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Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

Phonetics and Phonology
When we pronounce a word in isolation we pronounce it in its citation form, but normally words are not pronounced in isolation. Changes in the pronunciation of single words of phonemes vary from language to language and follow the rules of the so called suprasegmental or prosodic features. The processes which take place during connective speech are the following: • Reduction • Elision • Assimilation • Linking

Function words and weak form
On example of change in pronunciation caused by the context is given by weak form. There are about 40 function words in English, and they include: articles, prepositions, pronouns, modal verbs, auxiliary verbs. There words are pronounce differentially according to their position or their function in a sentence and they have weak or strong form. We use strong form when the function word is stressed: the speaker wants to emphasize it, it is quoted in commas, the speaker wants to express a contrast between two words, when it is at the end of the sentence or an intonation group. We use weak forms when the function word is not in a relevant position. Some examples about function words: function word for am of but a strong form weak form examples I’m waiting for Bob I am late Fond of music Alone but happy Take a chance

: ӕm ɒv bʌt eɪ

ə əm əv bət ə


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

should be been an and from are as can could do does has have many must or shall some such than that there were was me him her us to

ʃʊd bi: bi:n ӕn ӕnd frɒm ɑ:r – ɑ: ӕz kӕn kʊd du: dʌz hӕz hӕv ‘menɪ mʌst : ͬ ʃӕl sʌm sʌtʃ ðӕn ðӕt ðeə ͬ wз: ͬ wɒz mi: hɪm hз ͬ ʌs tu:

ʃd + voiced ʃt + voiceless bɪ bɪn ən – n ənd - ən - nd n frəm – frm аr – а əz kən – kn – kŋ kəd də + consonant dʊ + vowel d + you dəz həz - əz - z - s həv - əv - v mənɪ - mnɪ məst + vowel məs + consonant

How should you know You should try I will be there I’ve been waiting An interesting book Bread and butter She’s from Paris What are you looking for? As soon as possible I can swim I could run very fast I always do my best I’ll do everything for you What do you feel? How does she feel? She has a cold I have been waiting How many bottles? You must analyze these essays You must do that Water or wine? What shall we do? There are some candies left She is such an actress! He’s taller than him A machine that prints Is there any butter? We were late I was wondering... Talk to me Speak to him Finding her way What if God was one of us? I have to go

ə ͬ ʃəl səm sətʃ ðən - ðn ðət - ðt ðə ͬ - ðə wə ͬ wəz mɪ ɪm hə - ə - ə ͬ ͬ əs tʊ - tə

The changes that occur from strong to weak forms can be of the genres: • Change in vowel quality: it is when a vowel becomes a “ə” • Change in vowel quantity: it is when a vowel is pronounced with a shorter length • Loss (or elision) of a phoneme or more

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

Exceptions: ⊕Mustn’t has no weak form ⊕With personal pronouns we can have weak forms also in final position. ⊕The function word “to” is used in its strong form when it occurs before a verb that begins with a vowel. With the other verbs both forms are possible, even if the weak form is better.

Lexical words and weak forms
There are also some lexical words that are pronounced with their weak form if they are the second element of a compound word. Examples ford (piccolo fiume) board land mouth (foce) sense shire (contea) yard some pan Phonetic Script Compound Word Oxford cupboard Scotland Plymouth nonsense Devonshire vineyard troublesome saucepan Phonetic Script

fɔ:d bɔ:d lӕnd maʊθ sens ‘ʃaɪ ͬ jɑ:d sʌm pӕn

‘ɑxfəd ‘kʌbəd ‘skɒtlənd ‘plɪməθ ‘nɒnsəns ‘devnʃə ‘vɪnjəd – ‘vɪjɑ:d ‘trʌblsəm ‘sɔ:spən

