where’s the round roll Robert Rowley rolled around?
3) If one doctor doctors another doctor, does the doctor who doc-
tors the doctor doctor the doctor the way the doctor he is doctor-
ing doctors? Or does he doctor the doctor the way the doctor
who doctors doctors?
4) Sudden swallows swiftly skimming,
Sunset’s slowly spreading shade,
Silvery songsters sweetly singing
Summer’s soothing serenade.

#8. Read the rhymes. What effect is achieved by the phenomena of


rhythm, rhyme, and alliteration? Prove that phonetics is con-
nected with stylistics.
1) On the grass, in the park, he is playing, he is playing.
On the grass, in the park, he is playing la-la-la.
On the grass, in the park, she is skipping, she is skipping.
On the grass, in the park, she is skipping la-la-la.
2) Hickety, pickety, my black hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen;
122
Sometimes nine, and sometimes ten.
Hickety, pickety, my black hen!
Cock-a-doodle-do!
3) Shoo, fly, don’t bother me, shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
Shoo, fly, don’t bother me, for I belong to somebody.
I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star,
I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.
4) Rain, rain, rain, April rain,
You are feeding seed and grain,
You are raising plants and crops
With your gaily sparkling drops.

#9. Read the following poems. Comment on the use of highlighted


words. What effect do they create?
1) A Dictionary’s where you can look things up
To see if they are really there:
To see if what you breathe is Air,
If what you sit on is a Chair,
If what you comb is curly Hair,
If what you drink from is a Cup.
A Dictionary’s where you can look things up
To see if they are really there.
2) It’s funny how often they say to me, ‘Jane?
Have you been a good girl?’
‘Have you been a good girl?’
And when they have said it, they say it again,
‘Have you been a good girl?’
‘Have you been a good girl?’
I go to a party, I go out to tea,
I go to an aunt for a week at the sea,
I come back from school or from playing a game;
Wherever I come from, it’s always the same:
‘Well? Have you been a good girl, Jane?’
It’s always the end of the loveliest day:
123
‘Have you been a good girl?’
‘Have you been a good girl?’
I went to the Zoo, and they waited to say:
‘Have you been a good girl?’
‘Have you been a good girl?’
Well, what did they think I went there to do?
And why should I want to be bad at the Zoo?
And should I be likely to say if I had?
So that’s why it’s funny of Mummy and Dad,
This asking and asking, in case I was bad,
‘Well? Have you been a good girl, Jane?’

#10. Read the following poem. Comment on the peculiarities of the


words in bold. Can you read them correctly? Prove the connec-
tion of phonetics with other linguistic sciences.
You probably already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough.
Some may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, plough and through.
Beware of heard, an awkward word:
It looks like beard but sounds like bird!
Watch out for meat and great and threat;
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose,
But watch that ‘s’ in goose and choose!
It’s cork but work, and card but ward;
And font but front, and word but sword;
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language, full of tricks?
I mastered it when I was six...

#11. Make sure that you remember all organs of speech. Indicate
the corresponding parts of the sound producing mechanism in
the following pictures:
124
1) Power mechanism

2) Vibration, resonator and obstruc-


tion mechanisms

125
Exercise Block 2

#1. Read and transcribe the following groups of words. Compare


the contrasted consonant phonemes.
rip — rib, tap — tab; live — life, save — safe;
bet — bed, sight — side; said — zed, racing — raising;
dog — dock, bug — buck; rich — ridge, search — surge;
verse — worse, vet — wet; sun — sung, ran — rung.

#2. Read and transcribe the following words. State the difference in
corresponding paired consonant allophones.
pork — rope fork — corn chance — cheese
bark — robe drive — vim just — gist
side — done they — bathe dim — lamp
set — ton his — zone tin — sent
dog — gone rouge — genre sing — sink
all — leave right — trap when — twelve

#3. Read and transcribe the following pairs of words. Do the dis-
criminative sounds present different phonemes or variants of
the same phoneme? Prove your opinion.
main — mine buck — book bill — pill tie — fie
cart — caught got — hot bad — bed buy — die
chin — tin pole — pearl kit — fit money — honey
page — cage ban — bang tool — pull kiss — case
choice — voice word — ward bid — bead believe — belief

#4. Read the following pairs of words. Transcribe them, paying


attention to the highlighted letters. Do the corresponding
126
sounds present different phonemes or allophones? Explain
your point of view. Which variant do you consider to be prin-
cipal? Why?
fly — roof thorn — eighth dweller — doer
tree — ray scream — say blow — bottle
sweat — wait fat — tame past — happen

#5. State whether the mistakes are phonological or phonetic. Prove


your opinion with the help of examples. Consider the follow-
ing:
1) in articulation and speech perception errors [w] is replaced
by [v];
2) in articulation and perception errors [h] is replaced by the Rus-
sian [х];
3) in articulation and speech perception errors [θ, ð] are replaced
by [s, z];
4) in the initial position before a vowel aspirated [p, t, k] are re-
placed by non-aspirated ones;
5) in articulation and perception errors [t, d] are replaced by the
Russian [т, д];
6) in articulation and perception errors [r] is replaced by the Rus-
sian [р];
7) in the final position the ‘dark’ shade of [l] is replaced by the ‘clear’
variant;
8) in articulation and speech perception errors [θ, ð] are replaced by
[f, v].

