English Phonetics and Phonology. A practical course. Fourth edition. PETER ROACH. Frrieritus Prºfessor of Phonetics. University ºf Reading. º CAMBRIDGE. Roach, Peter (Peter John). English phonetics and phonology: a practical course / Peter Roach. – 4th ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. English Phonetics and Phonology: A practical course by Peter Roach has been a leading coursebook English phonetics and phonology.
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The phonology and phonetics of English English Phonetics and Phonology: A practical course by Peter Roach has been a leading coursebook. English Phonetics and Phonology. A practical course. Second edition. Peter Roach. Professor of Phonetics. University of Reading. CAMBRIDGE. UNIVERSITY. Review of "English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course (4th edition, enhanced ebook)" by Peter Roach. Laura Patsko. KEYNOTE Another case study .
A practical guiding your learning. Concepts Skills — reading, speaking, writing. Chapters 3—7 explain the segmental Another activity that works well is inventory of BBC English in when students either do an electronic considerable detail. Along the way, presentation on a topic e. This is either teaching or learning English as such a great book — everyone who wants a second language; he aims simply to to incorporate digital literacies into their provide theoretical description of one the difference between phonetics n Volume 24 n Issue 1 www.
The fact that there are ive old pen and paper. He goes on to to analyse and explain. There is little production and perception. It will almost discuss stress its nature and placement practical guidance for teachers offered certainly be a more daunting enterprise within words and phrases , strong and in these chapters, but I was able to for teachers who are not naturally drawn weak syllables, the schwa, syllabic create my own classroom exercises to pronunciation matters.
In either case, consonants and strong and weak forms of with more conidence having gained a it takes time to work through the course, words in connected speech. It demonstrates well that this book phonologically and contrasts BBC was designed as an advanced course for English with some other accents of Laura Patsko Laura Patsko is a teacher and teacher those who require a deep knowledge of Anglophone countries.
Roach looks trainer based in London, UK. She is phonetic and phonological theory and particularly at the similarities and particularly interested in pronunciation that it will be quite daunting for teachers differences between BBC English, teaching and sociolinguistics. The English though he notes that there chapter outlines some of the inherent is variation within these accents and problems in phonemic analysis, such as: Related Papers.
Phonology in Language learning and teaching. By Ali Jarrah. By haddad warda. An analysis of the pronunciation of two Chinese high school students and its implications for teaching. But in the case of two slightly different ways of pronouncing what we regard as "the same sound", we usually find that, if we substitute one for the other, a change in the meaning of a word does not result. If we substitute a more open vowel, for example cardinal vowel no.
The principles involved here may be easier to understand if we look at a similar situation related to the letters of the alphabet that we use in writing English.
The letter of the alphabet in writing is a unit which corresponds fairly well to the unit of speech we have been talking about earlier in this chapter - the segment. In the alphabet we have five letters that are called vowels: If we choose the right context we can show how substituting one letter for another will change meaning. Thus with a letter 'p' before and a letter 't' after the vowel letter, we get the five words spelt 'pat', 'pet', 'pit', 'pot', 'put', each of which has a different meaning.
We can do the same with sounds. If someone who knew nothing about the alphabet saw these four characters: They would quickly discover, through noticing differences in meaning, that 'u' is a different letter from the first three.
What would our illiterate observer discover about these three? They would eventually come to the conclusion about the written characters 'a' and 'a' that the former occurs most often in printed and typed writing while the latter is more common in handwriting, but that if you substitute one for the other it will not cause a difference in meaning. If our observer then examined a lot of typed and printed material they would eventually conclude that a word that began with 'a' when it occurred in the middle of a sentence would begin with 'A', and never with 'a', at the beginning of a sentence.
They would also find that names could begin with 'A' but never with 'a'; they would conclude that 'A' and 'a' were different ways of writing the same letter and that a context in which one of them could occur was always a context in which the other could not. As will be explained below, we find similar situations in speech sounds. If you have not thought about such things before, you may find some difficulty in understanding the ideas that you have just read about.
The principal difficulty lies in the fact that what is being talked about in our example of letters is at the same time something abstract the alphabet, which you cannot see or touch and something real and concrete marks on paper.
The alphabet is something that its users know; they also know that it has twenty-six letters. But when the alphabet is used to write with, these letters appear on the page in a practically infinite number of different shapes and sizes.
Now we will leave the discussion of letters and the alphabet; these have only been introduced in this chapter in order to help explain some important general principles. Let us go back to the sounds of speech and see how these principles can be explained.
As was said earlier in this chapter, we can divide speech up into segments, and we can find great variety in the way these segments are made.
But just as there is an abstract alphabet as the basis of our writing, so there is an abstract set of units as the basis of our speech.
These units are called phonemes, and the complete set of these units is called the phonemic system of the language. The phonemes themselves are abstract, but there are many slightly different ways in which we make the sounds that represent these phonemes, just as there are many ways in which we may make a mark on a piece of paper to represent a particular abstract letter of the alphabet.
