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LAUGH & LEARN: HEAD START CORRELATION LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT | RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE 1 DOMAIN: LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT ELEMENT: RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE DETAILS Kindermusik ABC Music & Me: Laugh & Learn Attends to language during conversations, songs, stories, or other learning experiences. Each ABC Music & Me unit provides children with opportunities to respond to comments or questions from the teacher or other children. EXAMPLE: In On the Go, children have a discussion about things that move quickly and slowly, then imitate them.
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Language English

Phonetics and phonology lectures
An e-learning text for extramural students

Aleš Svoboda

Ostrava University, Faculty of Arts
20061. Phonetics and phonology. Phonemes and allophones. Transcription. Varieties
of English. Production of speech.
Phonetics [f@(U)"netIks] is the science which studies the characteristics of human sound
making, especially those used in speech.

The main activities of phoneticians are
• the description of sounds
• the classification of sounds
• the transcription of sounds

The main branches of phonetics are
• articulatory phonetics [A:"tIkjUl@t(@)ri], which studies the way speech sounds are
made (articulated) - artikula ční fonetika, organogenetická fonetika
• acoustic phonetics [@"ku:stIk], which studies physical properties of speech sounds
as transmitted between mouth and ear
• auditory phonetics [O:dIt(@)ri], which studies the perceptual response to speech
sounds - zkoumá vjemovou reakci na zvuky
• we percept (and dicipher /dI"saIf@/ - dešifrujeme) the sounds through the
articulation basis of our mother tongue (in bad and bed Chechs hear the same
sound /e/)

Another classification of phonetics is the classification into
• general phonetics
• instrumental phonetics
• experime

Phonology [f@U"nQl@dZi] is a branch of linguistics which studies the sound system of
language, it studies the sounds which have distinctive features. The sounds are organized into
a system of contrasts which are analyzed in terms of phonemes. Some scholars regard
phonology as structural and functional phonetics, because it studies the structure of the
sounds and their function in the structure.

There are two branches of phonology:
• segmental phonology (which analyses discrete segments – phonemes)
• suprasegmental phonology (which analyses those features which extend over more
than one segment – it means, rhythm, stress placement etc.)

Another classification of phonology is the classification into
• diachronic phonology (the historical development of sounds)
• synchronic phonology (the present systems of various languages)



The phoneme
The basic unit in phonology is the phoneme.
There are many definitions of the phoneme. For example, phoneme is
• a minimal unit in the system of a language (Crystal)
• a family of related sounds (Daniel Jones)
• a bundle of abstract distinctive features or oppositions between sounds (such as
voicing and nasality) (the Prague School of Linguistics, Trubeckoj, Jakobson)

bid bad bed bud (different vowel phonemes)
bit pit fit sit (different consonat phonemes)

Variants of one phoneme – allophones
Variants are sets of phonetically similar phones (sounds) of the same underlying unit.
• Czech [n] and [N] are allophones of one phoneme /n/ – brána [bra:na], branka
• in English /n/ and /N/ are two different phonemes, because they change the meaning
of the respective word – sin [sIn] (h řích, h řešit) and sing [sIN] (zpívat)

Basically we distinguish two types of transcription:
• phonemic transcription or broad transcription where only phonemes are given. We
write the transcribed text in slashes /teIbl/.
• phonetic transcription or narrow transcription, where different degrees of
allophonic detail are introduced, e.g., devoicing (by a little circle under the letter –
[l]), or the dental variant ([ t] and [d] in Czech) or the syllabic character ([ l] in
htable), we write the transcribed text in square brackets [t eIb L]. Quite frequently,
however, any kind of transcribed pronunciation is called phonetic transcription.

For the purpose of transcription, the International Phonetic Alphabet – IPA was introduced
by the International Phonetic Association (originally in 1929, the latest version in Kiel 1989).
Pronunciation Dictionaries, the first was published by Prof. Daniel Jones, London
st thUniversity (1 edition 1917, 16 edition 2003), followed by others (Gimson, Wells, and Roach),
use IPA.

An example of the phonetic transcription (an extract of a conversation published by
O’Connor and Arnold (1973:275):

(A) Did you see Othello on television last night?
(B) The opera, you mean. No, I didn’t. I was out.
(A) I saw it and quite enjoyed it.
(B) Did you? I thought you didn’t approve of television.
(A) I don’t as a regular thing, but I happened to be round at my sister’s and she wanted to see
it. So I watched it too.

