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Theory of phonetics.doc
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II. The qualitative analysis of the English and Russian vowel systems. Front monophthongs

English

Russian

[i:] front high narrow (diphthongized) unrounded long and tense.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the front part of the mouth and the front of the tongue raised high in the direction of the hard palate, but not so high. It is long and tense. The front of the tongue may move from a more open and retracted position to a closer and more advanced one as a result of which the vowel is monophthongized. (Here the tenseness of the vowel gradually increases towards the end). The lips are spread or neutral. The opening between the jaws is rather narrow.

[i:] isn’t close and advanced at the beginning, but towards the end it may become almost as close and front as the Russian [и].

[i] front-retracted high-broad unrounded short and lax.

Is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the front part of the mouth cavity, but slightly retracted. The front of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate. The lips are spread or neutral. The opening between the jaws is narrow. It is short and lax.

[I] is more open and less front than Russian [и]. English [I] is pronounced something medium between Russian [и]

and [ы]. [i]

\/

[и] [ы]

[e] front mid-narrow unrounded short lax.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the front part of the mouth cavity. The front of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate. The lips are spread. The opening between the jaws is medium. It is short and lax. Don’t mix up with [x] and [э].

Pronouncing Russian [э] we open our mouth wider than articulating English [e].

[x] front low-broad unrounded short and lax.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the front part of the mouth cavity. The tongue is raised low in the mouth. The front of the tongue is slightly raised, but not so high as for [e]. The lip position is neutral. The opening between the jaws is wide.

[x] is more open than [э] in the word “этом”. Give the shade of [а] to [x]. A consonant before [x]mustn’t be palatalized.

Back monophthongs

English

Russian

[R] back advanced low-broad unrounded long and tense.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the back part of the mouth cavity but somewhat advanced. The back of the tongue is slightly raised. The lips are neutral. The opening between the laws is fairly wide.

[R] is more back and tense than Russian [a].

[P] back low-broad slightly rounded short and lax.

It is pronounced with the tongue held in a position which is farther back than that of [R]. The back of the tongue is raised a little more than for [R]. The lips are slightly rounded. The opening between the jaws is wide.

[о] is closer. The lips are more rounded and protruded.

[L] fully back mid-broad rounded long and tense.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the back part of the mouth cavity. The back of the tongue is raised in the direction of the soft palate, higher than for [P]. The lips are rounded and slightly protruded to form an opening which is much smaller than for [P]. The opening between the jaws is medium.

[о] is closer than [L] and more rounded.

You are to give a shade of [a] to the beginning of the vowel [L], and a shade of [у] to the end of the vowel to avoid mispronunciation.

[V] back advanced high-broad slightly rounded short and lax.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the back part of the mouth cavity, but somewhat advanced. The back of the tongue is raised in the direction of the front part of the soft palate, higher than for [L]. The lips are slightly rounded.

[у] is more back. It is pronounced with the lips far more rounded and protruded than for [V]. [V] is pronounced somewhat medium between [у] and [ы].

[V]

\/

[у] [ы]

[H] back high-narrow diphthongized rounded long and tense.

It is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue retracted more than for [V]. The back of the tongue is raised in the direction of the soft palate higher than for [V], but not so high to cause audible friction. It is diphthongized because during the pronunciation of [H] the tongue may move from a more advanced and open position to a closer and more retracted position. In this case the tenseness of the vowel gradually increases towards the end. At the beginning of [H] the lips are fairly rounded. Towards the end they are still more rounded. The opening between the jaws is narrower than for [V].

[у] is more retracted and closer. You are to give a shade of [у] to the sound [H] to avoid mispronunciation.

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