For example, the b at the beginning of a word such as 'bad' will usually be pronounced with practically no voicing. Sometimes, though, a speaker may produce the b with full voicing, perhaps in speaking very emphatically. If this is done, the sound is still identified as the phoneme b, even though we can hear that it is different in some way. We have in this example two different ways of making b - two different realisations of the phoneme. One can be substituted for the other without changing the meaning.
We also find cases in speech similar to the writing example of capital 'A' and little 'a' one can only occur where the other cannot. For example, we find that the realisation of t in the word 'tea' is aspirated as are all voiceless plosives when they occur before stressed vowels at the beginning of syllables. In the word 'eat', the realisation of t is unaspirated as are all voiceless plosives when they occur at the end of a syllable and are not followed by a vowel.
The aspirated and unaspirated realisations are both recognised as t by English speakers despite their differences. But the aspirated realisation will never be found in the place where the unaspirated realisation is appropriate, and vice versa. When we find this strict separation of places where particular realisations can occur, we say that the realisations are in complementary distribution.
One more technical term needs to be introduced: In the last example, we were studying the aspirated and unaspirated allophones of the phoneme t. Usually we do not indicate different allophones when we write symbols to represent sounds.
Basically the symbols are for one of two purposes: We will look first at phonemic symbols. The most important point to remember is the rather obvious-seeming fact that the number of phonemic symbols must be exactly the same as the number of phonemes we decide exist in the language.
It is rather like typing on a keyboard - there is a fixed number of keys that you can press. One of the traditional exercises in pronunciation teaching by phonetic methods is that of phonemic transcription, where every speech sound must be identified as one of the phonemes and written with the appropriate symbol. There are two different kinds of transcription exercise: In a phonemic transcription, then, only the phonemic symbols may be used; this has the advantage that it is comparatively quick and easy to learn to use it.
The disadvantage is that as you continue to learn more about phonetics you become able to hear a lot of sound differences that you were not aware of before, and students at this stage find it frustrating not to be able to write down more detailed information. The phonemic system described here for the BBC accent contains forty-four phonemes. We can display the complete set of these phonemes by the usual classificatory methods used by most phoneticians; the vowels and diphthongs can be located in the vowel quadrilateral - as was done in Chapters 7 and 7 - and the consonants can be placed in a chart or table according to place of articulation, manner of articulation and voicing.
Human beings can make many more sounds than these, and phoneticians use a much larger set of symbols when they are trying to represent sounds more accurately. The best- known set of symbols is that of the International Phonetic Association's alphabet the letters IPA are used to refer to the Association and also to its alphabet. The vowel symbols of the cardinal vowel system plus a few others are usually included on the chart of this alphabet, which is reproduced at the beginning of the book p.
It is important to note that in addition to the many symbols on the chart there are a lot of diacritics - marks which modify the symbol in some way; for example, the symbol for cardinal vowel no.
It would not be possible in this course to teach you to use all these symbols and diacritics, but someone who did know them all could write a transcription that was much more accurate in phonetic detail, and contained much more information than a phonemic transcription. Such a transcription would be called a phonetic transcription; a phonetic transcription containing a lot of information about the exact quality of the sounds would be called a narrow phonetic transcription, while one which only included a little more information than a phonemic transcription would be called a broad phonetic transcription.
One further type of transcription is one which is basically phonemic, but contains additional symbolic information about allophones of particular symbols: As an example of the use of allophonic transcription, in this course phonetic symbols are used occasionally when it is necessary to give an accurate label to an allophone of some English phoneme, but we do not do any phonetic transcription of continuous speech: A widely-used convention is to enclose symbols within brackets that show whether they are phonemic or phonetic: While this convention is useful when giving a few examples, there is so much transcription in this book that I feel it would be an unnecessary distraction to enclose each example in brackets.
It should now be clear that there is a fundamental difference between phonemic symbols and phonetic symbols. Since the phonemic symbols do not have to indicate precise phonetic quality, it is possible to choose among several possible symbols to represent a particular phoneme; this has had the unfortunate result that different books on English pronunciation have used different symbols, causing quite a lot of confusion to students.
In this course we are using the symbols now most frequently used in British publishing. It would be too long a task to examine other writers' symbols in detail, but it is worth considering some of the reasons for the differences.
Some writers have concentrated on producing a set of phonemic symbols that need the minimum number of special or non-standard symbols. Others have thought it important that the symbols should be as close as possible to the symbols that a phonetician would choose to give a precise indication of sound quality. To use the same example again, referring to the vowel in 'cat', it could be argued that if the vowel is noticeably closer than cardinal vowel no.
There can be disagreements about the most important characteristics of a sound that a symbol should indicate: This is the approach taken in this course.
When we talk about how phonemes function in language, and the relationships among the different phonemes - when, in other words, we study the abstract side of the sounds of language, we are studying a related but different subject that we call phonology. Only by studying both the phonetics and the phonology of English is it possible to acquire a full understanding of the use of sounds in English speech.
Let us look briefly at some areas that come within the subject of phonology; these areas of study will be covered in more detail later in the course. In chess, for example, the exact shape and colour of the pieces are not important to the game as long as they can be reliably distinguished.