Exceptions: ⊕Blackboard is an exception: /blӕkbɔ:d/


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

The syllable
In phonetic script, syllables are separated with a dot but there is disagreement between linguists about how to divide syllable in English. What about the shape of a syllable? The first element is called onset and it is formed by one or two consonants. After the onset there is the peak or nucleus or syllabic element. It generally consists of a vowel. The final part is called coda. Peak and coda together compose an element which is called rime or rhyme. Syllables can be divided in two group: We can define a syllable in different ways: 1. as a phonetic unit. In this case we study the syllable in relation with the way in which the air comes out from our organs. According to the pulse theory each syllable corresponds to a peak in the flow rate. So, the peak is a moment when there is a maximum of sonority. 2. as a phonological unit. In this case we study the syllable according to the complexity of the positions of the phonemes. English syllables are quite complex, also because we need to consider phonetic scrip, and not the spelling. One of the rules that we can follow to divide English words in syllable is that if there is a consonant in intervocalic position, it tends to be part of the preceding syllable and not of the following, as it is in Italian. We can have also syllabic consonants: it is when the peak consists of a consonants and not of a vowel, as it is generally. Only these consonants can form a syllabic syllable: m, n, ŋ, l, r Examples rhythm kitten Phonetic Script Examples battle national Phonetic Script

‘rið.m ‘kɪt.n

‘bӕt.l ‘nӕʃ.n.l.

The Stress
Daniel Jones definition: he says that stress is the degree of force with which a sound or syllable is uttered. Gimson definition: he says that stress is strictly defined in terms of muscular energy of articulation for the speaker (so that there is more sub-glottal pressure) and of loudness for the listeners. Stress is not quantified in absolute terms but it is a relative propriety and so w have to consider which syllable is more or less prominent compared with the other syllables of a word or sentence.

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi Stress can be described in terms of: 1. greater loudness: a stressed syllable is perceived as louder by the listeners. 2. vowel quantity: in stressed syllables there are often long vowels or diphthongs. Diphthongs can be found either in stressed and unstressed syllables, but there is a difference in their pronunciation. In stressed syllables the definition of the second element is quite clear (es: final), while in unstressed syllables diphthongs tend to lose their second element (es: insight). In unstressed syllables we usually have short vowels. 3. vowel quality: English stressed syllables tend to have peripheral non-central vowels, while unstressed syllables tend to have short – central vowels. Vowels /ʊ, ə/ always occur in unstressed syllables. Syllabic consonants can be generally found in unstressed syllables. 4. pitch variations 5. consonant quality: the difference between lenis and fortis consonants is more prominent in stressed syllables than unstressed ones. There are two type of stress: • lexical stress or word stress: it concerns a single word and it occurs even if it is pronounced in isolation. • sentence stress: it is used in connected speech to emphasize a word against the background of other neighboring words. There are two kind of languages: • languages which use fixed lexical stress. Stress is always placed on a particular syllable. Some of these languages are: French, Turkish, Finnish, Polish, Spanish and Italian. • languages with variable lexical stress. Some of these languages are German, Dutch, Russian and English. There is a larger amount of languages with fixed lexical stress. In English stress is not an easy matter because of this freedom in stress placement. Rules concerning stress placement are rather complex and there are lots of exceptions. Anyway, there are some things about stress that we can consider: 1. the function of phonology (syllables division) is important in stress placement. We need to know which syllables can be stressed (strong syllables) and which syllables can’t (weak syllables). Strong syllables have a long vowel or a diphthong, or a vowel followed by a coda formed by one or more consonants. Instead, the peak of weak syllables is constituted by a short vowel or /ɪ, ə/ followed or not by a coda. 2. the function of syntax and grammar is fundamental. Only lexical words can be stressed. Function words usually do not carry any stress, except if they are emphasized in a sentence. There is also a different in the stress behavior for each category of lexical words.


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi • For example verbs and adjectives tend to have their stress on their final syllable. Examples maintain precise entertain Phonetic Script Examples arrive decide correct Phonetics Script

meɪn’teɪn prɪ’sаɪs entə’teɪn

ə’rаɪv dɪ’sаɪd kə’rekt

• Stress in verbs and adjectives is on the penultimate syllable when the final is an open syllable (with no coda or with the coda constituted by only a consonant phoneme) with a short vowel Examples determine astonish Phonetic Script Examples surrender amusing Phonetics Script

dɪ’tз:mɪn ə’stɒnɪʃ

sə’rendə ͬ ə’mju:zɪŋ

• There are some two-syllables words in English called “word pairs” which use their stress to indicate a difference of grammar classes. If the stress falls on the first syllable, the word is a noun or ad adjective. If the stress falls on the second one, it is a verb. Examples abstract digest conduct noun verb - adj Examples accent absent combine noun verb - adj

