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Саржина - теоретическая фонетика английского.doc
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6 Lecture 10.10.11

  1. According to the stability of articulation

English vowels are classified into monophthongs and diphthongs [eɪ,aɪ,au,əʊ,ʊə,ɛə,ɔɪ,ɪə]

Diphthongised vowels [i:,u:] In diphthongs there are 2 vowel elements: the nucleus and the glide. The nucleus is stronger, more definite and syllabic. There are 3 types of diphthongs: falling, rising and level. In falling diphthongs the nucleus is stronger than the glide. In rising diphthongs the glide is stronger than the nucleus. In level diphthongs both elements are equal. English diphthongs are falling. The rising diphthongs are common in Italian. Daniel Johnes considers the diphthongs [ɪə, ʊə] in some positions as rising, e.g. happier. The diphthong [əu] when it is pronounced as an exclamation with the high rising tone can be called level.

Phonological Analysis of English Speech Sounds

  1. The Phoneme, its Definition, Aspects and Functions

  2. The Phoneme Theory

  3. Methods of Phonological Analysis

  4. Modification of Phonemes in Speech

  5. Sound Interchange

  6. Types of Transcription

1) The Phoneme, its Definition, Aspects and Functions

Phonology is a branch of Phonetics which investigates sounds of speech, as units which serve people for communicative purposes. Unlike phonetics which studies sounds as articulatory and acoustic units. In real speech we pronounce a great variety of sounds, some of the sounds help to differentiate words, because they are different phonologically. Their interchange changes the meaning of the words and interferes with communication. E.g. /pɪl/, /bɪl/. At the same time there are sounds which partially differ in articulation and acoustic value, but they don't differ phonologically. They can't differentiate words and their substitution does not interfere with communication it only causes a foreign accent, e.g. pill – aspiration, spill – less aspiration, slipper – p – partially voiced. The first type of sounds which is phonologically important is phonemes. Every language has a limited number of sound types or phonemes, they are shared by all the native speakers of the language and they are linguistically important because they distinguish words. These sound types are called phonemes, in English there are 20 vowel phonemes and 24 consonant phonemes (6 vowels, 35 consonants – Russian). In actual speech sounds pronounced by speakers are variants of the phonemes existing in the language. These really pronounced variants are called allophones /vaɪn/ - /waɪn/. Allophones are sounds that cannot distinguish words in a definite language, they occur only in certain positions or in combination with certain sounds, they are realizations of one and the same phoneme. /l/ - [kɔ:l] – dark variant- [laɪt] – light variant. Linguists have not arrived to the definition of the phoneme acceptable to all. There are several conceptions of the phoneme among Russian and foreign linguists and none of them is satisfactory from all points of view. The difficulty of giving such a definition lies in the fact that the Phoneme has several aspects and functions. That's why it's impossible to give a formal definition in a single sentence that would reflect all the aspects and functions. Professor Vasilyev suggests a rather short working definition: the Phoneme is the smallest further indivisible into small segments language unit that exists in the speech of all the members of a given language community as such speech sounds, which are capable of distinguishing one word from another word of the same language or one grammatical form of a word from another grammatical form of the same word. (will be on the exam – learn by heart!)

The Phoneme is a dialectical unity of 3 aspects reflected in the above mentioned definition. The 1st aspect: the Phoneme is material, real and objective; 2nd aspect: the Phoneme is abstractional and generalized; 3rd aspect: the Phoneme is also a functional unit. The 3 aspects are interconnected and they determine one another.