But the number of pieces, the moves they can make and their relationship to all the other pieces are very important; we would say that if any of these were to be changed, the game would no longer be what we call chess. Similarly, playing cards can be printed in many different styles and sizes, but while changing these things does not affect the game played with them, if we were to remove one card from the pack or add one card to it before the start of a game, nobody would accept that we were playing the game correctly.
In a similar way, we have a more or less fixed set of "pieces" phonemes with which to play the game of speaking English. There may be many slightly different realisations of the various phonemes, but the most important thing for communication is that we should be able to make use of the full set of phonemes. Phoneme sequences and syllable structure In every language we find that there are restrictions on the sequences of phonemes that are used.
In phonology we try to analyse what the restrictions and regularities are in a particular language, and it is usually found helpful to do this by studying the syllables of the language. Suprasegmental phonology Many significant sound contrasts are not the result of differences between phonemes. For example, stress is important: Intonation is also important: These examples show sound contrasts that extend over several segments phonemes , and such contrasts are called suprasegmental.
We will look at a number of other aspects of suprasegmental phonology later in the course. Notes on problems and further reading This chapter is theoretical rather than practical. There is no shortage of material to read on the subject of the phoneme, but much of it is rather difficult and assumes a lot of background knowledge. For basic reading I would suggest Katamba Chapter 7 , Cruttenden Chapter 8, Section 7 or Giegerich There are many classic works: Jones ; first published is widely regarded as such, although it is often criticised nowadays for being superficial or even naive.
The subject of symbols is a large one: Chapter 2. The IPA has tried as far as possible to keep to Roman-style symbols, although it is inevitable that these symbols have to be supplemented with diacritics extra marks that add detail to symbols - to mark the vowel [e] as long, we can add the length diacritic: There is a lot of information about symbol design and choice in Pullum and Ladusaw Some phoneticians working at the end of the nineteenth century tried to develop non-alphabetic sets of symbols whose shape would indicate all essential phonetic characteristics; these are described in Abercrombie We have seen that one must choose between, on the one hand, symbols that are very informative but slow to write and, on the other, symbols that are not very precise but are quick and convenient to use.
Pike presents at the end of his book an "analphabetic notation" designed to permit the coding of sounds with great precision on the basis of their articulation; an indication of the complexity of the system is the fact that the full specification of the vowel [o] requires eighty-eight characters.
On the opposite side, many American writers have avoided various IPA symbols as being too complex, and have tried to use as far as possible symbols and diacritics which are already in existence for various special alphabetic requirements of European languages and which are available on standard keyboards. The widespread use of computer printers and word processing has revolutionised the use of symbols, and sets of phonetic fonts are widely available via the Internet.
We are still some way, however, from having a universally agreed set of IPA symbol codes, and for much computer-based phonetic research it is necessary to make do with conventions which use existing keyboard characters. Note for teachers It should be made clear to students that the treatment of the phoneme in this chapter is only an introduction. It is difficult to go into detailed examples since not many symbols have been introduced at this stage, so further consideration of phonological issues is left until later chapters.
Written exercises The words in the following list should be transcribed first phonemically, then in square brackets phonetically. In your phonetic transcription you should use the following diacritics: Use the same mark for diphthongs, placing the diacritic on the first part of the diphthong. Example spelling: Most languages have fricatives, the most commonly- found being something like s.
Fricatives are continuant consonants, which means that you can continue making them without interruption as long as you have enough air in your lungs.
Plosives, which were described in Chapter 7, are not continuants. You can demonstrate the importance of the narrow passage for the air in the following ways: The hissing sound will stop as the air passage gets larger.
Notice how the hissing sound of the air escaping between teeth and lip suddenly stops. Affricates are rather complex consonants. They begin as plosives and end as fricatives. A familiar example is the affricate heard at the beginning and end of the word church'.
So the plosive is followed immediately by fricative noise. However, the definition of an affricate must be more restricted than what has been given so far. We would not class all sequences of plosive plus fricative as affricates; for example, we find in the middle of the word 'breakfast' the plosive k followed by the fricative f.
It is usually said that the plosive and the following fricative must be made with the same articulators - the plosive and fricative must be homorganic. We could also consider tr, dr as affricates for the same reason. They can be seen in the table below: This is similar to what was seen with the plosives.
The fortis fricatives are said to be articulated with greater force than the lenis, and their friction noise is louder. The lenis fricatives have very little or no voicing in initial and final positions, but may be voiced when they occur between voiced sounds.
The fortis fricatives have the effect of shortening a preceding vowel in the same way as fortis plosives do see Chapter 7, Section 7. Thus in a pair of words like 'ice' aIs and 'eyes' aIz, the aI diphthong in the first word is considerably shorter than aI in the second. Since there is only one fricative with glottal place of articulation, it would be rather misleading to call it fortis or lenis which is why there is a line on the chart above dividing h from the other fricatives.
The fricative noise is never very strong and is scarcely audible in the case of v. T, D example words: The air escapes through the gaps between the tongue and the teeth. As with f, v, the fricative noise is weak. The air escapes through a narrow passage along the centre of the tongue, and the sound produced is comparatively intense. The tongue position is shown in Fig. This means that the narrowing that produces the friction noise is between the vocal folds, as described in Chapter 7.
