You are on page 1of 20

CHAPTER II THEORETICAL BACKGROUND A. Definition of Phonetic and Phonology The study of language in general is called linguistics.

Linguistics is subdivided into phonology and grammar. Based on Pennington (2007:1) in Phonology in Context states, The study of how sounds are organized into systems and utilized in languages is the central concern of phonology. The study of speech sounds may be carried out from different viewpoints. That meaning is deliberated further by Crystal (1980:268) in A First Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics states, Phonology is a branch of linguistics which studies the sounds the human vocal apparatus can produce, and which are studied by phonetics, only a relatively small number are used distinctively in any one language. Further Ramelan (1979:2) in English Phonetics Part I states, When the learners study speech sounds as sounds, without regard to their function as signalling units of language, the science is called phonetics. Through studying phonology and phonetics will enable someone to get full understanding of the use of sounds in English speech. Phonetics is divided into two kinds, they are Articulatory Phonetics and Acoustic Phonetics. The study speech sounds from the point of view of their ways of production by the speech organs is called as Articulatory Phonetics. It is closely related to Physiology, which is the study of organs of living beings. On the other hand, the study of speech sounds

from the point of view of their physical attributes, and deals among others with measuring the loudness, pitches and other natural characteristics of sounds is called with Acoustic Phonetics (Ramelan 1979:2 in English Phonetics Part I) Based on the definition above, it can be assumed that phonology is the study about phones, and phonetics is the study about specification of the sound or phones heard in speech of a language. B. Description of English Phonemes Speech is a continuous flow of sound with interruptions only when necessary to take in air to breathe, or to organize the thoughts. The first task when analyse in speech is to divide up this continuous flow into smaller chunks that are easier to deal with is called segmentation, and the resulting smaller sound units are termed segments. Segments do not operate in isolation, but combine to form words. Two words of this kind distinguished by a single sound are called minimal pair. For example phoneme /m/ in the word man, is replaced by sound /p/, it becomes a new word pan. A set of words distinguished in this way is termed a minimal set. Through such processes, eventually the learners can determine those speech sounds which are phonologically significant in a given language. According to Collins and Mees in Practical Phonetics and Phonology (2008:11), Phonemes is the contractive units of sounds which can be used to change meaning. The learners can identify a great variety of different sounds that humans can make.

While based on Jones in An Outline of English Phonetics (1972:49), A phoneme may be described roughly as a family of sounds consisting of an important sound of the language (generally the most frequently used member of that family) together with other related sounds which take its place in particular soundsequences or under particular conditions of length or stress or intonation. The speech organs are not like a machine which can produce the same sound several times with exactly the same quality. If someone pronounces such a sound as // three times, it will appear that those three sounds differ, to a greater or lesser degree, from each other in their qualities. This is especially true if the sounds is followed by different sounds, for instance in /:/. However, these small differences will not be noticed by the hearer, nor will they be realized by the speaker as long as they will not cause any difference in heard and interpreted as the same sound. In fact the difference between two sounds is very minute, and can be predicated in terms of environments. But usually in speaking the articulators will modify the flow of air so that sounds are produced. When they do this, it will produce a sequence of vowels and consonants that make up syllables. Syllables usually contain a vowel, and may start and end with one or more consonants. When a speaker produces an utterance, for example good heaven, two features can be distinguished:


Segmental features or just segmental, which refer to sound units arranged in a sequential order; the example above has nine segmental features, phonetically, transcribed in following way / gud-hvnz /


Suprasegmental features, or just suprasegmentals, which refer to such features as stress, pitch, length, intonation, and other features that always accompany the production of segmental. When segmentals and suprasegmentals are compared with each

other, the following distinctions can be mentioned: Segmentals can be studied in isolation, whereas, suprasegmentals cannot. Every utterance may be cut up or segmented into a linear sequence of segmental features, each of which can be examined and analyzed separately without considering the other segmentals in the same utterance. The first segment of the utterance quoted above, namely /g/, may be studied from the point of view of its mechanism of production, without considering the next sounds such as /u/, /d/ etc. Thus, it may be described in terms of its way of production as voiced velar stop, this means that the sound is produced by putting the back of the tongue completely against the velum to obstruct the out-going air, the sudden release of which causes a plossive sound to be heard, while the vocal cords are made to vibrate. On the other hand, suprasegmentals cannot be studied in isolation. The utterance /gud-hvnz/ above cannot be segmented into its constituting suprasegmentals, without reference to the segmental features they accompany. If the learners distinguish three degrees of stress, for instance,

