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Course Paper
Modification of vowels in connected speech
in English and Romanian

Submitted by Popescu Tatiana

Third years student
Group 302
Adviser: Tataru Nina
Senior Lecturer

Chisinau 2016

The Content


Chapter One. Modification of the English and Romanian vowels.

1.1. The notion of Phoneme
1.2. The Features. The main characteristics of English and Romanian vowels in
the Phonetic system of the Language.
1.3. The classification of English and Romanian vowels..
1.4. Quantitative changes of English and Romanian vowels.
1.5. Qualitative changes of English and Romanian vowels..
Chapter Two.

The topic of course paper is modification of vowels in connected speech in English and Romanian.
The theoretical study and pragmatic investigation of this topic is devoted to general notion of the English
sounds and especially of vowels.

Vowel sounds are voiced sounds. In other words, they begin with air flowing between the closed
vocal cords and causing them to vibrate. They are made with the throat and mouth more wide open than
other phonetic classes of sound. Vowels sound different from each other because of the different mouth
shape each one entails. Vowel sounds carry most of the energy of speech.
Phonetics is the systematic classification and descriptions of speech sounds. While it is possible to
describe phonetically the sounds of a particular language, there is nothing in principle to prevent a human
producing any of the worlds speech sounds, or indeed using throat and mouth to produce some sounds not
used in language at all, and these are generally able to be described phonetically.
The research work conducted for the description of this topic was interesting for several reasons.
First of all, it is quite interesting to understand better the Phonology System of the English and Romanian
languages. In spite of that the system of vowels of the English language seems to use as usual and well
known theme, we discovered a lot of interesting to us things. It is also useful to enrich our knowledge on
these essential phonetic signs.
So , the main aim of the Work is to present the modification of English and Romanian vowels
according to the common distinctive feature of the vowel phonemes. To achieve the aim it was necessary to
solve the following tasks:
1. To give general notion of the phoneme.
2. To describe vowel feature.
3. To present main characteristics of the English and Romanian vowels in the Phonetic
system of the language paying attention to the principles of classification.
4. To study the principal types of English and Romanian vowels.
5. To describe quantitative and qualitative changes of English and Romanian vowels.
To completing this Course Paper the following research methods were applied:

Analysis is the leading research method because it was used throughout the whole work. It
was used for the purpose to generalize some ideas and come to the conclusions.
Classification as the research was applied to the grouping the vowel phonemes according to
some common features.
Method of Description was used while completing the whole Work, both in its theoretical and
practical parts.
Generalization as the method of investigation was used in each point of practical part for
systematization the information presented within each point, and of course, in the conclusion to
present general conclusion on the entire work.

The work consists of the Introduction, 2 Chapters (one is theoretical and the other is
practical), the Conclusion, Bibliography and Appendix.
The Introduction includes the main goal and objectives of the investigation, the actuality of
the topic and motives for its choice.
Chapter 1 presents the general idea of modification of vowels in connected speech, general
description, classification and cases of usage.

This dissertation investigates the Romanian vowel system from historical, phonological and
phonetic perspectives, centering on marginal contrasts, in which a sharp distinction between
allophones and phonemes is insufficient to capture the relationships among sounds. Study of
both morpho-phonological alternations and synchronic phonetics is necessary to understand
the forces driving the phonemic system of Romanian, which is under-studied with respect to
other Romance languages. The dissertation first investigates a historically-based phonological
question. In the history of Romanian //, it is shown that a combination of native phonological
processes and borrowings shaped the vowels distribution, and although // is synchronically
phonemic it remains restricted to a small set of phonologicallydetermined contexts. A
quantitative synchronic counterpart to this study describes relative type frequency among
Romanian phonemes, and argues that //, as well as diphthongs /ee a/ and /oe a/, are marginally
contrastive in the language. They have very low type frequency, and their distribution can
almost be predicted, although minimal pairs demonstrate their status as phonemes. While //
lies in a pairwise relationship of marginal contrast with its former allophone //, the
diphthongs contrastiveness is reduced by their large role in the morphology. Turning to the
acoustics of the Romanian vowel system, a phonetic study shows the positioning of
monophthongs and diphthongs in the Romanian vowel space, as well as their durational
characteristics. The central vowels // and // are shown to be acoustically distinct;
additionally, two pilot perceptual experiments investigate the relationship between these
vowels marginal contrastiveness and their perception. A second study, which compares
coarticulation in Romanian and Italian, examines vowels characteristics as a function of
phonetic context. Disparities in magnitudes of coarticulation across contexts and languages
are argued to parallel phonological differences between the two languages. These differences
additionally have implications for models of the relationship between inventory size and
acoustic vowel space. The dissertation emphasizes the interrelations between phonetics and
phonology, and demonstrates the influence of morphology on phonological contrasts and
phonetic processes in Romanian. In conclusion, a model is proposed for comparing the relative
influences of lexical contrast, relative frequency, and morphology on the members of a
phonological system.