If you breathe out silently, then produce h, you are moving your vocal folds from wide apart to close together. However, this is not producing speech. When we produce h in speaking English, many different things happen in different contexts. In the word 'hat', the h is followed by an as vowel. The same is found for all vowels following h; the consonant always has the quality of the vowel it precedes, so that in theory if you could listen to a recording of h-sounds cut off from the beginnings of different vowels in words like 'hit', 'hat', 'hot', 'hut', etc.
One way of stating the above facts is to say that phonetically h is a voiceless vowel with the quality of the voiced vowel that follows it. Phonologically, h is a consonant. It is usually found before vowels.
As well as being found in initial position it is found medially in words such as 'ahead' shed, 'greenhouse' gri: It is noticeable that when h occurs between voiced sounds as in the words 'ahead', 'greenhouse' , it is pronounced with voicing - not the normal voicing of vowels but a weak, slightly fricative sound called breathy voice.
It is not necessary for foreign learners to attempt to copy this voicing, although it is important to pronounce h where it should occur in BBC pronunciation. Many English speakers are surprisingly sensitive about this consonant; they tend to judge as sub-standard a pronunciation in which h is missing. In reality, however, practically all English speakers, however carefully they speak, omit the h in non-initial unstressed pronunciations of the words 'her', 'he', 'him', 'his' and the auxiliary 'have', 'has', 'had', although few are aware that they do this.
There are two rather uncommon sounds that need to be introduced; since they are said to have some association with h, they will be mentioned here.
The first is the sound produced by some speakers in words which begin orthographically i. The phonetic symbol for this voiceless fricative is AY. We can find pairs of words showing the difference between this sound and the voiced sound w: It is therefore rather surprising to find that practically all writers on the subject of the phonemes of English decide that this answer is not correct, and that the sound AY in 'which', 'why', etc.
We do not need to worry much about this problem in describing the BBC accent. However, it should be noted that in the analysis of the many accents of English that do have a "voiceless w" there is not much more theoretical justification for treating the sound as h plus w than there is for treating p as h plus b. Whether the question of this sound is approached phonetically or phonologically, there is no h sound in the "voiceless w".
A very similar case is the sound found at the beginning of words such as 'huge', 'human', 'hue'. However, it is usual to treat this sound as h plus j the latter is another consonant that is introduced in Chapter 2 - it is the sound at the beginning of 'yes', 'yet'. Again we can see that a phonemic analysis does not necessarily have to be exactly in line with phonetic facts. We will follow the usual practice of transcribing the sound at the beginning of 'huge', etc.
Since the remaining consonants to be described are not paired in this way, a few points that still have to be made about fortis consonants are included in this chapter. The first point concerns the shortening of a preceding vowel by a syllable-final fortis consonant. As was said in Chapter 7, the effect is most noticeable in the case of long vowels and diphthongs, although it does also affect short vowels.
What happens if something other than a vowel precedes a fortis consonant? The effect on those continuant consonants is the same as on a vowel: Fortis consonants are usually articulated with open glottis - that is, with the vocal folds separated. This is always the case with fricatives, where airflow is essential for successful production. However, with plosives an alternative possibility is to produce the consonant with completely closed glottis. This type of plosive articulation, known as glottalisation, is found widely in contemporary English pronunciation, though only in specific contexts.
It normally happens when the plosive is followed by another consonant or a pause; for example: This consonant often shows so little friction noise that on purely phonetic grounds it seems incorrect to class it as a fricative. It is more like a weak lenis dental plosive. This matter is discussed again in Chapter 97, Section On the phonological side, I have brought in a discussion of the phonemic analysis of two "marginal" fricatives AY, which present a problem though not a particularly important or fundamental one: I feel that this is worth discussing in that it gives a good idea of the sort of problem that can arise in analysing the phonemic system of a language.
The other problem area is the glottalisation described at the end of the chapter. There is now a growing awareness of how frequently this is to be found in contemporary English speech; however, it not easy to formulate rules stating the contexts in which this occurs. There is discussion in Brown Section 1.
All of these seven consonants are continuants and usually have no friction noise, but in other ways they are very different from each other. For this to happen, the soft palate must be lowered; in the case of all the other consonants and vowels of English, the soft palate is raised and air cannot pass through the nose. In nasal consonants, however, air does not pass through the mouth; it is prevented by a complete closure in the mouth at some point. If you produce a long sequence dndndndndn without moving your tongue from the position for alveolar closure, you will feel your soft palate moving up and down.
The three types of closure are: The consonants m, n are simple and straightforward with distributions quite similar to those of the plosives. There is in fact little to describe. However, N is a different matter.
It is a sound that gives considerable problems to foreign learners, and one that is so unusual in its phonological aspect that some people argue that it is not one of the phonemes of English at all. The place of articulation of N is the same as that of k, g; it is a useful exercise to practise making a continuous r sound. If you do this, it is very important not to produce a k or g at the end - pronounce the N like m or n.