further statements have to be made as to where each them falls, whether on the first, second, or third syllable. Another thing that has to be mentioned is that suprasegmental features have to be comparatively or relatively described. Stress, for example, is said to be primary or strongest because it is strongest when compared with the other stresses in the same utterance, so it has to be analyzed and described in relation to the other stresses. If in every utterance three degrees of significant stress are recognized, they should always be recognized in any utterance irrespective of who is producing the utterance. The actual or absolute stress used by one speaker may be different from that used by another speaker, but the same number of degrees of stress can still be observed. It is the relative qualities of suprasegmentals that count in language, and not the absolute qualities. The significance of the relative qualities of stress is also true of the other suprasegmentals, such as the relative degrees of pitch in producing the exclamation Good Heaven by a boy and a girl. Three relative degrees of pitch are used by each of them, which may be called medium, high, and low pitch, to convey the idea of surprise and thus the relative pitches in the two utterances are the same. The absolute pitches used by the two are obviously different, because it is generally known that boys mostly speak with lower vowel pitch than girl, but as it has been pointed out before, these absolute qualities are not important in the study of language.


Every language has its own structure and should be analyzed in terms of its own. This means that every language has its own sound system, including its segmental and suprasegmental system. In this research, the writer only focuses to analyse segmentals not suprasegmentals. So she will analyses about the errors in pronouncing simple vowels, diphthongs and consonants without considering their positions. C. English Phonetic Transcription One of the most important achievements of phonetics in the past century has been to arrive at a system of phonetic symbols that anyone can learn to use and that can be used to represent the sounds of any language. This is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Taking English as an example of a writing system that does not always give a reliable guide to pronunciation, it is helpful to use phonetic transcription instead of ordinary spelling. So the applications of phonetics is to provide transcription to indicate pronunciation. It is specially useful for languages like English which have inconsistent spellings. For example, in English, the sound /i:/ can be represented as e (be), ea (dream) etc. The learners can distinguish between phonetic and phonemic transcription. A phonetic transcription can indicate minute details of the articulation of any particular sounds by the differently shaped symbols or by adding little marks. According to Jones (1986:27) in The Pronunciation of English, Phonetic transcription has often


been defined as a kind of alphabetic writing in which each letter represents one sound and never any other, one sound one symbol. Phonetic and phonemic forms of transcription have their own

specific uses. Phonemic transcription may at first sight appear less complex, but it is in reality a far more sophisticated system, since it requires from the reader a good knowledge of the language concerned, it eliminates superfluous details and retains only the information essential to meaning. Even, in generally a phonetic transcription only shows a very small proportion of the phonetic variation that occurs, often only the most significant phonetic feature of a particular context. A student of language has as his primary goal the mastery of the spoken language to be learned. Since phonetic transcription represents speech sound consistently, it can be used as a reliable guide to have control of the spoken language. Therefore the learners should acquaint and familiarize their self with phonetic symbols and the values assigned to them so that he can read phonetic writing and transcribe utterances by means of phonetic symbols. In case the learner comes across an unfamiliar word and does not know how to pronounce it, the learners will able to consult a dictionary to see how it is pronounced, which is indicated in phonetic transcription. If the learners wants to transcribe the pronunciation of a word the learners will have to use phonetic symbols because they represent sound consistently.