#6. Give the phonemic transcription of the following words and


word-combinations. Try to give allophonic transcriptions. Com-
ment on the peculiarities of the specified sounds.
127
— [k]: thick, cat, cask, a black cap;
— [l]: dull, light, lure;
— [p]: park, play, ape, a cold pie;
— [n, ð]: go on, no way, on the shelf, this time;
— [r]: ripe, far, war and peace.

#7. Use the procedure of commutation test for the following words.
Find minimal pairs with different meaning. State the type of
phonological opposition in each case.
kite but bat
time show veil
bake pit tea

#8. Read the following pairs of words. Transcribe the sounds cor-
responding with the letters in bold. State the number of phono-
logical oppositions in every pair.
pool — pull far — four
bay — may fast — vast
pay — they my — may
pay — bay seat — seem
chop — top fit — feet

Exercise Block 3

#1. Make sure that you remember all English consonant phonemes.
Fill in the following table.
128
degree of noise noise consonants sonorants
occlusive-
occlusive constrictive
manner of articulation constrictive occlusive constrictive
(plosives) (fricatives)
(affricates)

work of the vocal cords and force voiced voiceless voiced voiceless voiced voiceless
of articulation lenis fortis lenis fortis lenis fortis

bilabial

labial
labio-dental

interdental

129
alveolar

post-alveolar

forelingual

lingual
palato-

place of articulation
alveolar

palatal
mediolingual

backlingual velar

glottal
position of the soft palate oral nasal oral
#2. Write down a complete description of every English consonant
phoneme. Enclose in brackets the characteristics, which are not
phonologically relevant.
Example: [p] noise, occlusive, plosive, bilabial (voiceless), fortis,
(oral).
[b] noise, occlusive, plosive, bilabial (voiced), lenis,
(oral).

#3. Read and transcribe the following words with occlusive fortis
stops. Observe different degrees of aspiration.
port paper cart school
cut talk top proper
poker pit cost take
speech stop poke porter
cook poor taxi bat

#4. Read and transcribe the following pairs of words. Avoid palata-
lization of initial plosives and fricatives. Observe slight palata-
lization of affricates before front vowels.
part — peel cart — key thus — theme
guest — game bag — big chose — cheese
tooth — teeth far — feet chest — chin
door — day hut — heat just — gist

#5. Read the following groups of words. Mind full voicing of initial
and intervocalic plosives and fricatives. Observe their partial
devoicing in final position.
veal — cover — dove
that — mother — with
zebra — bosom — doze
giraffe — pleasure — garage
bad — rubber — mob
dig — lady — bed
goal — eager — bag
130
#6. Read the following words and give their broad and narrow tran-
scription. Make distinctions between dark [l] in final positions
and before consonants, and light [l] before vowels and [j].
let leave help
tell fall value
all silk salt

#7. Read the following groups of words. Give their broad and narrow
transcription. Observe longer pronunciation of nasal sonorants in
final positions, before voiced consonants and vowels. Keep the
usual shorter pronunciation before voiceless consonants.
sing — singing — sink
sun — sunny — send — sent
dim — lambs — mole — lamp
men — mend — many — meant
long — longer — think
#8. Read the following pairs of words. Transcribe the opposed
sounds. Discuss their relevant features.
bet — bed ten — men
make — mate tale — sale
can — cat tan — pan
tame — lame tin — bin
tool — fool teal — veal
#9. Make sure that you remember English vowel phonemes. Fill in
the following table.
horizontal movements of the tongue
vertical variations in the
front- back-
movements of height of vertical front central back
retracted advanced
the tongue movements
narrow variant
close (high)
broad variant
narrow variant
mid (half-open)
broad variant
narrow variant
open (low)
broad variant

131
#10. Write down a complete description of every English vowel pho-
neme. Enclose in brackets the characteristics, which are not
phonologically relevant.
Example: [ı] front-retracted, close, broad variant, (unrounded,
short) monophthong.
[i:] front, close, narrow variant, (unrounded, long)
diphthongoid.
[eı] diphthong, the nucleus is front, mid, narrow vari-
ant (unrounded).