For example, in BBC pronunciation we find the following: What is the difference between A and B? The important difference is in the way the words are constructed - their morphology. The words of column B can be divided into two grammatical pieces: These pieces are called morphemes, and we say that column B words are morphologically different from column A words, since these cannot be divided into two morphemes.
Let us now look at the ends of words ending orthographically with 'ng'. We do not need a separate explanation for this: If this point seems difficult, think of the comparable case of sentences and words: Unfortunately, rules often have exceptions. The main exception to the above morpheme-based rule concerns the comparative and superlative suffixes '-er' and '-est'. It is important to remember that English speakers in general apart from those trained in phonetics are quite ignorant of this rule, and yet if a foreigner uses the wrong pronunciation i.
The velar nasal consonant N is, in summary, phonetically simple it is no more difficult to produce than m or n but phonologically complex it is, as we have seen, not easy to describe the contexts in which it occurs. This is a consonant in which the passage of air through the mouth does not go in the usual way along the centre of the tongue; instead, there is complete closure between the centre of the tongue and the part of the roof of the mouth where contact is to be made the alveolar ridge in the case of l.
Because of this complete closure along the centre, the only way for the air to escape is along the sides of the tongue. The lateral approximant is therefore somewhat different from other approximants, in which there is usually much less contact between the articulators.
If you make a long l sound you may be able to feel that the sides of your tongue are pulled in and down while the centre is raised, but it is not easy to become consciously aware of this; what is more revealing if you can do it is to produce a long sequence of alternations between d and l without any intervening vowel.
If you produce dldldldldl without moving the middle of the tongue, you will be able to feel the movement of the sides of the tongue that is necessary for the production of a lateral. It is also possible to see this movement in a mirror if you open your lips wide as you produce it. Finally, it is also helpful to see if you can feel the movement of air past the sides of the tongue; this is not really possible in a voiced sound the obstruction caused by the vibrating vocal folds reduces the airflow , but if you try to make a very loud whispered l, you should be able to feel the air rushing along the sides of your tongue.
We find l initially, medially and finally, and its distribution is therefore not particularly limited. In BBC pronunciation, the consonant has one unusual characteristic: The sound in 'eel' is what we call a "dark l"; it has a quality rather similar to an [u] vowel, with the back of the tongue raised.
We can therefore predict which realisation of l clear or dark will occur in a particular context: We can say, using terminology introduced in Chapter 8, that clear l and dark l are allophones of the phoneme l in complementary distribution.
Most English speakers do not consciously know about the difference between clear and dark l, yet they are quick to detect the difference when they hear English speakers with different accents, or when they hear foreign learners who have not learned the correct pronunciation. You might be able to observe that most American and lowland Scottish speakers use a "dark l" in all positions, and don't have a "clear l" in their pronunciation, while most Welsh and Irish speakers have "clear l" in all positions.
Another allophone of l is found when it follows p, k at the beginning of a stressed syllable. The I is then devoiced i. The situation is as explained in Chapter 7 similar to the aspiration found when a vowel follows p, t, k in a stressed syllable: As far as the articulation of the sound is concerned, there is really only one pronunciation that can be recommended to the foreign learner, and that is what is called a post-alveolar approximant.
An approximant, as a type of consonant, is rather difficult to describe; informally, we can say that it is an articulation in which the articulators approach each other but do not get sufficiently close to each other to produce a "complete" consonant such as a plosive, nasal or fricative. The difficulty with this explanation is that articulators are always in some positional relationship with each other, and any vowel articulation could also be classed as an approximant - but the term "approximant" is usually used only for consonants.
The important thing about the articulation of r is that the tip of the tongue approaches the alveolar area in approximately the way it would for a t or d, but never actually makes contact with any part of the roof of the mouth. You should be able to make a long r sound and feel that no part of the tongue is in contact with the roof of the mouth at any time. This is, of course, very different from the "r-sounds" of many other languages where some kind of tongue-palate contact is made.
The tongue is in fact usually slightly curled backwards with the tip raised; consonants with this tongue shape are usually called retroflex. If you pronounce an alternating sequence of d and r drdrdrdrdr while looking in a mirror you should be able to see more of the underside of the tongue in the r than in the d, where the tongue tip is not raised and the tongue is not curled back.
A rather different r sound is found at the beginning of a syllable if it is preceded by p, t, k; it is then voiceless and fricative. This pronunciation is found in words such as 'press', 'tress', 'cress'. One final characteristic of the articulation of r is that it is usual for the lips to be slightly rounded; learners should do this but should be careful not to exaggerate it.
If the lip-rounding is too strong the consonant will sound too much like w, which is the sound that most English children produce until they have learned to pronounce r in the adult way. The distributional peculiarity of r in the BBC accent is very easy to state: No one has any difficulty in remembering this rule, but foreign learners most of whom, quite reasonably, expect that if there is a letter 'r' in the spelling then r should be pronounced find it difficult to apply the rule to their own pronunciation.
There is no problem with words like the following: But in the following words there is no r in the pronunciation: Those accents which have r in final position before a pause and before a consonant are called rhotic accents, while accents in which r only occurs before vowels such as BBC are called non-rhotic.
