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Phoneme and Allophone. Sound system of English.


Phonic shaping of speech is called pronunciation. The term pronunciation has several meanings. In narrow meaning it is the articulation of sounds; in wider meaning it relates to:

- sound system of language (segmental / phonemic component);

- syllabic structure of language (syllable formation and syllable division);

- word stress;

- intonation.

1 .Segmental / phonemic component. Spoken message can be considered as a succession of the smallest, further indivisible units - segments which are easily distinguished in a flow of speech. They are called speech sounds. Sequences of speech sounds constitute the material form of morphemes and words. Linguistically distinctive sounds, capable to differentiate the meaning of morphemes are called phonemes. They are abstract representation of sounds in language - "sounds in the mind". Each language has its own set of phonemes - the alphabet.

Realization of a definite phoneme in a particular position in the word is called allophone / variant - "sound in the mouth".

The segmental / phonemic components - phonemes are divided into two main types: vowels (V) and consonants (C) with further subdivision. Each phoneme has a definite number of allophones which occur in particular positions in words. The occurence of allophones in different positions is called their distribution. The articulation of allophones at the junctions of words in a flow of speech merge and interpenetrate into each other. There are rules for joining the sounds together in any language, e.g.: V+C, C+C, V+V.

The segmental component of language phonic structure is studied as:

- a system of phonemes;

- patterns of allophones and their distribution;

- a set of methods of joining speech sounds / allophones in words and at their junctions - adjustment phenomena / co-articulation.


5. The Prosodic System of English: intonation.

Words in speech are not used in isolation but in phrases and utterances. Syllables of words are pronounced with different degrees of pitch, stress, and tempo. Variations in pitch, stress, tempo and rhythm are supra-segmental, or prosodic, features. Prosody conveys information the words do not consist of. Procody is concerned with:

- how the utterance is broken into tone units (syntagmas);

- position of stress in the utterance (emphasis that makes one word more prominent), e.g.:

We donТt want this. We donТt want this.

- intonation or melody - the patterned way in which the pitch of voice changes in the utterance, e.g.:

You don't ↓ know, (statement) You don't ↑ know.(question)

↓ Sorry, (excuse) ↑Sorry, (asking for repetition)

In writing punctuation marks, italics, underlines are the ways of representation of pitch and stress, e.g.:

This is my son John. This is my son, John.

Functions of prosodic elements:

- focus - to highlight one particular word in the utterance and to make other words less significant;

- role in discourse - to indicate the role of the utterance in a larger unit;

- intention of the speaker Ч to make difference how the elements in the utterance are to be interpreted.

Intonation (from Lat. intonare - "to pronounce loudly*') is a rhythmic melodical aspect of speech serving to express syntactic meaning and emotionally expressive colouring. Main components of intonation:

- pitch (висота тону), or speech melody (мелодика мовленн€), is the main component of intonation. It is described as a variation of voice. Different levels of pitch are tones that make the contour of the utterance. All languages make difference between the falling and the rising pitch patterns. The distinction is used to express a contrast between stating and questioning.

Phonetcicians single out from 4 to 12 nuclear tones. The most important nuclear tones for teaching practice in English are:

* the low fall - starts higher than the mid-level and reaches the lowest pitch level. Phrases with the low fall sound categorical and final, e.g.: Lin guistics is a scien tific study of language.

* the high fall - starts very high and reaches the lowest pitch level. It adds personal concern, interest and warmth, sounds lively, emotional in statements, e.g.: It's * marvelous!

* the low rise - starts from the lowest level and reaches the medium pitch level. Conveys a feeling of non-finality, incompleteness, hesitation, e.g.: That's^ settled, isn't it?

* the high rise - starts from the medium and reaches the high pitch. Expresses the speaker's active searching for information, asking for repetition or checking information, helps to keep the conversation going, e.g.: Will you / help me?', Pardon, Is it^truel

* the fall-rise - is a compound tone as a combination of the low fall - low rise or the high fall - low rise. Expresses correction or contradiction, greeting and leave-taking, e.g.: He is ч thirty. - He is ^thirty-/ five. ♦the rise-fall - is also a compound tone. The voice first rises from a fairly low level and reaches the mid-level, then the lowest pitch level. Denotes that speaker is deeply impressed, e.g.: Are you'sure? - ? \ Yes.

* * the mid-level - is used in non-final intonation groups expressing non- finality. It is marked with the sign > in the text, and a dash - on the tonogram, e.g.: Couldn't youhelp me? > At present /1'm too ^ busy.

The English conversation is highly emotional, that's why the high fall and the fall-rise prevail.

- speech tempo. Tempo means the rate / speed of producing syllables, words, and sentences. The average rate is 2-4 syllables per second for slow speech (lento), 3-6 syllables for normal speech, 5-9 for fast speech (allegro). Tempo can be varied by the individual speaker. When two stressed syllables occur close together, speech tempo is slower, when they are separated by unstressed syllables the speed is faster.

- rhythm is gradation of stressed and unstressed, long and short syllables. In English rhythm observes roughly equal intervals of time between stressed syllables irrespective of the number of unstressed syllables in them. Intonation is based on rhythmic groups. Rhythmic group is one or more words connected by sense or grammar, but containing only one stressed syllable and pronounced in one breath. Each rhythmic group within intonation is pronounced with the same amount of time.

- sentence stress (фразовий наголос) - the amount of force given to particular words / syllables by a speaker to convey a particular meaning. It is also called accent because a speaker accents certain words in the utterance.


Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1161

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