#11. Read the following groups of words. Give their broad and nar-
row transcription. State differences in vowel length, tenseness
and checkness of corresponding vowels. Say if they are relevant
for phonological distinctions.
pity — pig — pit bore — bored — bought
bed — bet look — good
sad — sat mud — cut
car — card — cart fur — firm — first
mog — mock away — teacher
see — seed — seat go — goal — goat
who — soon — soup how — howl — house
lay — laid — late here — real — fierce
tie — tied — tight care — scared — scarce
toy — toys — voice cure — cured

#12. Read the following pairs of words. Transcribe the opposed


sounds. What makes them allophones of different pho-
nemes?
bun — boon pill — peel
can — corn bed — bid
bat — bet such — search
132
Exercise Block 4

#1. Read the following words. Say what type of sound juncture is
affected. Classify types of consonant modifications. Mark them
with the help of corresponding signs.
try rotten team sixths
fried burden sit sty
press symphony miss Spain
tree John’s pit sky
small thanks tip twice
snake moon feet sweater
dry who hit question
draw cool cheese playing
horseshoe tall leap staying
cattle bar lie bark
little meet punch cargo

#2. Comment on the type of vowel modifications in the following


words. Give their phonetic notation.
laboratory peal
conceive pit
pea me
man sing
#3. Comment on the type of sound modifications at word bounda-
ries. Arrange them into several groups. Give the phonetic nota-
tion of sound modifications.
at the great trouble mashed potatoes
said that bad desk kept quiet
at rest cold pan slammed the door
at once black cat thin one
133
thank you cold pie that one
could you at last wrong one
in case come from rounding
big bag in fact for a month
big bat already for me

#4. Speak about possible combinative and positional changes in the


following sentences. Explain the reasons for their use.
Some of the boys drink a pint of milk every day.
You won’t believe this!
Perhaps I should go.
There are lots of books.
Oh, I like it!
My thigh and my arm still hurt.
Do you have it in mind?
You’re so brave!
Jack could’ve apologized.
It’d be difficult.

#5. Read and transcribe the following poems. Find and explain cases
of sound modifications. Mark them with the help of correspon-
ding signs.
1) Spring is here,
The glorious spring,
When young lams gamble
And little birds sing.
The fields are all green,
The trees are in bud.
Away with the snow
The rain and the mud.
2) On top of a bus in spring time,
Along the country lane,
The trees all bright with blossom,
I hear the bird refrain.
134
I see a field where lambs play,
And peeping through the grass
The little yellow primroses
Nod their petals their path.
Yes, spring time is the best time,
Everything is so gay ...
As over the hill and down the lane
The bus goes on its way.

#6. Classify the following examples of vowel alternations. Tran-


scribe the alternated phonemes.
mean — meant — meant take — took — taken
dig — dug — dug sit — set
write — wrote — written rise — raise
sing — sang — sung fall — fell
wear — wore — worn feast — festive
hide — hid — hidden long — length
speak — spoke — spoken wise — wisdom
know — knew — known hot — heat
give — gave — given courage — courageous
get — got — got stable — stability
teach — taught — taught nation — national

#7. Group the following examples of consonant alternations. Tran-


scribe the alternated phonemes.
send — sent advice — advise
lend — lent house — house
use — use important — importance
defence — defend loose — to lose
intent — intend close — to close
speak — speech a device — to devise
135
#8. Find and transcribe the alternated vowel and consonant phonemes.
Give your own examples of vowel + consonant alternations.
live — life
bath — bathe
breath — breathe
loss — lose

#9. Read and transcribe the following instances of historical eli-


sion. Underline the elided sounds. Add some more examples of
your own.
write fasten column
know soften lamb
gnat whistle sword
listen castle debt

Exercise Block 5

#1. Define the syllabic type and structure of the following words.
Underline the peak of the syllable.
ear clench spray
mat twists at
must strength act
place pie asks
spleen play texts

#2. Read the following words. Define the structure of syllables,


which consist of consonants. Mark the syllabic sonorant.
cable adjacent
sudden bundle
freedom pupils
136
#3. Divide the following words into three groups. Work out the rules
determining a syllable boundary for each group. Identify the
syllable boundary.
farther abduct finish
mother dreamer beloved
answer drummer lady
baby afraid scanner
beggar corner admire

#4. Comment on the difference in syllable division of the following


English and Russian words.
bigger — бегом coffee — кофе
model — модель motto — моток
runner — рано liver — ливер
medal — медаль Philip — филин
sachet — саше bitter — бито

#5. Study the following sentences. Find meaningful oppositions. De-


tect the realization of the phonological function of syllable divi-
sion.
The gentleman with a black tie has a blacked eye.
I scream whenever I take very cold ice-cream.
At all our evening parties a tall boy invited Jill to dance.
Whenever rain falls, we never have umbrellas.