If a phonetic transcription does not take into account the differences of sounds mentioned above, which are significant and are predictable in terms of their environments, it is said to be a broad transcription. This kind of transcription uses a small number of symbols to represent sounds. One symbol represents a small family of sounds, for instance the phonetic symbol /a/ is used to symbolize the fronted in /ai/ and the backed in /au/. Such a family of sounds, which are minutely different from one another and whose differences are predictable in terms of their environments, are called a phoneme. Although a broad transcription employs a small number of symbols, it does not represent speech sounds ambiguously since the small differences are predictable. In fact, if a phonetic transcription were to use a separate symbol for every discernible sound, it would involve a very large number of symbols, which will make a phonetic transcription difficult to read. A phonetic transcription may transcribe the small differences mentioned above by using diacritics or other specifics symbols to indicate them. If phonetic transcription uses special symbols for minutely different sounds that belong to one phoneme, such as mentioned before, it is said to be a narrow transcription. Jones (1962:xiii) in his book The Phonetics of English states that many phoneticians make use of a broad transcription than narrow transcription, in which length marks (:) are used to show a difference in quality as well as in length. Because a broad transcription is comparatively more practical and more easily learned than a narrow


transcription, because it uses the smallest number of symbols which represent sounds unambiguously. Transcription is not only used to represent words in isolation but can also be employed for whole stretches. Broad i: I u: U
: :

Narrow i I U

Table 2.1 Difference between Broad and Narrow (Jones, The Phonetics of English, 1962:xiii) Finally, the whole science of phonetics is an essential part of the subject of linguistics. In her opinion, before the learners study about language further, they have to know about phoneme first, because phoneme is the smallest unit in the sound system of language. D. The Comparison English Sound System and Indonesian Sound System 1. Simple Vowels A vowel is also different from consonant in terms of its way of production. Ramelan in English Phonetics Part I (1979:48) states, A vowel may be defined as a voiced sound during the production of which the air passes out freely and continuously throughout the middle of the mouth without such narrowing as would cause any audible friction.


Some basic characteristics of a vowel sound can be deduced from the definition above such as oral, voiced, and central. Any sound that meets these three requirements is a vowel sound, and conversely, any sound which lacks at least one of these basic features is not a vowel, but a consonant. All vowel sounds are principally produced by the vibration of the vocal cords, which are situated in the larynx. This sound which is known as voice in phonetics, is then modified by the various shapes and sizes of the speech organs above the larynx, especially those of the mouth cavity. These shapes and sizes of the mouth cavity which act as a resonating chamber for the modification of the sound produced in the larynx, are responsible for the different qualities of vowel sounds. Vowel sounds are, therefore, classified and described on the basis of the following variables : a. Which part of the tongue is raised b. How high in the mouth some part of the tongue is raised (the degree of raising the tongue) c. The position of the two lips, that is, whether the two lips are rounded or unrounded. For practical purposes the tongue is conveniently divided into three parts, the front, the centre, and the back of the tongue. When the front of the tongue is raised, to modify the sound already produced in the larynx, the vowel sound is called a front vowel like /i/, /I/, /e/. Beside


that, the central part of the tongue is raised, the vowel is called a central vowel like // or inverted /e/, which is also called schwa. When the back of the tongue is raised, the vowel sound is called a back vowel. English has the following back vowels /u/, //, /:/ differing from one another in the degree of raising the back of the tongue, ranging from the highest to the lowest raising in the mouth. In general, Indonesian students do not have difficulty in pronouncing these back series of English vowels such as found in the words could, cord, since they are not so much different from their Indonesian counterparts. The tongue may also remain low on the bottom of the mouth in producing some vowel sounds, in which case the vowel sound is called an open vowel. In between these two extremes in the degree of raising the tongue, namely the close and open positions, two more degrees are recognized, which are equidistant from the first two degrees mentioned before and from each other. These two degrees of raising the tongue are called the half-open and the half-close positions from below. Thus, there are four degrees of raising the tongue in the production of vowel sounds, so that four kinds of vowel sounds can be classified on the basis of raising the tongue, close, half-close, halfopen, and open vowels. In producing a vowel sound the lips may be rounded, spread, and neutral. For all English front vowels the lips are always spread. For


the back vowels the lip are always rounded, while for the central vowels the lips are always neutral. In English there are twelve vowels based on Jones (1972:61) in An Outline of English Phonetics, they are: a. /i:/, e.g. key b. /i/, e.g. bit c. /:/, e.g. bar d. //, e.g. bud e. /e/, e.g. bet f. //, e.g. bat g. //, e.g. hot h. /:/, e.g. cord i. /u/, e.g. could j. /u:/, e.g. cool k. //, e.g. alive l. /:/, e.g. bird

In Indonesian has six vowels in Tata Bahasa Baku Bahasa Indonesia (1992:51), they are: a. /i/, ikan b. /e/, ekor c. //, emas d. /a/, anak e. /u/, ukir f. /o/, obat In this paper, the writer does not analyse comparison between English and Indonesian phonemes further.


