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I.S.P Joaqun V.

Gonzalez
Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

/f/ and /v/


/f/ and /v/ are labiodental fricative consonants. /f/ is
voiceless fortis and /v/ is voiced lenis. But, what
does this exactly mean?

Why voiceless or voiced?


A phoneme (one individual sound) can be voiced or
voiceless. Voiced phonemes engage the vocal cords and
voiceless phonemes don't engage the vocal cords. As you
know, in your larynx you'll find two vocal cords that vibrate to
produce sounds (voiced) that are then manipulated by the
organs of speech. Vocal cords can also open to allow air
through to make sounds with the mouth alone (voiceless). Is
to say, when pronouncing sound /f/ the vocal cords do not
vibrate and but they do when pronouncing /v/.

Do they vibrate? Dont they?

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

Why labiodental?
This is related to the place where the sound is produced,
is to say, the place of articulation. The term place of
articulation refers to the part where the sound is produced or
where there is the most contact or near contact of
articulators. This is another way in which consonants are
classified.
Now, try producing words such as: five, flat, prove,
voice. In all of these words you need to bring the bottom or
lower lip near or in contact with the upper teeth. Therefore,
you are producing a labiodental sound.

In conclusion, the airflow can be modified at various


points within vocal organs to produce distinct speech sounds.
The point where a sound is produced is referred to as
its place of articulation.

Why fricative?
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through
a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close
together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth,
as was mentioned above.

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

Try saying words using /f/ again: face, fog, fly. The mouth
comes into a position that blocks the passage of the
airstream, but not making a complete closure. The lower lip
makes a light contact with the upper teeth, forming a flat
narrowing. The escaping air passes through this narrow
passage with friction, rub and turbulence. Remember that
for /f/ this friction will be voiceless, and it is an oral consonant,
which means air is allowed to escape through the mouth only
(and not through the nose).
The following phonemes are considered fricative according to
their manner of articulation:
/ f, v, , , s, z, , , h /

/f/ sound in actual use: Full distribution.


The sound /f/ can be found in different parts of the words.
At the beginning, at the middle and at the end. Thats why its
said to have a full distribution through the words.
Initial position feet, fail, photo, fat, fault
Medial position affair, comfort, defend tougher,
defend
Final position laugh, cough, roof, proof

Spellings for /f/


After producing these words, have you noticed something
strange with /f/? Probably their spellings. As you might have

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

seen, not always this sound is produced when we see a letter


F in a word. Lets go deeper into the spellings of this
phoneme:

< F > as in friend, fork, selfish, fire, fruit


<FF> as in coffee, stuff, stiff
<PH> as in phonetics, photo, physics, phrase
<GH> as in rough, draught, enough

Problems for Spanish Speakers


The sound /f/ is also found in Spanish as in: feo, frente, familia; so its
not usually a problem for Spanish speakers this production when
learning English.

How can we tell the difference between / f


/and / v / in practice?
Touch your top teeth with your bottom lip, and breathe out.
Dont use your voice. Hold the sound and add your voice.

What happens when we produce Labio-dental


fricatives?
While the soft palate is raised the nasal resonator is shut off. The
inner surface of the lower lip makes a light contact with the edge of the
upper teeth, so that the escaping air produces friction. The actual
contact point will vary according to the adjacent sound. e.g : When
producing /f/ with a strongly rounded vowel or a bilabial plosive
following, the contact on the lower lip tends to be more retracted (fool,
obvious, roof) than in the case of a front spread vowel (feel, leaf). For
/f/, the friction is voiceless, whereas there may be vocal fold vibration
accompanying /v/.

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

/v/ sound in actual use: Full distribution.


The sound /v/ can be found in different parts of the words.
At the beginning, at the middle and at the end. Thats why its
said to have a full distribution through the words.

Initial position vex, vat, vast, vain


Medial position ever, over, silver, cover
Final position Leave, give, have, move, dove,
grove
Spellings for /V/
Lets go deeper into the spellings of this phoneme:
<v> as in vice, voice, vine
<f> as in of
<ph> as in Stephen, nephew
Variants

for /V/

This phoneme also has some variants given in a different


context:
- Word final /v/ may assimilate to /f/ before a fortis
consonant initial in the following word:
e.g: have to (regularly) / love to / have some (rarely)
- In familiar speech [v] may be elided in the case of
the unaccented form of <of> and <have>:
< a lot of money> [

lt mni ]

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle
<I could have bought it> [a

Problems

kd b:t t]

for Spanish Speakers

The learner will substitute [] for [v]. In Spanish b and


V are pronounced [, and we tend to produce [] for [v].
What can we do about it?
If you bite your lower lip you will produce the right friction
for v.

/h/
The /h/ sound is called the voiceless glottal fricative,
which means that the sound is made with the motion of your
vocal cords but is not voiced.
The /h/ sound is made through the mouth and is
aspirated, which means air comes out of your mouth as you
say the sound and you do not vibrate your vocal cords but it is
defined by the position of your vocal cords. This is a fricative
sound too, and remembering that fricatives are sounds which
are made by bringing two parts of your mouth or throat very
close together and pushing the air through them, we can say
that in this case, thats your vocal cords. The /h/ sound
doesnt have a specific mouth shape as it normally takes the
shape from the following sounds. To produce the /h/ sound,
press your throat and breathe out through your mouth.

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

How do we produce the fortis glottal fricative


/h/?
For the production of /h/ the
air is expelled from the
lungs with considerable
pressure,
causing some friction throughout
the vocal tract. The shape of
your mouth doesnt matter as
much. It will probably just be
whatever shape youll be making to make the next sound
because the upper part the vocal tract is already shaped for
the articulation of what comes next. With the beginning of the
vocal fold vibration of the vowel the air pressure is reduced.
For the production of this sound the vocal cords do not
vibrate, therefore, they produce no voice.

/h/ sound in actual use: Complementary


distribution.
Initial position: heat, hen, ham, hot
Medial position: ahead
/h/ is not pronounced initially in > hour, honest, honour, heir; or
medially in words such as > exhaust, exhilarate, exhibit,
vehicle, and in some suffixes: shephard, Durham,Clapham,
etc.
Spellings

for /h/

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

<h> as in how, horse, hate, human, high, here, hair,


behaviour, behalf
<who> as in who, whom, whose, whole
Variants

for /h/

- Some speakers use a voiced allophone of /h/ when


used between voiced sounds. In these cases the stream
of /h/ is accompanied by vocal fold vibration. e.g :
anyhow, perhaps, behind, ahead.
- In some types of regional speech /h/ is lost. So no
distinction is made between minimal pairs such as hill,
ill; hair air.
- Certain form words (especially have, has, had,
pronouns and pronominal adjectives), frequently lose /h/
in unaccented, non-initial situations in connected
speech . This feature is usually considered uneducated
speech. e.g He pushed him on his back - hi pushed im on iz
back - I could have hit her.

Problems

for Spanish Speakers

Spanish speakers produce the voiceless velar fricative


/x/. /x/ has a velar friction and the grapheme /h/ is mute in
spanish. Therefore learners should practice with pairs
containing /h/ plus vowel and those with initial vowel, such as:
hill and hill.
Another important problem for spanish speakers is to
give extra pressure to the attempt to produce the /h/ and turn
it into a spanish j or g.

Special features of /h/

I.S.P Joaqun V. Gonzalez


Phonetics I C
Camila Velzquez / Rosario M. Gonzalez Boyle

/h/ is elided when the following words occur in weakly accented

positions, and non initial positions in the utterance: he, him,


his, her, have, had, has.
What is elision?
Elision is the omission of a sound in speech. It is common in
casual conversation.