#6. Study the following examples of open juncture. Turn them into
those with close juncture. Transcribe both examples and mark
them with [+].
an ice house — a nice house plum pie — plump eye
it slips — its lips fine day — find A
keep sticking — keeps ticking a name — an aim
one zone — one’s own my claim — Mike lame
137
#7. Separate the following words in orthography if it is possible. Use
the rules for syllable separation.
agreeable plumber
bored submit
writing shopgirl
brotherhood mosaic
desks swiftly
overcome postman

Exercise Block 6

#1. Compare the accentual structure of English and Russian words


given below. Prove the necessity of word-stress for language
learning.
articulation — артикуляция
sentimentality — сентиментальность
organization — организация
distribution — дистрибуция
temperamental — темпераментный
illumination — иллюминация
antagonistic — антагонистический
nationalization — национализация

#2. Accent the following polysyllabic words with two or three de-
grees of stress. Show the differences between British and Ame-
rican pronunciation models.
accelerate justify adversary
testify economize oratory
memorize functionary abdicate
ceremony enumerate nationalize
demonstrate verify legitimate
138
#3. Study the columns of the accentuation oppositions. Transcribe
and accent the words. What phonological functions of word
stress are realized? How is it connected with the phonemic com-
position of a word?
accent — to accent progress — to progress
addict — to addict forecast — to forecast
contrast — to contrast conflict — to conflict
record — to record abstract — to abstract
produce — to produce perfect — to perfect
increase — to increase patent — to patent

#4. Observe the realization of different types of the recessive ten-


dency in the following words. Put down accent marks and ex-
plain the origin of the words.
implore brother disdain expect
fellow chauffeur yellow enemy
submit renew persuade pretend
honour sister diplomat cattle
withdraw forget foresee husband
father saunter water refuse
review begin nourish restaurant
reason finger demand daughter
apart clinic clothes command

#5. Read the following words. Put down stress marks and state the
origin of words. Comment on the realization of rhythmical ten-
dency in English accentuation.
psychology satisfactory terrorist
umbrella stiletto violoncello
décolleté impression development
139
administration personal archaeology
characteristic infantile distance
parenthesis phenomenon volcano

#6. Examine the columns of derivative words. Transcribe the


words and put down accent marks. Explain the interrelation of
stress tendencies in modern English. State the connection of
word-stress, syllable structure and phonemic composition of a
word.
attitude — attitudinal palatalize — palatalization
organize — organization idiom — idiomatic
hospitable — hospitality abbreviate — abbreviation
atom — atomic benefit — beneficience
possible — possibility calculate — calculation
contribute — contribution active — activity

#7. Arrange the following words into three groups. Put down accent
marks. Comment on the distribution of stress.
chairman give in bad-tempered
ex-husband pre-packed wristwatch
narrow-minded farther-in-law intercultural
bathroom overdone watch out
twenty-eight short-sighted underfeed
irregular vice-president kind-hearted
before-mentioned fall down immortal
beat back misbehave pass over
girlfriend headache illiterate
good-looking well-informed baseball
inartistic sub-editor unknown
beamsman seventy-four ninety-five
140
ultramodern cupboard non-stop
radio-active antiseptic bring down

#8. Study the following accentuation oppositions of compound


words and word combinations. Speak about the distinctive func-
tion of word stress. Put down accent marks. Define each mem-
ber of the opposition.
broad-arrow — broad arrow
lighthouse — light house
narrow-band — narrow band
darkroom — dark room
beggar-my-neighbour — beggar, my neighbour
best-boat — best boat
call-birds — call birds
blue-jacket — blue jacket

#9. Read the following words and put down stress marks. Bring
together the facts you know about stress patterns of English
words. Assign the following words to the appropriate pattern
and make up a logical classification.
market proceed luxuriant international
total pronounce familiar misprint
grumble again location vice-admiral
mother aflame original over-serious
ready alike evaporate pre-heat
colour advise historian ultracritical
reason withdraw academy fortification
engine withhold political recognition
picture divide hard-working academician
refuge disturb light-blue patriotic
141
monitor fixate open-handed recommend
cinema dictate armchair originality
faculty surprise gas-stove composition
policy rely give up repetition
origin articulate go out constitution
symbolize biology get lost scientific
situate geometry non-final experimental
celebrate philosophy illegal accidental
clarify metallic immaterial nationality
therapist psychologist inoffensive hospitality
execute geography irrational CIS
institute photographer ex-president WHO
classroom efficient remake WTO
roundabout essential reorganize UNSC
oval-shaped habitual underdone OSCE
before courageous antiwar IMF
behave delicious subsection LSE

Exercise Block 7

#1. Pronounce the statements with a falling tone. Pay attention to


the position of the nucleus and to the stress of notional and func-
tional parts of speech. Intone the sentences.
1) This is a nice garden. — This isn’t a nice garden.
This is a nice garden. — This isn’t a nice garden.
2) They want to win a victory. — They don’t want to win a victory.
3) This is a crimson rose. — No, it isn’t. It is a white rose. That is
a crimson rose.
142
4) Becky likes wild violets. — No, you are wrong. She doesn’t like
wild violets. She likes garden violets.
5) Helen’s daughter is a doctor. Betty’s son isn’t a doctor. He is a
sailor.
#2. Read and intone the following sentences. Observe intonation of
enumeration.
1) June, July and August are summer months.
2) The dog is in the garden and the cat is on the chair.
3) I’m a part-time worker. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my
working days.
4) One, two, three, four, five
Tommy caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten
Johny let it go again.

