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4 Lecture 26.09.11

  1. The articulatory classification of English consonants

Russian phoneticians classify consonants according to the following principles:

  1. work of the vocal cords and the force of exhalation

  2. active organ of speech and the place of obstruction

  3. the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production

  4. position of the soft palate

  1. Work of the vocal cords and the force of exhalation

According to the work of the vocal cords consonants are subdivided into voiced and voiceless. The force of exhalation and the degree of muscular tension are greater in the production of voiceless consonants, therefore they are called fortis. Voiced consonants are called lenis, which means soft and weak, because the force of exhalation and the degree of muscular tension in their articulation are weaker, e.g. tie, die

  1. Active organ of speech and the place of obstruction

According to the active organ of speech which forms an obstruction consonants are subdivided into labial, when the obstruction is formed by lips, lingual, formed by the tongue, pharyngal (glottal), formed by pharynx. Labial group is subdivided into bilabial (p,b,m,w) and labio-dental (f,v).

Lingual group

/ | \

forelingual midiolingual backlingual

/ \ [j] [k,g,ŋ]

apical cacuminal

[t,d,n,l,s,z,θ,ð] [r]

Pharyngal – the only sound is [h].

According to the place of obstruction consonants are classified into 1) dental or interdental [θ,ð]; 2) alveolar [t,d,n,l,s,z], the tip of the tongue is against the upper teeth reach; 3) post-alveolar [r], the tip of the tongue is against the back part of the teeth reach; 4) palatal [j]; 5) palato-alveolar [ʃ, tʃ, , ʒ], the tip is against the teech reach and the front part is raised toward the hard palate; 6) velar [m]

  1. the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production

According to the type of obstruction there can be differentiated 3 groups of consonants: 1) occlusives [t,d], in their production there is a complete closure (occlusion); 2) constrictives [s,ʒ], in their production there is constriction, which means narrowing, or incomplete closure; 3) occlusive constrictives [tʃ,], in their production complete closure is immediately followed by a constriction.

When the complete closure is broken, the noise which appears is that of a plosion. The noise resulting from the movement of the air stream in the narrowing is that of friction. When closure is followed by a narrowing the two effects are combined.

Occlusives (complete closure)

/ \

stops (plosives) nasal sonants

[p,b,t,d,k,g] [m,n,ŋ]

Constrictives (incomplete closure)

/ \

fricatives oral sonants

[f,v,θ,ð,s,z,ʃ,ʒ] [j,r,w,l]

Occlusive constrictives (africats) [tʃ, ] are formed by a combination of a complete closure, followed by an incomplete one.