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Гос филология / Гос филология / 25. phonetics as a science

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15.Phonetics as a science.

Ph. Is not a separate, independent science. Ph. Is an independent brahch of linguistic like lexecology, grammar and stylistics. It studies the sound matter, its aspects and functions. Ph. formulates the rules of pronounciation for separate sounds and sound combinations.

Through the system of rules of reading Ph is connected with grammar and helps to pronaunce correctly singular and plural forms of nouns, the past tense forms and past participles of English regular verbs (d is pronaunced after voiced cons., t is pronaunced after voiceless cons. Wish-wished, id is pronaunced after t want-wanted, s is pronaunced after voiceless cons., z is after voiced cons. and iz after sibilants (свистящие)).

Sound interchange is another manifestation of the connection of Ph with grammar, e.g. this connection can be observed in the category of number. Thus the interchange of f/v, s/z, th/the helps to differenciate singular and plural forms of such words as basis- bases, and also man-men, foot-feet. Vowel interchange is connected with the tense forms of irregular verbs (sing-sang-sung). Vowel interchange can also help to distinguish between: 1) nouns and verbs (bath-bathe), 2) adj and nouns (hot-heat), 3) verbs and adj (moderate-moderate), 4) nouns and nouns (shade-shadow), 5) nouns and adj (type-typical). Vowel interchange can also be observed in onomatopoetic compaunds (звукоподражательные сложные слова): hip-hop, flap-flop, chip-chop. Consonants can interchange in different parts of speech, e.g. in nouns and verbs (extent-extend, mouth-mouth).

Ph is also connected with grammar through its intonation component. Sometimes intonation alone can serve to single out the logical predicate.( ‘he came home, he ‘came home, he came ‘home). Pausation may also perform a differentiatory function. If we compare 2 similar sentences pronaunced with different places of pause, the meaning will be different.

Ph is also connected with lexicology. It is only due to the presence of stress in the right place, that we can distinguish certain nouns from verbs (formed by convercion): ‘object-ob’ject.

Homographs can be differentiated only due to pronaunciation, because they are identical in spelling: bow(ou луг)-bow(au поклон), row(ou ряд)-row(au шум).

Due to the position of word accent we can distinguish between homonymous words and word groups, e.g. ‘blackbird-black ‘bird.

Ph is also connected with stylistics; first of all through intonation and its components: speech melody, utterance (произнесение) stress, rythm, pausation and voicetember which serves to express emotions.

Ph is also connected with stylistics through repetition of words, phrases and sounds. Repetition of this kind serves the basis of rythm, rhyme and alliteration. The repetition of identical or similar sounds, which is called alliteration, helps to impart ( передавать) a melodic effect to the utterance and to express certain emotions.

Theoretical significance of Ph is connected with the further development of the problem of the study and description of the Ph system of a national language and different languages, the study of the correspondences between them, the description of changes in the Ph system of languages.

Practical significance of Ph is connected with teaching foreign languages, speech correction, teaching deaf-mutes, film doubling.

The phoneme theory.

Ph studies sounds as articulatory and acoustic units, phonology investigates sounds as units which serve communicative purposes. The unit of phonetics is a speech sound, the unit of phonology is a phoneme. Phonemes can be discovered by the method of minimal pairs. This method consists in finding pairs of words which differ in 1 phoneme, e.g. if we replace [b] by [t] in the word ban we produce a new word tan, ban-tan is a pair of words distinguished in meaning by a single sound change. 2 words of this kind are termed minimal pairs.

The phonemes of a lang form a system of oppositions, in which any one phoneme is usually opposed to any other phoneme in at least 1 position.

The founder of the phoneme theory was Baudouin de Courteney. His theory of phoneme was developed and perfected by Shcherba, who stated that in actual speech we utter a much greater variety of sounds than we are aware of, and that in every lang these sounds are united in a comparatively small number of sound types, which are capable of distinguishing the meaning and the form of words. It is these sound types that should be included into the classification of phonemes and studied as differentiatory units of the lang. The actually pronounced speech sounds are variants or allophones of phonemes. Allophones are realized in concrete words. They have phonetic similarity, at the same time they differ in some degree and are incapable of differentiating words, e.g. in speech we pronounce not the sound type [t] which is asperated, alveolar, forelingual, apical, occlusive, plosive, voiceless-fortis – according to the classificatory definition, but one of its variants, e.g. labialized in the word twice, dental in the word nineth, post-alveolar in try and so on. The number of sound types, or phonemes, in each lang is much smaller than the number of sounds actually pronounced.

Phonemic variants or allophones are very important for lang teaching, their mispronunciation doesn’t influence the meaning of the words, their misuse makes a person’s speech sound as foreign.

The variants used in actual speech are called subsidiary. Susidiary allophones can be positional and combinatory. Posit alloph are used in certain positions traditionally, e.g. the Eng [l] is realized in actual speech as a positional alloph: it is clear in the initial position and dark (твердый) in terminal position, e.g. let and mill. Rus positional alloph can be obserdved in such words as рубль. Combinatory allophones appear in the process of speech and result from the influence of the phoneme upon another.

Each phoneme manifests itself in a certain pattern of distribution. The simplest of them is free variation, that is the variation of one and the same phoneme pronounced differently, e.g. the pronunciation of the initial [k] with different degree of aspiration. Complementary distribution is another pattern of phoneme environment, when one and the same phoneme occurs in a definite set of context in which no other phoneme ever occurs. Contrastive distribution is one more pattern of phoneme environment, e.g. bad – bed, pit – peat – these are minimal pairs.

Minimal distinctive features are discovered through oppositions. This method helps to prove whether the phonemic difference is relevant or not, whether the opposition is single, double or multiple, [d], [t] have only one distinctively relevant feature – single opposition. If there are two distinctively relevant features, the opposition is double , e.g. [p] and [d] differ after following lines: [p] – voiceless, fortis, labial, bilabial; [d] – voiced, lenis, lingual, forelingual, apical, alveolar. The opposition [b], [h] is multiple, because these phonemes differ along the following lines: [b] - voiced, lenis, labial, bilabial, occlusive; [h] - voiceless, fortis, pharingal, constrictive.

Бодуэн-де-Куртене defined the phoneme as a physical image of a sound, he originated the so called “mentalist” view of the phoneme.

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