‘ӕbstrӕk əb’strӕkt t ‘daɪdƹəst dɪ’dƹest ‘kɒndʌkt kən’dʌkt

‘ӕksənt ‘ӕbsənt ‘kɒmbаɪ n

ək’sent əb’sent kəm’bаɪ n

There are also word pairs in which verbs and nouns are pronounced the same. For example: reply, answer, picture, travel, promise, exercise, substitute. 3. the function of morphology is to be considered too. From the morphological point of view, words can be divided in simple, complex and compound. • Simple words. These are words that have a single free morpheme (rote) without prefixes or suffixes, and the number of syllables can be variable. In short simple words, with 2 or 3 syllables, the stress is generally on the first, if the second or the third syllables are weak. Examples trousers product window punishment cinema Phonetic Script Examples error husband table quantity minimum Phonetics Script

‘trаʊz.əz ‘prɒd.əkt ‘wɪnd.əʊ ‘pʌn.ɪʃ.mənt ‘sɪn.ə.mə

‘er.ə ͬ ‘hʌz.bənd ‘teɪ.bl ‘kwɑn.tə.tɪ ‘mɪn.ɪ.mən


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

In the other cases stress generally falls on the second syllable. Examples machine career Phonetic Script Examples design event Phonetics Script

mə’ʃi:n kə’rɪə ͬ

dɪ’zаɪn ɪ’vent

• Complex words. These are words in which the rote is preceded by a prefix or followed by a suffix. In complex words with prefix, usually the stress is in the syllable that follows the prefix. Examples demand oversee submit Phonetic Script Examples inflation towards deny Phonetics Script

dɪ’ma:nd əʊvə’si: səb’mɪt

ɪn’fləɪʃən tə’w :dz dɪ’nаɪ

There are also exceptions: indolent, concept, exercise. Suffixes in complex words can be derivational (they produce new words) or inflectional (they have a grammatical function). The general rule is that if we have a derivational suffix, the stress falls on it. Examples maintain employee technique Phonetic Script Examples picturesque cigarette arabesque Phonetics Script

meɪn’teɪn emplɔɪ’i: tek’ni:k

pɪktʃə’resk sɪgə’ret ӕrə’besk

Other times the stress falls upon the syllable preceding the suffix: suffix -ical Examples psychological Phonetic Script Examples Phonetic Script phonological fɒnə’lɒdӡɪkəl position familiarity politician beneficial proficient piteous eventual variety effective

sаɪkə’lɒdӡɪkəl kəmju:nɪ’keɪʃɔ -ion communication n -ity severity sɪ’verɪtɪ -ian proletarian prəʊlɪ’teərɪən -ial special ‘speʃəl -ient efficient ə’fɪʃɪənt ədvӕn’teɪdӡə -eous advantageous s -ual individual ɪndɪ’vɪdjuəl -ety propriety prə’prаɪətɪ -ive affective ə’fektɪv

pə’zɪʃən fəmɪlɪ’ӕrətɪ pəlɪ’tɪʃən benɪ’fɪʃəl prə’fɪʃənt ‘pɪtɪəs ɪ’ventjuəl və’rаɪətɪ ɪ’fektɪv

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi -wards -ic upwards atomic

‘ʌpwədz ə’tɒmɪk

inwards economic

‘ɪnwədz i:kə’nɒmɪk

Here some exceptions: suffix -wards -ic Examples towards arabic lunatic politics Phonetic Script Examples rhetoric catholic arithmetic Phonetic Script

tə’wɔ:dz ‘ӕrəbɪk ‘lu:nətɪk ‘pɒlətɪks

‘retərɪk ‘kӕθəlɪk ‘ӕrɪθmətɪk

In complex words with 4 or more syllables, stress generally fall on the syllable before the penultimate. Examples representative calamity establishment Phonetic Script Examples emergency cosmopolitan ironical Phonetics Script

reprɪ’zentətɪv kə’lӕmɪtɪ ɪ’stӕblɪʃmənt

ɪ’mз:dӡənsɪ kəzmə’pɒlɪtn аɪ’rɒnɪkl

There are also suffixes, which do not affect stress placement, so the complex word maintains the same stress of the rote: suffix -age -al -en -ful -able -ing -ish -less Rote anchor refuse music wide wonder comfort amaze child help Phonetic Script