(A) ["dIdZ@ "si: @U"Tel@U Qn "telIvIZn "lA:st "naIt]
(B) [DI "Qpr@ j@ "mi:n – "n@U aI "dIdnt aI w@z "aUt]
(A) ["aI "sO: It @n "kwaIt In"dZOId It]
(B) ["dIdZU – aI "TO:t jU "dIdnt @"pru:v @v "telIvIZn]
(A) [aI "d@Unt @z @ "regjUl@ "TIN – b@t aI "h&pnd t@ bI "raUnd @t maI "sIst@z @n "Si:
"wQntId t@ "si: It – s@U "aI "wQtSt It "tu:]
3Varieties of English

RP means Received Pronunciation, which is the neutral pronunciation based on the
educated southern standard of English (also called BBC English or King’s English).

Other British pronunciation varieties are
• Yorkshire type (Northern English pronunciation: love [lUv], bad [bad])
• Scottish English (trilled /r/)
• Irish English
• Cockney [kQkni] (originally one of London dialects, cf. Shaw’s Pygmalion and the
musical My Fair Lady)

Other varieties of English are
• American English (most frequent variant called General American (GenAm)
• Canadian English (closer to British English)
• Australian English
• Other Englishes (African, Indian, Central European, etc.)

Human speech production

• The air from the lungs passes through the trachea, possibly causes the vibration of
the vocal folds, passes through the pharyngal cavity to the oral and possibly nasal
cavity, and goes out.
• On the way of the air, there are obstacles in the oral cavity which shape the sound.
• The sounds with little obstacle are tones – vowels [vaU@lz], the sounds with big
obstacles are noises – consonants [kQns@n@nts].

Voice production

• The air pressure from the lungs causes vibrations of the vocal folds (vocal cords).

(Reprinted from Gimson 1973:8)
52. The system of English vowels. Quality and quantity. Diphthongs, Triphthongs.
Pre-fortis clipping.
Vowels [vaU@lz] are sounds that correspond to tones in music, while consonants are noises.
Vowels are always voiced (not in whisper). We usually distinguish the quality and the
quantity of a vowel.
According to quality we distinguish various vowels like /i, e, a, o, u/. Different quality,
which means a different vowel, is achieved by the change of the oral cavity mainly by means
of the tongue and the lips. Daniel Jones made a chart (in the form of a trapezoid) where the
position of the tongue (more specifically, one point on the tongue) can be marked. To be able
to insert the vowels of different languages, he suggested a chart with cardinal vowels.

Chart (trapezoid) with (Primary) Cardinal Vowels:

The chart has vertically four levels (stages)
• close
• half-close
• half-open
• open
and horizontally three areas
• front
• central
• back

Primary cardinal vowels denote the utmost tongue positions: i, e, E, a, A, O, o, u
All the English vowels are inserted in relation to the cardinal vowels in the chart.

By quantity we mean the length of vowels. The length of vowels in English is relative. The
primary feature of the vowels is their quality. The difference between short /I/ and long /i:/ is
more in the quality than in the length. The following chart with single vowels
(monophthongs) will illustrate:

6English short and long vowels:

Short vowels

English short vowels are
• /I/ is not quite close, rather half-close, front and slightly centred (it is less close then
the Czech /i/ – hit, sit, bit
• /e/ is a front vowel between cardinal [e] and [E]. It is practically the same as the
Czech /e/ – set, bed, yes
• /&/ is front and rather open. It is often lengthened. – bad, gas, band
• /V/ is a central vowel, half-open. – cup, love
• /Q/ is a back vowel, open, labialized [leIbI@laIzd] (lips are slightly rounded) – pot,
gone, hot (in American English without labialization, the result is /A:/)
• /U/ is a back vowel, slightly centred, half-close – put, push, pull
• /@/ is a central vowel, in RP always unstressed. It is generally described as lax. It can
appear in different central places according to the character of neighbouring sounds.
It is also called a mixed vowel. – today, connect

Long vowels

English long vowels are
• /i:/ is a front vowel, close. It is often diphthongized into /Ii/ (the first element is in
the position of the short /I/ and the second in the position of a long /i/) or even /@i/
in Cockney. (Tea is pronounced as [ts@I] in Cockney.) It is shortened before a fortis
consonant. This phenomenon is called a pre-fortis clipping: see [si:] x seat [si(:)t].
• /3:/ is a central vowel.
It is shortened before a fortis consonant: bird [b3:d] x shirt [S3(:)t]
• /A:/ is an open, not quite in the back, but slightly centred: car, task
• /O:/ is a back vowel, between half-close and half-open, strongly rounded (labialized). four [fO:] x fort [fO(:)t]
• /u:/ is a back vowel, close, rounded (labialized). It is shortened before a fortis
consonant: moon [mu:n] x loose [lu(:)s]
Diphthongs are formed by two vowels within one syllable. In English there are two types of
diphthongs: centring diphthongs and closing diphthongs.

