Лекции по теоретической фонетике английского языка
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Phonetics as a branch of linguistics. Phonetics and other disciplines. Applications of phonetics.
Branches of phonetics.
Aspects of the sound matter of language.
Components of the phonetic system of language.
National and regional pronunciation variants in English.
British and American pronunciation models.
Most distinctive features of BBC English and Network English.
The articulatory classification of English vowels.
The articulatory classification of English consonants.
Phoneme as many-sided dialectic unity of language. Types of allophones. Distinctive and irrelevant features of the phoneme.
Main phonological schools.
The system of vowel phonemes in English. Problem of diphthongs.
The system of consonant phonemes in English. Problem of affricates.
Modifications of English consonants and vowels in speech.
Alternations of speech sounds in English.
Theories on syllable division and formation.
The structure and functions of syllable in English.
Word stress in English.
Intonation and prosody: definition, functions, components, spheres of application.
The structure of English tone-group.
The phonological level of intonation.
Methods of phonetic analysis.
Phonostylistics. Types and styles of pronunciation in English.
Phonetics of the spoken discourse.
1. Phonetics as a branch of linguistics
2. Aspects and units of phonetics
3. Branches of phonetics
1. Phonetics as a branch of linguistics
We begin our study of language by examining the inventory, structure and functions of the speech sounds. This branch of linguistics is called phonetics.
Phonetics is an independent branch of linguistics like lexicology or grammar. These linguistic sciences study language from three different points of view. Lexicology deals with the vocabulary of language, with the origin and development of words, with their meaning and word building. Grammar defines the rules governing the modification of words and the combination of words into sentences. Phonetics studies the outer form of language; its sound matter. The phonetician investigates the phonemes and their allophones, the syllabic structure the distribution of stress, and intonation. He is interested in the sounds that are produced by the human speech-organs insofar as these sounds have a role in language. Let us refer to this limited range of sounds as the phonic medium and to individual sounds within that range as speech-sounds. We may now define phonetics as the study of the phonic medium. Phonetics is the study of the way humans make, transmit, and receive speech sounds. Phonetics occupies itself with the study of the ways in which the sounds are organized into a system of units and the variation of the units in all types and styles of spoken language.
Phonetics is a basic branch of linguistics. Neither linguistic theory nor linguistic practice can do without phonetics. No kind of linguistic study can be made without constant consideration of the material on the expression level.
Human speech is the result of a highly complicated series of events. Let us consider the speech chain, which may be diagrammed in simplified form like this:
Speaker's vocal tract
Transmission of sounds
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The formation of the concept takes place in the brain of a speaker. This stage may be called psychological. The message formed within the brain is transmitted along the nervous system to the speech organs. Therefore, we may say that the human brain controls the behaviour of the articulating organs which effects in producing a particular pattern of speech sounds. This second stage may be called physiological. The movements of the speech apparatus disturb the air stream thus producing sound waves. Consequently, the third stage may be called physical or acoustic. Further, any communication requires a listener, as well as a speaker. So the last stages are the reception of the sound waves by the listener's hearing physiological apparatus, the transmission of the spoken message through the nervous system to the brain and the linguistic interpretation of the information conveyed. . The sound phenomena have different aspects:
(a) the articulatory aspect;
(b) the acoustic aspect;
(c) the auditory (perceptive) aspect;
(d) the functional (linguistic) aspect.
Now it is possible to show the correlation between the stages of the speech chain and the aspects of the sound matter.
Articulation comprises all the movements and positions of the speech organs necessary to pronounce a speech sound. According to their main sound-producing functions, the speech organs can be divided into the following four groups:
(1) the power mechanism;
(2) the vibration mechanism;
(3) the resonator mechanism;
(4) the obstruction mechanism.