#3. Pronounce the disjunctive questions with a corresponding into-


nation contour. Mind the stress of notional and functional parts
of speech. Intone the sentences.
1) The hat is on the shelf, isn’t it?
2) The cup isn’t on the table, is it?
3) These are cedars, aren’t these?
4) Those aren’t pines, are those?
5) You like this place, don’t you?
6) Jill won’t go to that party, will she?
7) The teacher praized my work, didn’t he?
8) Alice hasn’t got a dictionary, has she?

#4. Read and intone the sentences given below. Observe differences
in the intonation of general and special questions.
1) Is this a cotton dress? — No, it isn’t. It’s a synthetic one.
2) What is there in the bag? — It is a new collection of nursery
rhymes.
143
3) Do you really like her new style?! — I really do. She looks quite
nice.
4) Where is Mr. Blake? Is he in the park? — No, he isn’t. Mr. Blake
is at the Institute.
5) Whose things are these? — Tom’s. These are Tom’s things.
6) Will you put onions in the soup? — No, I won’t. I don’t like
onions. I’ll take a clove of garlic.
7) Who is that lean man? — That’s Roger. He’s been in hospital
for three weeks already.
8) How many guests are there at the party? — There are six of them.

#5. Read and intone the following sentences. Make distinctions in


the intonation of imperative and exclamatory sentences. Pay at-
tention to the position of the nucleus.
1) Don’t take the map. Take the textbook.
2) How cruel of them to leave the baby alone!
3) Don’t give a pen to Jane. Give it to me.
4) You are absolutely right! They shouldn’t have done that.
5) Be quick. Have some coffee and toast. We must be off in a
minute.
6) What a nice country house!
7) Meet my family. This is Mum and Dad.

#6. Intone and pronounce the alternative questions and answers to


them.
1) Is Canada in the South or in the North? — It is in the North.
2) Are they speaking Italian or Spanish? — I don’t know. I can’t
hear them quite well.
3) Is this old pit deep or shallow? Is that big field black or yellow?
4) Is this or that a new teacher? — Both are.
5) Is it a trumpet or a saxophone? — Neither. It’s an oboe.
144
#7. Read and intone the following sentences. Pay attention to the
intonation of parenthesis.
1) To tell the truth, I don’t like shopping.
2) “Everything,” said Tom, “will be all right.”
3) And now, boys, we can start a serious conversation.
4) “Will you accompany me?” she asked quietly.
5) You see, John is a trustworthy person.

#8. Define the communicative type of the sentences given below.


Read them with the appropriate intonation contour. State the
attitude conveyed in the sentence. Mark intonation in the text
and on the stave.
1) A lot of tulips grow in the garden.
2) How beautiful this room is!
3) Mr. Smith likes travelling, he has already visited Moscow, Paris,
Berlin, London and Tokyo.
4) Who is standing in the doorway?
5) Do you like fruit or vegetables?
6) Bring the book to me.
7) It isn’t a big mistake, is it?
8) Is the dress expensive?
9) You know, I don’t speak German at all.

#9. Read the following sentences. Make the words and phrases set
in italics sound emotional with the help of special nuclear tones.
Intone the sentences and state the attitude conveyed.
1) What are you going to do now? — What am I going to do...? I
don’t know yet.
2) I thought you two are going to marry. — No, you’re talking
nonsense!
3) Are you going to visit Mike in hospital? — Of course I will!
145
4) What an extraordinary piece of luck! To see Ben in a place like
this!

#10. Perform step-by-step phonetic analysis of the following sen-


tences.
1) All I need is a pensil, a ruler, a piece of wood, a saw, a hammer,
a couple of nails and a bit of common sense.
2) What a delicious pie! Who gave you the recipe?
3) This is a nice house which seems unexpectedly comfortable.
4) Of course, George sometimes rings me from overseas.
5) We all have to face difficulties sometimes.
6) You are as cunning as a fox. — Cunning? I’m as innocent as a
child!
7) The Sixty bus has gone already, hasn’t it? Well, never mind, I
can take Sixty Six.
8) Did he report on co-operatin or co-ordination?
9) Do you know Vince Burns? Someone called Vince Burns left
you a message.
10) Who are you going to the party with? Alan? I thought it woud
be Josh...