They are known as approximants introduced in Section 2. The most important thing to remember about these phonemes is that they are phonetically like vowels but phonologically like consonants in earlier works on phonology they were known as "semivowels". From the phonetic point of view the articulation of j is practically the same as that of a front close vowel such as [i], but is very short. In the same way w is closely similar to [u]. If you make the initial sound of 'yet' or 'wet' very long, you will be able to hear this.
But despite this vowel-like character, we use them like consonants. For example, they only occur before vowel phonemes; this is a typically consonantal distribution. We can show that a word beginning with w or j is treated as beginning with a consonant in the following way: If a word beginning with w or j is preceded by the indefinite article, it is the 'a' form that is found as in 'a way', 'a year'.
Another example is that of the definite article. This evidence illustrates why it is said that j, w are phonologically consonants. However, it is important to remember that to pronounce them as fricatives as many foreign learners do , or as affricates, is a mispronunciation.
Only in special contexts do we hear friction noise in j or w; this is when they are preceded by p, t, k at the beginning of a syllable, as in these words: This means that the beginning of a vowel is voiceless in this context.
However, when p, t, k are followed not by a vowel but by one of l, r, j, w, these voiced continuant consonants undergo a similar process, as has been mentioned earlier in this chapter: Consequently, if for example 'tray' were to be pronounced without devoicing of the r i. This completes our examination of the consonant phonemes of English. It is useful to place them on a consonant chart, and this is done in Table l. On this chart, the different places of articulation are arranged from left to right and the manners of articulation are arranged from top to bottom.
When there is a pair of phonemes with the same place and manner of articulation but differing in whether they are fortis or lenis voiceless or voiced , the symbol for the fortis consonant is placed to the left of the symbol for the lenis consonant.
Notes on problems and further reading The notes for this chapter are devoted to giving further detail on a particularly difficult theoretical problem. Since the velar nasal is introduced in this chapter, I have chosen to attempt this here. However, it is a rather complex theoretical matter, and you may prefer to leave consideration of it until after the discussion of problems of phonemic analysis in Chapter There are brief discussions of the phonemic status of N in Chomsky and Halle Everyone agrees that English has at least two contrasting nasal phonemes, m and n.
Sapir said that "no native speaker of English could be made to feel in his bones" that N formed part of a series with m, n. This is, of course, very hard to establish, although that does not mean that Sapir was wrong. We need to look at point i in more detail and go on to see how this leads to the argument against having N as a phoneme. Please note that I am not trying to argue that this proposal must be correct; my aim is just to explain the argument.
The whole question may seem of little or no practical consequence, but we ought to be interested in any phonological problem if it appears that conventional phoneme theory is not able to deal satisfactorily with it.
For example: Neither m nor n can occur in this environment. The phonetic realisation of the n phoneme as a velar nasal will be accounted for by a general rule that we will call Rule 9: Rule 0: As explained in Section 2. After establishing these "background facts", we can go on to state the argument as follows: Rule 2: However, the rule does apply to all the others, hence the final phonetic forms: The important point, however, is that if one is prepared to use the kind of complexity and abstractness illustrated above, one can produce quite far- reaching changes in the phonemic analysis of a language.
The other consonants - l, r, w, j - do not, I think, need further explanation, except to mention that the question of whether j, w are consonants or vowels is examined on distributional grounds in O'Connor and Trim Written exercises a.
List all the consonant phonemes of the BBC accent, grouped according to manner of articulation. Transcribe the following words phonemically: Describe what movements are carried out by the soft palate in the pronunciation of the following words: Most people seem to believe that, even if they cannot define what a syllable is, they can count how many syllables there are in a given word or sentence. If they are asked to do this they often tap their finger as they count, which illustrates the syllable's importance in the rhythm of speech.
As a matter of fact, if one tries the experiment of asking English speakers to count the syllables in, say, a recorded sentence, there is often a considerable amount of disagreement. We find a similar situation with the syllable, in that it may be defined both phonetically and phonologically. Phonetically i. We will now look at some examples: These are preceded and followed by silence.
Looking at them from the phonological point of view is quite different. What this involves is looking at the possible combinations of English phonemes; the study of the possible phoneme combinations of a language is called phonotactics. It is simplest to start by looking at what can occur in initial position - in other words, what can occur at the beginning of the first word when we begin to speak after a pause. We find that the word can begin with a vowel, or with one, two or three consonants.
No word begins with more than three consonants. In the same way, we can look at how a word ends when it is the last word spoken before a pause; it can end with a vowel, or with one, two, three or in a small number of cases four consonants.
No current word ends with more than four consonants. We now look at syllables beginning with two consonants. When we have two or more consonants together we call them a consonant cluster. Initial two-consonant clusters are of two sorts in English. The s in these clusters is called the pre-initial consonant and the other consonant t, w, m in the above examples the initial consonant. These clusters are shown in Table 7.
We call the first consonant of these clusters the initial consonant and the second the post-initial. There are some restrictions on which consonants can occur together.
This can best be shown in table form, as in Table 7. When we look at three-consonant clusters we can recognise a clear relationship between them and the two sorts of two-consonant cluster described above; examples of three- consonant initial clusters are: The s is the pre-initial consonant, the p, t, k that follow s in the three example words are the initial consonant and the l, r, w are post-initial.