The functions of the power mechanism consist in the supply of the energy in the form of the air pressure and in regulating the force of the air stream. The power mechanism includes: (1) the diaphragm, (2) the lungs, (3) the bronchi, (4) the windpipe, or trachea. The glottis and the supra-glottal cavities enter into the power mechanism as parts of the respiratory tract. The vibration mechanism consists of the larynx, or voice box, containing the vocal cords. The most important function of the vocal cords is their role in the production of voice. The pharynx, the mouth, and the nasal cavity function as the principal resonators thus constituting the resonator mechanism. The obstruction mechanism (the tongue, the lips, the teeth, and the palate) forms the different types of obstructions.
The acoustic aspect studies sound waves. The basic vibrations of the vocal cords over their whole length produce the fundamental tone of voice. The simultaneous vibrations of each part of the vocal cords produce partial tones (overtones and harmonics). The number of vibrations per second is called frequency. Frequency of basic vibrations of the vocal cords is the fundamental frequency. Fundamental frequency determines the pitch of the voice and forms an acoustic basis of speech melody. Intensity of speech sounds depends on the amplitude of vibration.
^ , on the one hand, is a physiological mechanism. We can perceive sound waves within a range of 16 Hz-20.000 Hz with a difference in 3 Hz. The human ear transforms mechanical vibrations of the air into nervous and transmits them to brain. The listener hears the acoustic features of the fundamental frequency, formant frequency, intensity and duration in terms of perceptible categories of pitch, quality, loudness and length. On the other hand, it is also a psychological mechanism. The point is that repetitions of what might be heard as the same utterance are only coincidentally, if ever, acoustically identical. Phonetic identity is a. theoretical ideal. Phonetic similarity, not phonetic identity, is the criterion with which we operate in the linguistic analysis.
^ . Phonemes, syllables, stress, and intonation are linguistic phenomena. They constitute meaningful units (morphemes, words, word-forms, utterances). Sounds of speech perform different linguistic functions.
Let's have a look at the correlation of some phonetic terms discussed above.
vibration of the vocal cords
different positions and movements of speech organs
the amplitude of vibrations
the quantity of time during which the sound is pronounced
tempo, rhythm, pauses
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The phonetic system of language is a set of phonetic units arranged in an orderly way to replace each other in a given framework. Phonetics is divided into two major components (or systems): segmental phonetics, which is concerned with individual sounds (i.e. "segments" of speech) and suprasegmental phonetics dealing with the larger units of connected speech: syllables, words, phrases and texts.
1. Segmental units are sounds of speech (vowels and consonants) which form the vocalic and consonantal systems;
2. Suprasegmental, or prosodic, units are syllables, accentual (rhythmic) units, intonation groups, utterances, which form the subsystem of pitch, stress, rhythm, tempo, pauses.
Now we may define phonetics as a branch of linguistics that studies speech sounds in the broad sense, comprising segmental sounds, suprasegmental units and prosodic phenomena (pith, stress, tempo, rhythm, pauses).
Let us consider the four components of the phonetic system of language.
The first and the basic component of the phonetic structure of language is the system of its segmental phonemes existing in the material form of their allophones. The phonemic component has 3 aspects, or manifestations:
1. the system of its phonemes as discrete isolated units;
2. the distribution of the allophones of the phonemes;
3. the methods of joining speech sounds together in words and at their junction, or the methods of effecting VC, CV, CC, and VV transitions.
The second component is the syllabic structure of words. The syllabic structure has two aspects, which are inseparable from each other: syllable formation and syllable division.
The third component is the accentual structure of words as items of vocabulary (i.e. as pronounced in isolation). The accentual structure of words has three aspects: the physical (acoustic) nature of word accent; the position of the accent in disyllabic and polysyllabic words; the degrees of word accent.
The fourth component of the phonetic system is the intonational structure of utterances. The four components of the phonetic system of language (phonemic, syllabic, accentual and intonational) all constitute its pronunciation (in the broad sense of the term).
We know that the phonic medium can be studied from four points of view: the articulatory, the acoustic, the auditory, and the functional.
We may consider the branches of phonetics according to these aspects. Articulatory phonetics is the study of the way the vocal organs are used to produce speech sounds. Acoustic phonetics is the study of the physical properties of speech sounds. Auditory phonetics is the study of the way people perceive speech sounds. Of these three branches of phonetics, the longest established, and until recently the most highly developed, is articulatory phonetics. For this reason, most of terms used by linguists to refer to speech-sounds are articulatory in origin.
