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English - complex exam.docx
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Теоретична фонетика

1. The articulatory classification of English vowels. The classification of vowels is based on the following criteria:

a) stability of articulation;

b) tongue position;

c) lip position;

d) character of the vowel end;

e) length;

f) tenseness.

a) Stability of articulation specifies the actual position of the articulating organ in the process of the articulation of a vowel. There are two possible varieties:

1) The tongue position is stable.

2) It changes, that is the tongue moves from one position to another.

According to the stability of articulation vowels are subdivided into:

a) monophthongs:

b) diphthongs:

c) diphthongoids: /i:, u:/

b) The position of the tongue in the mouth cavity is characterized from two aspects, that is the horizontal and vertical movement.

According to the horizontal movement phoneticians distinguish five classes of English vowels:

1) front: /i:, e, ae, ei, eэ/

2) front retracted: /i, i(э)/

3) central: / , э:, э, eu/

4) back: /o, u:, a: o: /

5) back advanced: / u, uэ/

According to the vertical movement the following vowels are distinguished:

1) close (high):

a) narrow: /i:, u:/

b) broad: /i, u, iэ, uэ/

2) mid:

a) narrow: /e, э:, э, ei, эu/

b) broad: /э, /

3) open (low):

a) narrow: eэ, , i/

b) broad: /ae, a (i,u), o, a:/

c) Lip rounding is another feature of English vowels which is sometimes included into the principles of classification. For the purpose of classification vowels are divided into rounded and unrounded.

In English lip rounding is not relevant phonologically since no two words can be differentiated on its bases. It is a phoneme constitutive feature, because no back vowel can exist without it.

d) Character of the vowel end (checkness). This quality depends on the character of the articulatory transition from a vowel to a consonant. All English short vowels are checked when stressed. The degree of checkness may vary and depends on the following consonant. All long vowels are free. In English this characteristic has no phonological value.

e) Length.

The English monophthongs are traditionally divided into two varieties according to their length:

1) short vowels: /i, e, ae, o, u, э/

2) long vowels: / i: , a:, э:, u:/

The problem the analysts are concerned with is whether variations in quantity or length are meaningful (relevant), that is whether vowel length can be treated as a relevant feature of English vowel system.

f) Tenseness characterizes the state of the organs of speech at the moment of production of a vowel. Historically long vowels are tense while historically short vowels are lax. Tenseness may be considered as indispensable concomitant feature of English long vowels.

2. The articulatory classification of English consonants.

1)Vassilyev’s Classification (the manner of production of noise)

1) occlusive, in the production of which a complete obstruction is formed;

2) constrictive, in the production of which an incomplete obstruction is formed.

The phonological relevance of this feature could be exemplified in the following opposition: [ti:] – [si:] tea –sea (occlusive – constrictive).



1. noise consonants

a) plosives

b) affricates

2. sonorants


1.noise consonants

2. sonorants

a) medial

b) lateral

2)Sokolova’s classification (the degree of noise)

1) noise consonants

b) sonorants.

[beik – meik] bake – make (noise consonant – sonorant).


Noise consonants

1. occlusive

2. constrictive

3. Occlusive-constrictive




a) medial

b) lateral

3) The place of articulation

1. labial; (a) bilabial; b) labio-dental)

2. lingual; (a) forelingual; b) mediolingual; c) backlingual)

3. glottal.

4) voiced-voiceless

5) In the English consonantal system there is the problem of affricates, that is their phonological status and their number. According to our linguistic school, there are two affricates in Modern English, [ t (тч), d3]. According to English linguistic school, there are six of them: [ t (тч), d3, ts, dz, tr, dr].

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