In fact, the number of possible initial three-consonant clusters is quite small and they can be set out in full words given in spelling form: Two-consonant clusters of s plus l, w, j are also possible e. These clusters can be analysed either as pre-initial s plus initial l, w, j, r or initial s plus post-initial l, w, j, r. There is no clear answer to the question of which analysis is better; here they are treated in the latter way, and appear in Table 3. Table 3 Two-consonant clusters with post-initial l, r, w, j Notes in doubtful cases: Sri Lanka.
Many Welsh names including some well known outside Wales - such as girls' names like Gwen and place names like the county of Gwent - have initial gw and English speakers seem to find them perfectly easy to pronounce. This is, however, a very infrequent cluster for English.
The only possible occurrence of gj would be in the archaic heraldic word 'gules', which is in very few people's vocabulary. Here we find the possibility of up to four consonants at the end of a word. If there is no final consonant we say that there is a zero coda. When there is one consonant only, this is called the final consonant. Any consonant may be a final consonant except h, w, j. The consonant r is a special case: There are two sorts of two- consonant final cluster, one being a final consonant preceded by a pre-final consonant and the other a final consonant followed by a post-final consonant.
The pre-final consonants form a small set: The post-final consonants also form a small set: A point of pronunciation can be pointed out here: In the above structure there must be a vowel in the centre of the syllable. There is, however, a special case, that of syllabic consonants which are introduced in Chapter 1 ; we do not, for example, analyse the word 'students' stju: To fit in with what English speakers feel, we say that the word contains two syllables, with the second syllable ending with the cluster nts; in other words, we treat the word as though there was a vowel between d and n, although a vowel only occurs here in very slow, careful pronunciation.
This phonological problem will be discussed in Chapter Much present-day work in phonology makes use of a rather more refined analysis of the syllable in which the vowel and the coda if there is one are known as the rhyme; if you think of rhyming English verse you will see that the rhyming works by matching just that part of the last syllable of a line.
The rhyme is divided into the peak normally the vowel and the coda but note that this is optional: As we have seen, the syllable may also have an onset, but this is not obligatory. The structure is thus the following 1.
We will begin by looking at two words that are simple examples of the problem of dividing adjoining syllables. One problem is that by some definitions the s in the middle, between k and t, could be counted as a syllable, which most English speakers would reject.
They feel that the word has two syllables. However, the more controversial issue relates to where the two syllables are to be divided; the possibilities are using the symbol. No single rule will tell us what to do without bringing up problems. One of the most widely accepted guidelines is what is known as the maximal onsets principle. This principle states that where two syllables are to be divided, any consonants between them should be attached to the right-hand syllable, not the left, as far as possible.
Our rule must therefore state that consonants are assigned to the right-hand syllable as far as possible within the restrictions governing syllable onsets and codas. We then have to choose between ii , iii and iv. The maximal onsets rule makes us choose ii. There are, though, many problems still remaining. The maximal onsets principle tells us to put the t on the right-hand syllable, giving be. However, we never find isolated syllables ending with one of the vowels I, e, as, A, Q, U, SO this division is not possible.
There are words like 'carry' kasri which still give us problems: The term used by phonologists for a consonant in this situation is ambisyllabic.
Notes on problems and further reading The study of syllable structure is a subject of considerable interest to phonologists. If you want to read further in this area, I would recommend Giegerich Chapter 6 , Katamba Chapter 1 , Hogg and McCully Chapter 7 and Goldsmith This could happen if one followed the sonority theory of syllables: Vowels have the greatest sonority, and these are usually the centre of a syllable.
Consonants have a lower level of sonority, and usually form the beginnings and ends of syllables. But s has greater sonority than k or t, and this could lead to the conclusion that s is the centre of a syllable in the middle of the word 'extra', which goes against English speakers' feelings. There is a thorough discussion, and a possible solution, in Giegerich Sections 6. Some writers believe that it is possible to describe the combinations of phonemes with little reference to the syllable as an independent unit in theoretical phonology; see, for example, Harris Cruttenden Section Chapters 8 and 6 describe the phonotactics of English in more detail.
A paper that had a lot of influence on more recent work is Fudge This paper brought up two ideas first discussed by earlier writers: These are interesting proposals, but there is not enough space here to examine the arguments in full.
There are many different ways of deciding how to divide syllables. Notes for teachers Analysing syllable structure, as we have been doing in this chapter, can be very useful to foreign learners of English, since English has a more complex syllable structure than most languages.
In the same way, teachers can use this knowledge to construct suitable exercises. Most learners find some English clusters difficult, but few find all of them difficult. For reading in this area, see Celce-Murcia et al. Written exercise Using the analysis of the word 'cramped' given below as a model, analyse the structure of the following one- syllable English words: The distribution of strong and weak syllables is a subject that will be met in several later chapters.
For example, we will look later at stress, which is very important in deciding whether a syllable is strong or weak. Elision is a closely related subject, and in considering intonation the difference between strong and weak syllables is also important. Finally, words with "strong forms" and "weak forms" are clearly a related matter. In this chapter we look at the general nature of weak syllables.
