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theoretical phonetics.docx
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1.The subject matter of phonetics.

1.1.The phonetic system of a language.

Language exists in the two main speech forms-oral and written. Speech is a manyfastation of language. It’s a process of communication by means of language.

The phonetic system of a language is an orderly set of phonetic unites. It contains two systems, or levels- segmental and suprasegmental, or prosodic.

Segmental unites are speech sounds, vowels and consonants.

Suprasegmental, or prosodic unites are syllables, rhythmic groups, intonation groups, utterances and texts.

Syllables are combination of speech sounds in connected speech.

Rhythmic groups are combinations of syllables, or it can be one syllable. In connected speech rhythmic groups are pronounced in approximately equal periods of time. The nucleus of each rhythmic group is a stressed syllable. If a rhythmical group consists of only one syllable, it’s always stressed. If a rhythmic group has some unstressed syllables they grouped around the stressed syllable.

Intonation group- is a stretch of speech from pause to pause. It may coinside with a sentence or a sentence may consist of two or more intonation groups. An intonation group may consist of one word “even a monosyllabic word”.

For example :- Do you like coffee? -No.

No-is one syllable, one word…

It all depends on meaning.

I’ll see you tomorrow – Tomorrow// I see you.

Utterance is a spoken sentence. Unlike a sentence it doesn’t have to be grammaticaly correct, because some meaning in an utterance may be conveyed not only through words and gramma, but also through intonation and border language.

Texts are sequences of sentences or utterances which are meaningfull, coherent and have some purpose.

1.2. Aspects of sound phenomena


  1. Articulatory aspect. Speech sounds are produced by human organs of speech- the diaphragm, lungs, the bronchi, trachea, the larynx with the vocal cords in it, pharynx, mouth cavity with the speech organs and nasal cavity. One part of sound production is phonation, that is (e-period) voice production. When the vocal cords vibrate under the pressure of air coming from the lungs, some sound is produced. The other part of sound production is articulation. Articulation is the movements of speech organs, which are necessary to pronounce a speech sound. When in the mouth or nasal cavities some speech organs come together and form an obstruction for the air from the lungs, noise is produced. There are two types of noise-friction (th) and plosion (p). The constriction of speech organs produces friction. The complete closure produces plosion, because the stream of air which come from the lungs and passes the mouth or nasal cavity breaks this closure. The effect is that of the small plosion (p,t). When an obstruction is made and the vocal cords vibrate, a voiced consonant is produced(b,d). When the vocal cords don’t vibrate the voiceless consonants is produced (p,t). So, there are two souces of production of consonants- the vibration of the vocal cords and the obstruction. And there is one souces of producing vowels, it’s the vibration of the vocal cords, there is no obstruction for the air in the mouth or nasal cavities and the air passes freely.

  2. The acoustic aspect. Any sound in nature, for example the sound of thunder. The sound as a result of two objects (2 stones) including speech sounds, is the result of the colliding of objects and this colliding produces sound waves. Sound waves have physical properties- frequency, intensity, duration and spectrum. Frequency is the number of vibrations of the vocal cords vibrate all along the lungs. They so called fundamental frequency is produced.The vocal cords can vibrate simultaneously. At the same time the articulatory organs (organs of speech) move and change the size and shape of the mouth and nasal cavities. This movements intensify some frequencies and weaken others frequencies.As a result different qualities of sounds are produced. The complex of frequencies intencified or weakned in the mouth or nasal cavities is called the spectrum.

  3. The auditory aspect. Speech sounds are produced by human organs of speech. This is the articulatory aspect because the articulation is a process of speaking. Speech sounds exist in the real well in the form of the sound waves. Speech sounds may also be analyzed from the point of view of perception. The listener perceives fundamental frequency as pitch level. Intensity as loudness, duration as length,formance as the difference between sounds, ex. (e:) is different from (e) and from (s).

  4. The linguistic aspect. It is about the meaning of sounds that make up word, phrases, utterances, texts and the meaning of elements of intonation and intonation ( prosodic ) units. Such an element of prosody as pitch has its own meaning. The higher the pitch level the more important is the word. The slower a word or an utterance is pronounced the more important it is. Falling tones have the meaning of definiteness ,raising tones have the meaning of indefiniteness, that is the speaker either is going to say something else or the listener is expected to say something.

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