146
P A R T III

Suplementary Material

147
Supplement 1
Proverbs, sayings, tongue twisters

1. Vowel drills
[o:]
— Paul snores worse than a horse,
We close the door when he snores,
There ought to be laws to prevent such snores.
— Better unborn than untaught.
[ǩu]
— Don’t poke your nose in the things you don’t know.
— When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
— Ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies.
[au]
— Snow came in the night without a sound,
Like a white cloud trembling down to the ground.
— Out of sight, out of mind.
[aı]
— A stitch in time saves nine.
— Strike while the iron is hot.
[a:]
He laughs best who laughs last.
[ɔ]
— Honesty is the best policy.
— A little pot is soon hot.
— A watched pot never boils.
— Joy and sorrow are as near as today and tomorrow.
148
[∧]
— When your work is done, come out in the sun, and have
some fun.
— Some love onions for lunch or supper,
But when one has stuffed oneself with onions,
One isn’t much loved, is one?
— The tongue is not steel, but it cuts.
— What is done, cannot be undone.
[ǩ:]
— First come, first served.
— An early bird catches the worm.
— As the workman so the work.
— A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
[eı]
— He, who makes no mistakes, makes nothing.
— Haste makes waste.
[u:]
— Exceptions prove the rule.
— Too good to be true.
[e]
— Better late than never.
— So many men — so many minds.
— All’s well that ends well.
[i:]
Each teacher needs to be free to teach as he pleases.
[æ]
Handsome is as handsome does.
[ı]
There is no use crying over spilt milk.
149
[e] — [æ]
The devil is not so black as he is painted
[i:] — [ı]
— A friend in need is a friend indeed.
— Honey is sweet, but the bee stings.
— Eat at pleasure, drink with measure.
— People meet, but mountains never greet.
— Still waters run deep.
[a:] — [∧]
— Well begun is half done.
— What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks.
[u:] — [u]
— The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
— Too many cooks spoil the broth.
[u] — [ju:]
— No news — good news.
— A new broom sweeps clean.
[ɔ] — [o:]
— Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
— You can bring the horse to water, but you can’t make it
drink.
[aı] — [eı]
— Get a name to rise early and you may lie all day.
— Make hay while the sun shines.

2. Consonant drills
[k]
— Critical cricket critic.
— Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?
150
[b]
Betty Botter bought a bit of butter,
But the butter Betty bought was bitter,
Betty bought another bit of butter
To make the bitter butter better,
But the butter Betty bought was also bitter.
[w]
Why do you cry, Willy? Why do you cry?
Why, Willy? Why, Willy? Why, Willy, why?
[l]
Lion Leo likes little lemons.
[θ]
I thought a thought, but the thought I thought
Was not the thought I thought I thought.
[r]
Robet ran rings around the Roman ruins.
[p]
If Pickford’s packers packed a packet of crisps,
Would the packet of crisps that Pickford’s packers packed
Survive for two and half a years?
[tw]
Twelve twins twirled twelve twins.
[sw]
Swan swam over the sea,
Swim, Swan, swim;
Swan swam back again,
Well swum, Swan!
[fl]
A fly and flea flew into a flue,
The fly said to the flea ‘What shall we do?’
‘Let us fly’ said the flea,
151
Said the fly ‘Shall we flee?’
So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
[skr]
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream!
[s] — [∫]
She sells sea shells on the sea shore,
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure,
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore,
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.
[w], [ð]
Whether the weather is cold,
Or whether the weather is hot,
We’ll be together whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not.
[w], [t∫] — [∫]
Which witch wishes which wicked fishes?
[m] — [n]
If many men knew what many men know,
If many men went where many men go,
If many men did what many men do,
The world would be better, I think so, don’t you?
[θ] — [f]
A thick thimble is for a thick finger,
A thin thimble is for a thin finger,
Thick thimbles for thick fingers,
Thin thimbles for thin fingers,
Thick for the thick, thin for the thin.
[w] — [∫]
I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish,
But if you wish the wish the witch wishes,
I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.
152
[θ] — [ð]
The thirty-three thieves thought
That they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
[k] — [g]
How many cookies could a good cook cook,
If a good cook could cook cookies?
A good cook could cook as much cookies
As a good cook who could cook cookies.
[h] — [g]
How much ground would a groundhog hog,
If a groundhog could hog ground?
A groundhog would hog all the ground he could hog,
If a groundhog could hog ground.
[t] — [tw]
Mr. Tongue Twister tried to train his tongue
To twist and turn, and twit and twat, to learn the letter ‘T’.
[d] — [b]
In a double bubble gum bubbles double.
[f] — [l]
Love is a feeling you feel when you feel
You’re going to feel the feeling you’ve never felt before.