What do we mean by "strong" and "weak"?
To begin with, we can look at how we use these terms to refer to phonetic characteristics of syllables. When we compare weak syllables with strong syllables, we find the vowel in a weak syllable tends to be shorter, of lower intensity loudness and different in quality.
For example, in the word 'data' delta the second syllable, which is weak, is shorter than the first, is less loud and has a vowel that cannot occur in strong syllables. We call this a syllabic consonant. There are other ways of characterising strong and weak syllables. We could describe them partly in terms of stress by saying, for example, that strong syllables are stressed and weak syllables unstressed but, until we describe what "stress" means, such a description would not be very useful.
The most important thing to note at present is that any strong syllable will have as its peak one of the vowel phonemes or possibly a triphthong listed in Chapters 7 and 7, but not a, i, u the last two are explained in Section 1. Weak syllables, on the other hand, as they are defined here, can only have one of a very small number of possible peaks. At the end of a word, we may have a weak syllable ending with a vowel i.
In quality it is mid i. It is generally described as lax - that is, not articulated with much energy. Of course, the quality of this vowel is not always the same, but the variation is not important.
To do this we often have to use information that traditional phonemic theory would not accept as relevant - we must consider spelling.
The question to ask is: Knowing this will not tell us which syllables in a word or utterance should be weak - that is something we look at in later chapters - but it will give us a rough guide to the correct pronunciation of weak syllables.
In strong syllables it is comparatively easy to distinguish i: For example, although it is easy enough to decide which vowel one hears in 'beat' or 'bit', it is much less easy to decide which vowel one hears in the second syllable of words such as 'easy' or 'busy'. There are accents of English e. Welsh accents in which the second syllable sounds most like the i: Yorkshire accents in which it sounds more like the I in the first syllable of 'busy'.
In present-day BBC pronunciation, however, the matter is not so clear. There is uncertainty, too, about the corresponding close back rounded vowels. If we look at the words 'good to eat' and 'food to eat', we must ask if the word 'to' is pronounced with the u vowel phoneme of 'good' or the u: Again, which vowel comes in 'to' in 'I want to'?
You should notice one further thing: Effectively, then, the two distinctions, which undoubtedly exist within strong syllables, are neutralised in weak syllables of BBC pronunciation. How should we transcribe the words 'easy' and 'busy'? We will use the close front unrounded case as an example, since it is more straightforward. The possibilities, using our phoneme symbols, are the following: There is a possible solution to this problem, but it goes against standard phoneme theory.
We can symbolise this weak vowel as i - that is, using the symbol for the vowel in 'beat' but without the length mark. We can set up a corresponding vowel u that is neither the u: If we use i, u in our transcription as well as i: However, this need not be too serious an objection, and the fact that native speakers seem to think that this transcription fits better with their feelings about the language is a good argument in its favour.
We find i occurring: In word-final position in words spelt with final 'y' or 'ey' after one or more consonant letters e. In a prefix such as those spelt 're','pre','de' if it precedes a vowel and is unstressed e.
In the suffixes spelt 'iate', 'ious' when they have two syllables e. In the following words when unstressed: It can be seen that this vowel is most often represented in spelling by the letters 'i' and 'e'. Weak syllables with close back rounded vowels are not so commonly found. We find u most frequently in the words 'you', 'to', 'into', 'do', when they are unstressed and are not immediately preceding a consonant, and 'through', 'who' in all positions when they are unstressed.
We must also consider syllables in which no vowel is found. In this case, a consonant, either l, r or a nasal, stands as the peak of the syllable instead of the vowel, and we count these as weak syllables like the vowel examples given earlier in this chapter. It occurs after another consonant, and the way it is produced depends to some extent on the nature of that consonant. The sides of the tongue, which are raised for the preceding consonant, are lowered to allow air to escape over them this is called lateral release.
The tip and blade of the tongue do not move until the articulatory contact for the l is released. The l is a "dark l" as explained in Chapter 2. In some accents - particularly London ones, and "Estuary English" - we often find a close back rounded vowel instead e. Where do we find syllabic l in the BBC accent?
It is useful to look at the spelling as a guide. The most obvious case is where we have a word ending with one or more consonant letters followed by 'le' or, in the case of noun plurals or third person singular verb forms, 'les'.
Examples are: In the case of words such as 'bottle', 'muddle', 'struggle', which are quite common, it would be a mispronunciation to insert a vowel between the l and the preceding consonant in the accent described here. We also find syllabic l in words spelt, at the end, with one or more consonant letters followed by 'al' or 'el', for example: When should it be pronounced? A general rule could be made that weak syllables which are phonologically composed of a plosive or fricative consonant plus an are uncommon except in initial position in the words.
To pronounce a vowel before the nasal consonant would sound strange or at best over-careful in the BBC accent. Syllabic n after non-alveolar consonants is not so widespread. In words where the syllable following a velar consonant is spelt 'an' or 'on' e.
In a similar way, after velar consonants in words like 'thicken', 'waken', syllabic n is possible but an is also acceptable.