‘ӕŋkə ͬ rɪ’fju:z ‘mju:zɪk ‘wаɪd ‘wʌndə ͬ ‘kʌmfət ə’meɪz ‘tʃаɪld ‘help

Compound anchorage refusal musical widen wonderful comfortable amazing childish helpless

Phonetic Script

‘ӕŋkəɪdӡ rɪ’fju:zəl ‘mju:zɪkəl ‘wаɪdən ‘wʌndəfəl ‘kʌmfətəbl ə’meɪzɪŋ ‘tʃаɪldɪʃ ‘helpləs

This rule is valid only for adjective formation. In fact, if we consider verbs, the stress falls on the syllable preceding the suffix also in these cases. For example the verb “demolish” • Compound words. They can be divided in two groups. There are compound words with stress on the first element and others with stress on the second element. Most of compounds words have their stress on the first element (this can be assumed as a general rule). We usually put the stress on the first element: I. When the compound word denotes a single new idea rather than the combination of the two ideas suggested by the original two words.

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

Examples greenhouse

Phonetic Script


Examples grasshopper

Phonetics Script

‘gra:shɒpə ͬ

II. When the first element restrict the second in some important way. Examples birthday Phonetic Script Examples sheepdog Phonetics Script



III. When the first element is clearly contrasting with something else. Examples flute player Phonetic Script

‘fu:tpleɪə ͬ

Examples football player

Phonetics Script

‘fʊtbɔ:lpleɪə ͬ

IV. When the compound word is formed with two nouns and ends with “er”. Examples proofreader Phonetic Script

pru:fri:də ͬ

Examples sleepwalker

Phonetics Script


V. When the compound word is formed by a verb + noun. Examples playboy Phonetic Script Examples watchdog Phonetics Script



VI. When the compound word is formed by a verb + adverb. Examples pick-up flashback Phonetic Script Examples make-up feedback Phonetics Script

‘pɪkʌp ‘flӕʃbӕk

‘meɪkʌp ‘fi:dbӕk

VII. When the compound word is formed by a noun + past participle. Examples godforsaken Phonetic Script Examples weather-bitten Phonetics Script



There are also compound words which have their stress on the second element. We usually put the stress on the second element: I. When the first word indicates the material used in manufacturing the object, especially in words concerning food. Examples apple tart Phonetic Script Examples chicken soup Phonetics Script



II. When the compound word is formed by an adjective + past participle and ends with “ed”.

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi Examples thick-skinned cold-blooded Phonetic Script Examples quick-tempered evil-minded Phonetics Script

θɪk’skɪnd kəʊld’blʌdɪd

kwɪk’tempəd i:vəl’mаɪndɪd

There are also exceptions: Examples downcast

Phonetic Script


Examples thoroughbred

Phonetics Script


III. When the compound word functions as a verb and has an adverb as its first element. Examples downgrade Phonetic Script Examples never-ending Phonetics Script



IV. When the compound word indicates part of a house or building. Examples kitchen window Phonetic Script Examples front door Phonetics Script



Here some exceptions: Examples bedroom Phonetic Script Examples living-room Phonetics Script



V. When the compound word has an adverbial function. Es: North-’East VI. When the compound word has a number in some form that constitutes its first element. Es: second ‘class, first ‘class, five-‘finger. Stress shift phenomena. If a word of 2 or more syllables with stress on a syllable near the end of the word is followed by a word beginning with a stressed syllable, then we have stress shift phenomena. The stress may shift to a syllable different from the one normally stressed. Examples fourteen unknown afternoon Phonetic Script Stress Shift fourteen pounds unknown land afternoon tea Phonetic Script

fɔ:’ti:n ʌn’nəʊn a:ftə’nu:n

‘fɔ:ti:n ‘pаʊndz ‘ʌnəʊn ‘lend ‘a:ftənʊn ti:

Stress may also determine a change in meaning. Look at the examples: ‘blackbird = merlo, compound word ‘black ‘bird = uccello nero an ‘English teacher = un insegnante di inglese