Phoneticians are also interested in the way in which sound phenomena function in a particular language. In other words, they study the abstract side of the sounds of language. The branch of phonetics concerned with the study of the functional (linguistic) aspect of speech sounds is called phonology. By contrast with phonetics, which studies all possible sounds that the human vocal apparatus can make, phonology studies only those contrasts in sound which make differences of meaning within language.
Besides the four branches of phonetics described above, there are other divisions of the science. We may speak of general phonetics and the phonetics of a particular language (special or descriptive phonetics). General phonetics studies all the sound-producing possibilities of the human speech apparatus and the ways they are used for purpose of communication. The phonetics of a particular language studies the contemporary phonetic system of the particular language, i.e. the system of its pronunciation, and gives a description of all the phonetic units of the language. Descriptive phonetics is based on general phonetics.
Linguists distinguish also historical phonetics whose aim is to trace and establish the successive changes in the phonetic system of a given language (or a language family) at different stages of its development. Historical phonetics is a part of the history of language.
Closely connected with historical phonetics is comparative phonetics whose aims are to study the correlation between the phonetic systems of two or more languages and find out the correspondences between the speech sounds of kindred languages.
Phonetics can also be theoretical and practical. At the faculties of Foreign Languages in this country, two courses are introduced:
Practical, or normative, phonetics that studies the substance, the material form of phonetic phenomena in relation to meaning.
Theoretical phonetics, which is mainly concerned with the functioning of phonetic units in language.
This dichotomy is that which holds between theoretical and applied linguists. Briefly, theoretical linguistics studies language with a view to constructing theory of its structure and functions and without regard to any practical applications that the investigation of language might have. Applied linguistics has as its concerns the application of the concepts and findings of linguistics to a variety of practical tasks, including language teaching.
All the branches of phonetics are closely connected not only with one another but also with other branches of linguistics. This connection is determined by the fact that language is a system whose components are inseparably connected with one another.
Phonetics is also connected with many other sciences. Acoustic phonetics is connected with physics and mathematics. Articulatory phonetics is connected with physiology, anatomy, and anthropology. Historical phonetics is connected with general history of the people whose language is studied; it is also connected with archaeology. Phonology is connected with communication (information) theory, mathematics, and statistics.
We distinguish between subjective, introspective methods of phonetic investigation and objective methods.
The oldest, simplest and most readily available method is the method of direct observation. This method consists in observing the movements and positions of one's own or other people's organs of speech in pronouncing various speech sounds, as well as in analyzing one's own kinaesthetic sensations during the articulation of speech sound in comparing them with auditory impressions.
Objective methods involve the use of various instrumental techniques (palatography, laryngoscopy, photography, cinematography, X-ray photography and cinematography and electromyography). This type of investigation together with direct observation is widely used in experimental phonetics. The objective methods and the subjective ones are complementary and not opposite to one another. Nowadays we may use the up-to-date complex set to fix the articulatory parameters of speech - so called articulograph.
Acoustic phonetics comes close to studying physics and the tools used in this field enable the investigator to measure and analyze the movement of the air in the terms of acoustics. This generally means introducing a microphone into the speech chain, converting the air movement into corresponding electrical activity and analyzing (Ксень, это слово у Красы через «s», но, по-моему, тут «z») the result in terms of frequency of vibration and the amplitude of vibration in relation to time. The spectra of speech sounds are investigated by means of the apparatus called the sound spectrograph. Pitch as a component of intonation can be investigated by intonograph.
The acoustic aspect of speech sounds is investigated not only with the help of sound-analyzing techniques, but also by means of speech-synthesizing devices.
Regional and stylistic varieties of English pronunciation
2. Classification of pronunciation variants in English. British and American pronunciation models
3. Types and styles of pronunciation
1. Spoken and Written language
We don't need to speak in order to use language. Language can be written,
broadcast from tapes and CDs, and produced by computers in limited ways.