2. Diphthongs On the basis of whether or not there is deliberate glide in producing a vowel sound two kinds of vowels sounds are distinguished, namely pure vowels and diphthongs. Based on Ramelan in English Phonetics Part I (1979:56), A pure vowel is a vowel in the production of which the organs of speech remain in a given position for a appreciable period of time. A pure vowel is found, for instance, in the words he, who, far, etc. While a diphthong is a vowel sound in which there is a intentional glide made from one vowel position to another vowel position, and which is produced in one single impulse of breath. The vowel sounds in the following words are diphthongs since there is a deliberate glide made from one vowel position to another vowel position and produced with one single impulse of breath: no, may, hoe, high, boy, etc. The term glide here refers to transitional sounds heard when the speech organs move from one position for given sound to that for another. Although a diphthong is normally represented in phonetic writing by two vowel symbols, this does not follow that both vowel sounds are equally syllabic. It is pronounced in one syllable, or produced with one single impulse of breath. Therefore, when the sequence of two vowel sounds is produced with two impulses of breath, it is not a diphthong but it is said to dissyllabic, or just an ordinary sequence of two vowel sounds, for example tour (u : a diphthong), to an end (u :


a sequence of vowels). Two vowels produced with one impulse of breath also implies that only one of those two vowel sounds is louder or more sonorous than the other. In other words, only one of the two is syllabic, while the other vowel sound is non-syllabic. English has nine diphthongs in all, as followed: No 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Closing Diphthong Centring Diphthong /ei/, day /i/, clear /ai/, drive /e/, air /i/, voice /u/, poor /au/, town //, pour /ou/, window Table 2.2 English Diphthongs (Ramelan in English Phonetics, 1979:77)

Indonesian also uses diphthongs. Indonesian has three diphthongs, they are /ai/, /au/, and /oi/. They are written /ay/, /aw/, and /oy/. The two vocal letters in that diphthongs symbolyze one vocal sound or phoneme that can not be separated. The sequence of usual vocals are two vocals (phonemes) which has one breath blowing so that it is including in different syllables. The sequence of two vocals in Indonesian are: /i/ /iu/, tiup /io/, kios /ia/, tiap /e/ /ei/, mei /ea/, beasiswa /eo/, feodal /a/ /ae/, daerah /ai/, mainan /au/, kaum /o/ /oa/, soal /u/ /ui/, kuil /ua/, dua /ue/, kue /uo/, kuota // /i/, seikat /e/, seekor /a/, seakan /u/ seutas /o/, seorang // keenam

Table 2.3 Indonesian Diphthongs (Tata Bahasa Baku Bahasa Indonesia, 1992:52)

In this research, the writer does not give explanation further about comparison between English and Indonesian diphthongs. 3. Consonants Speech sounds fall under two great classes namely vowels and consonants. The term consonants is negatively defined that is, sounds which are not vowels are consonants. It is, therefore, of some use if the basic features of vowels are more closely examined. Based on William OGrady in Contemporary Linguistic An Introduction (1989:17), Consonantal sounds which may be voiced or voiceless are made with a narrow or complete closure in the vocal tract. The air flow is either blocked momentarily or restricted so much that voice is produced as air flows pass the constriction. According to Collins and Mees in Practical Phonetics and Phonology (2008:40), Consonants are usually referred to by brief descriptive labels stating energy, place of articulation and manner of articulation. There are some characteristics from consonants, as follows: a. Whether the sound is voiced or voiceless. Voiced consonants are made when the air passing vibrates the vocal cords or they lightly touch each other. For example vowels and nasals like /m, n, /. Voiceless consonants is the sound it makes is the hissing sound as the air escapes over the tongue like /s/, but voiced counterpart /z/