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi an ‘English ‘teacher = un insegnante inglese

Reduction is one of the prosodic features. We can call reduction the substitution of a full vowel with /ə/ or /ɪ/ , when a syllable, which is stressed in citation form, becomes unstressed in connective speech. For example, reduction can occur: • When we pronounce weak forms • When the stress changes in case of word pairs • When the stress changes in case of stress shift phenomenon


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

Elision can be considerate an extreme case of reduction that may take to the loss of a segment. This phenomenon is more present in English than in Italian. Elision can happen both in function and lexical words. Sometimes it may happen that a word can be pronounced in several ways using different kinds of elision and reduction. For example the word “actually” can be pronounced in seven different ways according to the level of formality of the speaker and of the linguistic context. There are two types of elision: • historical elision • contemporary (or contextual) elision Historical elision. It is when a sound which existed in an earlier form was omitted later and the non-elided form does not exist anymore. Ex. cupboard = /’kʌpbɔ:d/ (non-elided form, incorrect) /’kʌbəd/ (elided current form, correct) Historical elision is involved in: I. the loss of silent letters: -l : calm, walk, should -b : thumb, tomb -h : honor, hour - w : wrote, write, sword -k : knight, knee, know -t : watch, castle -d : badge, edge -g : gnome, design -n : column, damn -r : horse, iron, arm, cards, mother, brother -p : cupboard, psalm, psychology II. The loss of some unstressed vowel such /ə/ o /ɪ/: -ə : history (/’hɪstərɪ/) -ɪ : university (/ju:nɪ’vз:sɪtɪ/) Contemporary elision. It happens only in certain phonetic context and in most of the cases it isn’t compulsory. Cases of elision: I. Elision of a weak vowel after plosive consonants (p, t, k) in unstressed syllables. The vowel is substituted by an aspiration. - potato : /p(ə)’teɪtəʊ/ - tomorrow : /t(ə)’mɒrəʊ/ - canoe : /k(ə)’nu:/


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi II. Elision of /ə/ before syllabic l – n – r. - balloon : /b(ə)’lu:n/ - /b’lu:n/ - /blu:n/ - police : /p(ə)’li:s/ - /p’li:s/ - /pli:s/ - canoe : /k(ə)’nu:/ - /k’nu:/ - /knu:/ - correct : /k(ə)’rekt/ - /k’rekt/ - /krekt/ III. Simplification of consonant clusters (gruppi consonantici) with elision of t – d if they are between a stop (plosive or affricate consonants: b, p, g, k, dӡ, tʃ) and a consonant (which is not h). - stopped by : /stɒp(t)’bаɪ/ - looked back : /lʊk(t)’bӕk/ - bugged camera : /bʌg(d)’kӕmərə/ - bridged two : /brɪdӡ(d)tu:/ IV. Simplification of consonant clusters with elision of t – d if they are between a fricative consonant (f, v, s, z, ʃ, ӡ, θ, ð) and another consonant (which is not h). - soft goods : /’sɒf(t)gʊdz/ - first class : /fз:s(t)’klɑ:s/ - amazed by : /ə’meɪz(d)bаɪ/ - lived long : /lɪv(d)lɒŋ/ - smashed potatoes : /mӕʃ(t)pə’teɪtəʊz/ - bathed the baby : /ba:θ(t)ðə’beɪbɪ/ V. Simplification of consonant clusters with elision of t – d if they are between a nasal ( n, m, ŋ) and a consonant. - brand new : /brӕn(d)’nju:/ - slammed the door : /’slӕm(d)ðə’dɔ: ͬ/ - stringed musical instrument: (strɪŋ(d)’mju:zɪkl’ɪnstrʊmənt/ VI. Simplification of consonant clusters with elision of t – d may happen also at the end of the first element of a compound word. - postcard : /’pəʊs(t)kɑ:d/ - dustbin : /’dʌd(t)bɪn/ VII. Elision of the sound “v” of the word “of” before consonants, especially m or ð. - a glass of milk : /ə glɑ:s ə(v) mɪlk/ - all of them : / :l ə(v) ðəm/ VIII. Elision of the sound “v” in general before “m” - give me : /’gɪ(v)mɪ/ - leave me alone : /’lɪ(v)mɪ ə’ləʊn/ IX. Elision of one of two identical consonants at words or morphemes boundary. - bus stop : /bʌstɒp/ - call Linda : /kɔ:lɪndə/