Nevertheless, speech remains the primary way humans encode and broadcast
language. Speaking and writing are different in both origin and practice. Our
ability to use language is as old as humankind is. It reflects the biological and
cognitive modification that has occurred during the evolution of our species.
Writing is the symbolic representation of language by graphic signs. It is
comparatively recent cultural development. Spoken language is acquired without
specific formal instruction, whereas writing must be taught and learned through
deliberate effort. The origins of the written language lie in the spoken language,
not the other way round. .
The written form of language is usually a generally accepted standard and is the same throughout the country. But spoken language may vary from place to place. Such distinct forms of language are called dialects! The varieties of the language are conditioned by language communities ranging from small groups to nations. Speaking about the nations we refer to the national variants of the language. According to A.D. Schweitzer national language is a historical category evolving from conditions of economic and political concentration which characterizes the formation of nation. In the case of English there exists a great diversity in the realization of the language and particularly in terms of pronunciation. Though every national variant of English has considerable differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar; they all have much in common which gives us ground to speak of one and the same language — the English language.
Every national variety of language falls into territorial or regional dialects. Dialects are distinguished from each other by differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. When we refer to varieties in pronunciation only, we use the term accent. So local accents may have many features of pronunciation in common and are grouped into territorial or area accents. For certain reasons one of the dialects becomes the standard language of the nation and its pronunciation or accent - the standard pronunciation.
The literary spoken form has its national pronunciation standard. A standard may be defined as "a socially accepted variety of language established by a codified norm of correctness" (K. Macanalay). Standard national pronunciation is sometimes called "an orthoepic norm''. Some phoneticians however prefer the term "literary pronunciation".
Nowadays two main types of English are spoken in the English-speaking world: British English and American English.
According to British dialectologists (P. Trudgill, J. Hannah, A. Hughes and others), the following variants of English are referred to the English-based group: English English, Welsh English, Australian English, New Zealand English; to the American-based group: United States English, Canadian English. Scottish English and Ireland English fall somewhere between the two, being somewhat by themselves.
According to M. Sokolova and others, English English, Welsh English, Scottish English and Northern Irish English should be better combined into the British English subgroup, on the ground of political, geographical, cultural unity which brought more similarities - then differences for those variants of pronunciation.
Teaching practice as well as a pronouncing dictionary must base their
recommendations on one or more models. A pronunciation model is a carefully chosen and defined accent of a language.
In the nineteenth century Received Pronunciation (RP) was a social marker, a prestige accent of an Englishman. "Received" was understood in the sense of "accepted in the best society". The speech of aristocracy and the court phonetically was that of the London area. Then it lost its local characteristics and was finally fixed as a ruling-class accent, often referred to as "King's English". It was also the accent taught at public schools. With the spread of education cultured people not belonging to upper classes were eager to modify their accent in the direction of social standards.
In the first edition of English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917), Daniel Jones defined the type of pronunciation recorded as "Public School Pronunciation" (PSP). He had by 1926, however, abandoned the term PSP in favour of "Received Pronunciation" (RP). The type of speech he had in mind was not restricted to London and the Home Counties, however being characteristic by the nineteenth century of upper-class speech throughout the country. The Editor of the 14th Edition of the dictionary, A.C. Gimson, commented in 1977 "Such a definition of RP is hardly tenable today". A more broadly-based and accessible model accent for British English is represented in the 15th (1997) and the 16th (2003) editions – ВВС English. This is the pronunciation of professional speakers employed by the BBC as newsreaders and announcers. Of course, one finds differences between such speakers - they have their own personal characteristics, and an increasing number of broadcasters with Scottish, Welsh and Irish accents are employed. On this ground J.C. Wells (Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 33rd edition - 2000) considers that the term BBC pronunciation has become less appropriate. According to J.C. Wells, in England and Wales RP is widely regarded as a model for correct pronunciation, particularly for educated formal speech.