does not only have the hissing sound, but also the buzzing of the vocal cord vibrating, for example voiceless are /p,t,k/ b. The place or places of articulation where the obstruction is made. 1). Lips (lower lip and upper lip). Sounds made with closure or near closure of the lips are called bilabials, for examples sounds /p, b, m/ in pin, bin, more 2). Lower lip and upper teeth. Some consonants are made by putting upper teeth against the lower lip. Sounds produced using this obstruction are called labiodental, for examples /f/ in free, and /v/ in very 3). Teeth. Consonants may be made by placing the tongue between the teeth. Such speech sounds are called interdental, for examples the initial and final sounds of the words: the, thing, bath 4). Alveolar ridge. The point just behind the upper teeth is said alveolar ridge. The sounds made by bringing the tip tongue near this ridge or touching the tip tongue to the ridge, may be said alveolar, like in the words top, dog 5). Palate. The tip or blade of the tongue may make contact with the upper surface of the mouth a little further back than the alveolar ridge. The place near it is palate and sounds produced at this place are called palatals, for examples sounds /t, , d/ in the words church, washes, giant


6). Velum. The position of velum is at the rear roof of the mouth. Sounds made with the tongue at this area are called velar. Sounds /k and g/ in car, king, gallon 7). Glottis. Glottis is in the larynx. It is space between the vocal fold. Sounds produced by adjusting the glottal opening to states other than voicing and voicelessness are called glottal, for example sound /h/ in high.

Figure 2.1 Place of Articulation ( c. The manner of articulation is classified into: 1). Plossives/stops are produced by completely blocking the airflow, then it is released suddenly so that the airflow makes an explosive sound. There are six plosive consonants /p, b, t, d, k, g/. 2). Fricatives are produced by a narrowing of the air passage at some point in the vocal tract. When the air flow is expelled by


pressure from the lungs, or escapes with a kind of hissing sound, for examples /f, v, s, z, , , , / 3). Affricates are formed similar to plosives. The difference is the articulating organs that are separated more slowly than the plosive ones. In pronouncing plosive the separation is made with great rapidity, for examples /t and d/ 4). Nasal sounds are produced by closing the mouth cavity completely at some place and the uvular is lowered so that the air flow is free to go out through the nasal cavity, for examples /m, n, / 5). Approximant is the class of sounds which are collectively. One of these is the lateral, in this type, the centre of the tongue is in close contact with the roof of the mouth, but the sides of the tongue are lowered so that air can escape along the sides of the tongue. A post-alveolar approximant is rather vague concept, but the term is normally used to refer to the /r/ sound of the English of America and England, where the tongue is slightly curled backwards but does not make contact with the upper surface of the mouth.
Place of articulation Bilabial Labiodental Interdental Alveolar Palatal Palato Alveol ar Velar Glotal

Manner of Articulation Stop Voiceless Vioced

p b

t d

k g


Fricatives Voiceless Voiced Nasal Voiced Affricatives Voiceless Voiced Approximant Voiceless Voiced central Voiced lateral

f v m

s z n

h t d

r l

Table 2.4 English Consonants (OGrady in Linguistic an Introduction 1993:27) Based on the articulation, the Indonesian consonants are also categorized as voicing, place of articulation and manner of articulation. Voicing is divided into voiced and voiceless. The place of articulation is also is divided into bilabial, labiodental, alveolar, palatal, velar, and glottal, and based on the manner of articulation they are divided into stop consonants, fricatives, nasal, approximant and lateral. But in the Indonesian consonants there are also semivowels. They can be seen in this diagram.
Place of articulation Bilabial Labiodental Dental/Alveolar Palatal Velar Glotal

Manner of articulation Stop Voiceless Vioced Fricatives Voiceless Voiced Nasal Voiced Approximant Voiced Lateral Voiced Semivocal Voiced

p b f

t d s z n r l

c j s

k g x

Table 2.5 Indonesian Consonants (Tata Bahasa Baku Bahasa Indonesia, 1992:55)


Based on the table 2.4 and 2.5, the English language has twenty four consonants and Indonesian has twenty two consonants.