3. Vowel and consonant drills


— Bow-wow, says the dog;
Mew, mew, says the cat;
Grunt, grunt, goes the hog;
And squeak, goes the rat;
Tu-wu, says the owl;
Caw, caw, says the crow;
Quacks quack, says the duck;
And moo, says the cow.
153
— Spades for digging, pens for writing,
Ears for hearing, teeth for biting,
Eyes for seeing, legs for walking,
Tongues for tasting and for talking.
— Big bells ring a long full song,
Ding-dong, ding-dong!
Hear the ringing, hear the song,
Ting-a-ling, ding-ding, dong-dong.
— One-one was a race horse,
Two-two was one too,
One-one won one race,
Two-two won one too.
— Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thick, say it quick!
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thicker, say it quicker!
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Don’t speak with your mouth full!
— If you understand, say ‘understand’,
If you don’t understand, say ‘don’t understand’.
But if you understand and say ‘don’t understand’,
How do I understand that you understand? Understand?!
— I know a boy named Tate
Who dined with his girl at eight.
I’m unable to state what Tate ate at eight
Or what Tate’s tête à tête ate at eight.
— There was an old man with a nose,
Who said: “If you choose to suppose
That my nose is too long,
You are certainly wrong.”
That remarkable man with a nose.
— Dr. Johnson and Mr. Jackson after a great consideration,
Came to the conclusion that the Indian nation
Is back in education because the chief occupation is cultivation.
154
Supplement 2
Phonetic phenomena

1. Shades of the sonorant [l].


‘Dark’ [l] is pronounced when the sonorant [l] is before a consonant
or in the final position. In such cases the back part of the tongue is
raised high to the soft palate forming an obstruction and giving a dark
colouring to the sound.
Eg: all, tall, fall, help, salt
‘Light’ or ‘clear’ [l] is pronounced before vowels or the sonorant [j].
Then the front part of the tongue is raised to the soft palate together
with the tip.
Eg. live, silly, value

2. Aspiration.
Occlusive stops [p, t, k] in the initial position in a stressed syllable are
accompanied with aspiration. Aspiration is a strong puff of breath in
a voiceless interval after the explosion of [p, t, k]. There are three
degrees of aspiration:
1) it is very strong before a long vowel or a diphthong (port, pale);
2) it is weaker before a short vowel (pit);
3) it is less noticeable before an unstressed vowel (joker) or in the
final position (look).
When [p, t, k] are preceded by [s] (sky) or followed by a noise conso-
nant (looked), there’s hardly any aspiration at all. For example:
tall, tale, till, baker.
[to:l], [teıl], [tıl], ['beıkǩ]
1 1 2 3

3. Loss of plosion.
Occlusive consonants [p, b, t, d, k, g] lose plosion if they are followed
by another occlusive or affricates [t∫, ʤ]. The first plosive loses its
155
explosion and becomes unreleased, instead of the release a pause is
heard. They also lose plosion when preceded by [s].
Eg: and dad [ǩnd dæd], that tape [ðæt teıp], fact [fækt], scale [skeıl]

4. Lateral plosion.
A plosive, preceding the lateral sonorant, becomes laterally exploded: it
has the explosion during the pronunciation of the sonorant [l]. The re-
lease before [l] is made by a sudden lowering of the sides of the tongue,
and the air escapes along the lowered sides with lateral plosion.
Eg. please [pli:z], cattle [kætl], apple [‘æpl]

5. Nasal plosion.
When a plosive is followed by the syllabic [m, n], it has no release of
its own, and the so-called nasal plosion is produced. A plosive be-
comes nasally exploded: its explosion is produced during the pronun-
ciation of the sonorant [m] or [n].
Eg. happen [‘hæpn], kitten [‘kıtn], submarine [ıs∧bmǩ’ri:n]

6. Assimilation.
The articulation of one sound affects the articulation of the neigh-
bouring one assimilating the latter. There are four types of assimila-
tion:
1) assimilation affecting the direction;
2) assimilation affecting the place of obstruction;
3) assimilation affecting the position of the lips;
4) assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords.
The first type is divided into three subtypes: progressive, regressive,
and double (reciprocal) assimilation.
a) Progressive assimilation happens when the preceding sound af-
fects the articulation of following one, and the preceding sound
remains unchanged. For example:
156
looked, opened, cats, dogs.
→ → → →
[lukt], ['ǩupnd], [kæts], [dɔgz]

b) Regressive assimilation happens when the following sound af-


fects articulation of the preceding one. For example:
months, in the, gooseberry.
← ← ←
[m∧nθs], [ın ðǩ], ['gu:zbrı]

c) Double assimilation means complex mutual influence of the ad-


jacent sounds. For example:
tree, try.
↔ ↔
[tri:], [traı]

7. Wrong assimilation.
Foreign speakers shouldn’t voice the voiceless consonant which is
followed by the voiced one. They correspondingly shouldn’t devoice
the voiced consonant which is followed by the voiceless one. For
example
sit down, these socks.
[sıt daun], [ði:z sOks]
= = = =