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi - keenness : /ki:nɪs/

X. Elision of the verb “going to”, “want to”, “have got to”. - going to leave : /gɒnə li:v/ - want to go : /wɒntə gəʊ/ - I’ve got to leave: /аɪv gɒtə li:v/ XI. Elision - asked - months - clothes inside a word. : /ɑ:skt / - /ɑ:st/ : /mʌnθs/ - /mʌns/ : /kləʊðz/ - /kləʊz/

XII. Elision of “ə” or other phonemes in certain suffixes, like -ory, -ary, -ery, -ally. - satisfactory : /sӕtɪs’fӕkt(ə)rɪ/ - temporary : /’temp(ə)rərɪ/ - /’temprɪ/ - literary : /’lɪt(ə)rərɪ/ - /’lɪtrɪ/ - stationery : /’steɪʃ(ə)n(ə)rɪ/ - laterally : /’lɪt(ə)rəlɪ/

Assimilation happens when neighboring segments influence each other mutually in terms of articulation. We can suppose that this phenomenon, which exists in all languages, reflexes strategies of neuromuscular control. Assimilation is not compulsory, so foreign learners do not have to pronounce it but of course to be aware of it. There are two types of assimilation: • historical assimilation • contemporary (or contextual) assimilation


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi Historical assimilation. It refers to changes in pronunciation which occurred in the centuries and which have become fixed patterns, so now they are no more optional (as they were when they appeared) but compulsory. - ant : /ӕnt/ in the past: /ӕmtə/ - /ӕmt/ - picture : /’pɪktʃə ͬ/ in the past: /’pɪktʃʊr/ Contemporary assimilation. It is a process that can involve both vowels and consonants. There are two types of assimilation: • progressive assimilation: it is when the direction of the assimilation influence is frontward. This phenomenon is not so common in English but it still exist. Es. In the garden = /ɪn nə gɑ:dən/ • regressive assimilation: it is when the direction of the assimilation influence is backward. Es. On purpose = /ɒm ‘pз:pəs/ • coalescent assimilation: it is when the influence is exercised in both direction, so two sound influence each other reciprocally. Es. Bless you = /bleʃʃu:/ Assimilation affecting consonants. This phenomenon can involve: I. Changes in the place of articulation II. Changes in the manner of articulation III. Changes in phonation or voicing (the vibration or not of the vocal chords) I. Changes in the place of articulation. This happens when the sound that substitutes the other sound has a different point of contact between the speech organs. This type of assimilation is the most frequent in English. We can apply some rules of assimilation: 1.Final alveolar t becomes bilabial when preceding a bilabial. (regressive) t + p, b, m = /p/ - that painting : /θӕp peɪntɪŋ/ - light bulb : /lаɪp bʌlb/ - hot milk : /hɒp mɪlk/ 2.Final alveolar d becomes bilabial when preceding a bilabial. (regressive) d + p, b, m = /b/ - food processor : /fu:b ‘prəʊsesə ͬ/ - good brand : /gʊb brӕnd/ - good morning : /gʊb ‘m :nɪŋ/


