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Changes in Consonant Quality

1. Voicing and Devoicing. The sound [t] in the intervocalic position is made voiced, e.g. better [betə] – [bedə], letter [letə] – [ledə].

2. Loss of [h]. In rapid speech initial [h] is lost in form words and tends to die out from the language. Even most highly educated people subconsciously drop it completely. So instead of: He wants her to come [hi w‹nts h3 tə km] one hears: [i w‹nts 3 tə km]. It is evident, of course, that the loss of [h] in stressed syllables sounds wrong.

3. Initial «hw». Some conservative RP speakers pronounce words like why, when, which with an initial weak breath-like sound [h] – [M]. The general tendency is, however, to pronounce [w].

4. Loss of final [ŋ]. The pronunciation of [in] for the termination [iŋ] has been retained as an archaic form of the RP: sittin', lookin'. These occasional usages are not likely to become general.

5. Spread of «dark» [l]. This tendency is evidently influenced by the American pronunciation and some advanced RP speakers are often heard saying [l] instead of [l] as in believe, for example. There is no threat in spreading it widely yet but it is quite common for pop singers now.

6. Glottal stop. In RP the glottal stop [?] can appear only in the following two environments: a) as a realization of syllable-final [t] before a following consonant as in batman [bætman – [bæ?mn] or not quite [n‹t 'kwait] – [n‹? 'kwait]; b) in certain consonant clusters as in box, simply [b‹? ks], [si? mpli], where it is known as «glottal reinforcements». The use of glottal stop by advanced RP speakers produces a «clipped» effect on a foreigner.

7. Palatalized final [k’] is often heard in words week, quick, etc.: [wik’], [kwik'].

8. Linking and intrusive [r]. It has been estimated that all English accents are divided into «rhotic» and «non-rhotic». Rhotic accents are those which actually pronounce [r] corresponding to orthographic «r». RP is a non-rhotic accent but most speakers of it do pronounce orthographic «r» word-finally before a vowel: It is a faraway country. It is known as linking «r». Failure by students to pronounce it does not usually affect comprehension but may result in their sounding foreign. As a further development and by analogy with linking «r», «r» is inserted before a following vowel even though there is no «r» in spelling. This «r» is known as intrusive «r». The actual situation is that younger RP speakers do have it after [a] as in idea of, China and.

It is said that nowadays in colloquial fluent speech there is a strong tendency towards elision, reduction and assimilation. This tendency is reflected in the pronunciation of the young generation: tutor [t©u:tə], second year [sekənd¯iə], perhaps you [pə'hæp©u:], gives you [giv¯u:], as you know [ə¯ju: 'nəª]; in the transcribed texts of British textbooks: him [im], he [i:], her [3], his [iz], can [kn], from [frm], have to [hæftə], usually [ju:¯wəli], last time [la:staim]; even in the traditional spelling: C'm on, baby, Sorry 'bout that; Oh, le'mme see; Oh, I dunno; Must’ve put’em all together. Why d'you ask? What d’ja think?



9. Combinative changes. Sound combinations [tj, dj, sj] are pronounced as [t©, d¯,©] respectively, e.g. actual [æktjuəl] – [ækt©uəl], graduate ['grædjªeit] – [græd¯ªeit], issue ['isju:] – [i©u:]. In the clusters of two stops, where the loss of plosion is usually observed, each sound is pronounced with audible release, e.g. active [æktiv] – [æktiv], sit down [sitdaªn] – [sit 'daªn].

10. Some non-systematic variations in RP phonemes take place: a) Unstressed prefixes ex- and con- have gained orthographical pro-nunciation: excuse [iks'kju:z]–[eks'kju:z], exam [ig'zəm]–[eg'zəm], continue [kən'tinju:]–[k‹n'tinju;], consent [kən'sent]–[k‹n'sent].

b) The days of the week: Sunday [sndi] – [sndei], Monday – [mndei].

c) Note also free variants in often: [‹fən] – [‹ft(ə)n].

d) Other cases: economics [ikə'n‹miks] – [ekə'n‹miks].

 

 


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 1270


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