8. Syllabic sonorants.
In unstressed final positions sonorants [l, m, n] become syllabic if
preceded by a noise consonant. For example:
cattle, sudden, rhythm.
['kætl], ['s∧dn], ['rıðm]
· · ·

157
9. Linking.
Instances of linking occur at word boundaries between two vowels or
a consonant with a following vowel. Here belongs the phenomenon
of linking [r] which reveals its potential pronunciation.
Eg: thiszisza boy; carzowner,

10. Positional length of vowels.


The length of the vowel depends on its position in the word. In the
same phonetic context the vowel sounds the longest in the final
position, a little bit shorter before a sonorant, still shorter before a
voiced consonant, and the shortest before a voiceless consonant. For
example:
die, dine, died, dike.
[daı], [daın], [daıd], [daık]
---- --- -- -

Supplement 3
Stave representation of intonation

The normal range of speaking includes three levels of human voice:


high, medium, and low.

High level
Medium level
Low level

This representation is called ‘a stave’ or ‘a tonogram’. The abstract


notation of intonation is usually presented at the stave with the help of
dots, dashes and upward or downward slash marks, which are put at the
necessary pitch level. Dots (·) represent unstressed syllables, dashes (─)
represent stressed ones. Slants mark the nucleus.
158
Notional parts of speech (nouns, main verbs, adjectives, adverbs, nu-
merals, interrogative and demonstrative pronouns, interjections) are gene-
rally stressed. Functional parts of speech (modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, link
verbs, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, particles, personal and posses-
sive pronouns) are generally unstressed. But all modal and auxiliary verbs
are stressed in the negative form. Sometimes structural parts of speech may
be stressed for additional emphasis and emotional colouring.
There are six main types of nucleus necessary for practical language
learning: Low Fall, Low Rise, High Fall, High Rise, Fall-Rise and Rise-
Fall.
Low Fall starts at the middle and then falls to a very low pitch level.
It is used in statements and special questions.
Eg: \ No.

Low Rise starts from a very low pitch level and then continues to a
medium one. It is used in general questions and the tags of disjunctive
questions.
Eg: / No.

In High Fall the voice falls all the way down from a higher to a very
low pitch level.
Eg: \ No.

In High Rise the voice rises from a medium pitch level and then
moves up to the top.
Eg: / No.

159
In Fall-Rise the voice first falls from a medium to a low pitch level
and then rises to a moderately medium pitch. It may be used within one
syllable or spread over two or more syllables. It is used in requests.
Eg: \/ No.

\
Ne/ver.

\
Generally / I do.

•••

In Rise-Fall the voice rises from a medium to a higher pitch level and
then quickly falls to a low pitch.
Eg: /\ No.

The end of a meaningful part of the spoken message is marked with the
help of pauses. There are three types of pauses: long, short and very short.
— a long pause ( || ) separates sentences and occurs at the end of a
sentence;
— a short pause ( | ) separates sense-groups and occurs inside a sen-
tence;
— a very short pause ( ¦ ) occurs within a sense-group.

Supplement 4
Step-by-step phonetic analysis

Herzen University phonetitians have developed a step-by-step proce-


dure that allows to perform the phonetic analysis of a sentence. It is given
below in a general way.

160
This is a book, isn’t it?
1. Step one. Transcribe the sentence and show its end by putting down
two vertical lines at the end.
Eg: [ðıs ız ǩ buk ıznt ıt || ]
2. Step two. Define the communicative and syntactical type of the sen-
tence, i.e. see whether it is a statement, an order, a request, an excla-
mation, a question (state the type of a question); and consequently
define the nuclear tone of the sentence.
Eg: it is a disjunctive question; the rising tone is used in the second
part (tail), the falling tone is used in the first part (statement).
3. Step three. Divide the sentence into sense-groups if possible, and
separate them from each other by a vertical line. Separate parts of
sense-groups by a wavy line in case there is a very short meaningful
pause.
Eg: [ðıs ız ǩ buk | ıznt ıt || ]
4. Step four. Define the nucleus of the sentence or of every sense-group.
Put down the necessary tone mark before the stressed syllable of the
nuclear word(s).
Eg: [ðıs ız ǩ \ buk | / ıznt ıt || ]
5. Step five. See if there is a word to emphasize in the sentence (sense-
groups). If there is one, put the necessary mark before its stressed
syllable (↑ or ↓) to show the emphasis.
Eg: There are no emphasized words in the sentence.
6. Step six. Define all the other stressed words in the sentence and put
down stress marks (') before their stressed syllables.
['ðıs ız ǩ \ buk | / ıznt ıt || ]
7. Step seven. Intone the sentence graphically at the stave.

161
8. Step eight. Define all the phoneme clusters in the words and at word
boundaries. Mark sound modifications with the help of conventional
symbols.

['ðıszızzǩ \
buk | /
ızntzıt || ]
3 3 3

9. Step nine. Read the sentence, beating rhythm.

162
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