For American English, the selection (in EPD) also follows what is frequently heard from professional voices on national. network news and information programmes. It is similar to what has been termed General American, which refers to a geographically (largely non-coastal) and socially based set of pronunciation features. It is important to note that no single dialect - regional or social - has been singled out as an American standard. Even national media (radio, television, movies, CD-ROM, etc.), with professionally trained voices have speakers with regionally mixed features. However, Network English, in its most colourless form, can be described as a relatively homogeneous dialect that reflects the ongoing development of progressive American dialects. This "dialect" itself contains some variant forms. The variants involve vowels before [r], possible differences in words like cot and caught and some vowels before [l]. It is fully rhotic. These differences largely pass unnoticed by the audiences for Network English, and are also reflective of age differences. What are thought to be the more progressive (used by educated, socially mobile, and younger speakers) variants are considered as first variants. J.C. Wells prefers the term General American. This is what is spoken by the majority of Americans, namely those who do not have a noticeable eastern or southern accent.
Styles of speech or pronunciation are those special forms of speech suited to the aim and the contents of the utterance, the circumstances of communication, the character of the audience, etc. As D. Jones points out, a person may pronounce the same word or sequence of words quite differently under different circumstances.
Thus in ordinary conversation the word and is frequently pronounced [n] when unstressed (e.g. in bread and butter ['bredn 'butэ], but in serious conversation the word, even when unstressed, might often be pronounced [ænd]. In other words, all speakers use more than one style of pronunciation, and variations in the pronunciation of speech sounds, words and sentences peculiar to different styles of speech may be called stylistic variations.
Several different styles of pronunciation may be distinguished, although no generally accepted classification of styles of pronunciation has been worked out and the peculiarities of different styles have not yet been sufficiently investigated.
D. Jones distinguishes among different styles of pronunciation the rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the natural style used in addressing a fair-sized audience, the acquired style of the stage, and the acquired style used in singing.
L.V. Shcherba wrote of the need to distinguish a great variety of styles of speech, in accordance with the great variety of different social occasions and situations, but for the sake of simplicity he suggested that only two styles of pronunciation should be distinguished: (1) colloquial style characteristic of people's quiet talk, and (2) full style, which we use when we want to make our speech especially distinct and, for this purpose, clearly articulate all the syllables of each word.
The kind of style used in pronunciation has a definite effect on the phonemic and allophonic composition of words. More deliberate and distinct utterance results in the use of full vowel sounds in some of the unstressed syllables. Consonants, too, uttered in formal style, will sometimes disappear in colloquial. It is clear that the chief phonetic characteristics of the colloquial style are various forms of the reduction of speech sounds and various kinds of assimilation. The degree of reduction and assimilation depends on the tempo of speech.
S.M. Gaiduchic distinguishes five phonetic styles: solemn (торжественный), "scientific business (научно-деловой), official business (официально-деловой), everyday (бытовой), and familiar (непринужденный). As we may see the above-mentioned phonetic styles on the whole correlate with functional styles of the language. They are differentiated on the basis of spheres of discourse.
The other way of classifying phonetic styles is suggested by J.A. Dubovsky who discriminates the following five styles: informal ordinary, formal neutral, formal official, informal familiar, and declamatory. The division is based on different degrees of formality or rather familiarity between the speaker and the listener. Within each style subdivisions are observed. M.Sokolova and other's approach is slightly different. When we consider the problem of classifying phonetic styles according to the criteria described above we should distinguish between segmental and suprasegmental level of analysis because some of them (the aim of the utterance, for example) result in variations of mainly suprasegmental level, while others (the formality of situation, for example) reveal segmental varieties. So it seems preferable to consider each level separately until a more adequate system of correlation is found.
The style-differentiating characteristics mentioned above give good grounds for establishing intonational styles. There are five intonational styles singled out mainly according to the purpose of communication and to which we could refer all the main varieties of the texts. They are as follows:
Academic style (Scientific).
Declamatory style (Artistic).
Conversational style (Familiar).
But differentiation of intonation according" to the purpose of communication is not enough; there are other factors that affect intonation in various situations. Besides any style is seldom realized in its pure form.
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