English centring diphthongs are
• /I@/ tear /tI@/
• /e@/ tear /te@/
• /U@/ tour /tU@/
• /O@/ only in dialects where door is pronounced /dO@/.

English closing diphthongs are
• /eI/ play
• /aI/ time
• /aU/ how
• /OI/ boy
• /@U/ open
• Closing diphthongs are glides from the first component in the direction to the second. But
it does not come so far.
• They are shortened before a fortis consonant.


English triphthongs are combinations of closing diphthongs with /@/:
• /eI@/ player
• /aI@/ tyre
• /aU@/ tower
• /OI@/ royal
• /@U@/ mower

English triphthongs tend to omit the second element and change into diphthongs.
• tyre /taI@/ > /ta(I)@/ > /ta@/
• tower /taU@/ > /ta(U)@/ > /ta@/
Some of these diphthongs tend to be made monophthongs:
• tyre /ta@/ > /ta:/ > /tA:/
• tower /ta@/ > /ta:/ > /tA:/

(Reprinted from Gimson 1973:138)

Pre-fortis clipping

In English, a vowel is clipped (shortened) when it is followed by one of the fortis (voiceless,
see later) consonants within the same syllable, and we call the phenomenon “pre-fortis
clipping”. It is particularly noticeable with long vowels and diphthongs when they are
stressed. For example

leap [li(:)p], [lip] (shorter than lead [li:d], but different from lip [lIp])
feet [fi(:)t], [fit] an feed [fi:d fit [fIt])
seek [si(:)k], [sik] (shorter than siege [si:dZ sick [sIk])
loose [lu(:)s], [lus] an lose [lu:z look [lUk])
rate[reIt] (shorter than raid [reId])

The difference between a long clipped /i:/ or /u:/ and a short /I/ or /U/ is, not so much in the
quantity (length), but in the quality of /i/ versus /I/, and /u/versus /U/!!!

3. The classification of consonants. The way (manner) and the place of
articulation. The oppositions of voiced vs. voiceless, and lenis vs. fortis. The
plosives (stops).
Consonants are noises. Basically we clasify them according to two aspects: (i) the way
(manner) of pronunciation and (ii) the place of articulation (pronunciation).

According to the way of pronunciation we distinguish
• plosives (stops) – a full closure in the way of the air is suddenly released, which makes a
plosive sound (a stop) – e.g. /p/
• fricatives – a partial closure causes the friction of the air, which makes a hissing sound;
fricatives may be pronounced long without interruption (they are continuants) – e.g. /f/
• affricates – they begin as plosives and end as fricatives – e.g. /tS/

According to the place of articulation we distinguish
• bilabials – both lips are involved – e.g. /p/
• labiodentals – the upper teeth and the lower lip are involved – e.g. /f/
• dentals (interdentals and postdentals) – the tip of the tongue and the teeth are involved –
e.g. /T/
• alveolars – the alveoli and the tongue are involved – e.g. English /t/
• postalveolars (palatoalveolars) – the beginning of the hard palate and the tongue are
involved – e.g. /S/
• palatals – the hard palate and the tongue are involved – e.g. /c/ (= Czech ť in tiskne)
• retroflex – the tongue is in a retroflex or upright position – e.g. /R/ (American r)
• velars – the soft palate and the blade of the tongue are involved – e.g. /k/
• glottals – are articulated in the glottis – e.g. /h/

In addition to this there are three oppositions
• voiceless vs. voiced (the vocal folds are: inactive or active) – e.g. /p/ vs. /b/
• fortis vs. lenis (the articulation is tense or lax) – e.g. /p/ vs. /b/
• aspirated vs. non-aspirated (aspiration is a very special activity of the vocal folds) – e.g.
h/p / vs. /b/

Further features
• nasals – the air also passes through the nasal cavity – e.g. /m/
• laterals – the air passes on the sides of the tongue – e.g. /l/
• trills – the tip of the tongue is trilling (vibrating) like in Scottish or Czech /r/
• taps/flaps – a single "vibration", a single, very short touch – e.g. American /}t/ in the word
transmitter [tr&nz"mIt@]
• approximants – the tongue is not too close to the other articulatory organ, so the result is a
semi-vowel or a semi-consonant – e.g. /w/