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi 3.Final alveolar n becomes bilabial when preceding a bilabial. (regressive) n + p, b, m = /m/ - on purpose : /ɒm ‘pз:pəs/ - in black : /ɪm blӕk/ - on Monday : /ɒm ‘mʌndeɪ/ 4.Final alveolar t becomes velar when preceding a velar. (regressive) t + k, g = /k/ - that carpet : /ðӕk kɑ:pɪt/ - that glass : /ðӕk glɑ:s/ 5.Final alveolar d becomes velar when preceding a velar. (regressive) d + k, g = /g/ - good character : /gʊg ‘kӕrəktə ͬ/ - good girl : /gʊg gз:l 6.Final alveolar n becomes velar when preceding a velar. (regressive) n + k, g = /ŋ/ - in conclusion : /ɪŋ kən’klu:ӡən/ - ten girls : /teŋ gз:lz/ 7.Final alveolar s becomes palatal alveolar when preceding a palatal alveolar. (regressive) s + ʃ, j = /ʃ/ - this show : /ðɪʃ ʃəʊ/ - this year : /ðɪʃ jɪə ͬ/ 8.Final alveolar z becomes palatal alveolar when preceding a palatal alveolar. (regressive) z + ʃ, j = /ӡ/ - these shops : /ði:ӡ ʃɒps/ - these universities : /ði:ӡ ju:nɪvз:sətɪ/ 9.Assimilation of “and” during fast speech. It can be pronounced as a nasal syllabic consonant. (regressive) ən + alveolar (t, d, s, z, n, l) = /n/ - high and dry : /hаɪ n drаɪ/ 10. Assimilation of “and” during fast speech. It can be pronounced as a nasal syllabic consonant. (regressive) ən + velar (g, k) = /ŋ/ - dead and gone : /ded ŋ gɒn/ - town and country : /taʊn ŋ kʌntrɪ/ 11. Assimilation of “and” during fast speech. It can be pronounced as a nasal syllabic consonant. (regressive) ən + bilabial (b, p, m) = /m/ - skin and bone : /skɪn m bəʊn/

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi - high and mighty : /haɪ m mаɪtɪ/ II. Changes in the manner of articulation. It is the case of less notable assimilation and, generally speaking, it especially can be found in casual and rapid speech, when speakers have the tendency to change the manner of articulation to pronounce an “easier” consonant sound. So the sound that substitutes the other sound is produced releasing the air stream in a different way. One case of changes in manner of articulation, is the progressive assimilation of the article “the” In fact, when it follows alveolar sounds (n, l, s, z), the dental fricative sound “ð” assumes the place and the manner of articulation of the phoneme preceding. - in the garden : /ɪn nə gɑ:dən/ (from dental fricative to nasal alveolar) - all the same : / :l lə seɪm/ (from dental fricative to lateral alveolar) - what’s the time : /wɒtz zə tаɪm/ (from dental fricative to fricative alveolar, here there is only a change in places of articulation) Anyway, there are also other cases in which we can register a change in manner of articulation. For example: - good night : /gʊn ‘nаɪt/ III. Changes in phonation or voicing (the vibration or not of the vocal chords). This type of change is often concerned with progressive assimilation. There are cases (for example plurals) in which this assimilation is compulsory. • A voiceless consonant + s = /s/ - Pat’s book : /pӕts bʊk/ - It cracks : /ɪt krӕks/ • A voiced consonant + s = /z/ - Ted’s book : /tedz bʊk/ - He begs : /hi begz/ How do we have to pronounce final “s” (in verbs, plurals,...) ? With sounds s, ʃ, tʃ, z, ӡ, dӡ = /ɪz/ With sounds p, t, k, f, θ = /s/ With the other sounds = /z/ Regressive assimilation of voiceless do not exist between word boundaries, even if some foreign learners have the tendency to apply this assimilation and this sounds very strange to English native speakers, so it is to be avoided. It may happens only in Scottish English, for example in the word “birthday”. There are some cases in which assimilation affecting consonants is compulsory. • When have means necessity we use the sound “f” instead of “v”: - I have to go : /аɪ hӕf tə gəʊ/ • When “used to” expresses a past or a present habit and not the simple past of the verb “to use”, the sound “s” substitutes sound “z”: - I am used to it : /аɪm ju:stə ɪt/

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi - I used to get up: /аɪ ju:stə get ʌp/ In English long consonants do not exist but it may happen that with assimilation we can have 2 identical consonant sounds next to each other. In these cases we pronounce a sort of long vowel.

During fast connective speech, speakers sometimes link words together in special ways. The two most interesting examples of linking are the “linking r” and the “intrusive r”, with which the non-rhotic variety of English (such as BBC English, Welsh, Australian) are concerned. Linking r. The phoneme “r” is not pronounced when it is at the end of a word, but we will hear English speaker pronounce it if there is a vowel following. Rhotic language : a star = /ə stɑ:r/ Non-rhotic language : a star = /ə stɑ:/ Linking r : a star in the sky = /ə stɑ:r ɪn ðə skаɪ/ Intrusive r. This phenomenon is surely widespread among English speaker but there are still some speaker and teacher that consider it incorrect or substandard. BBC speakers often use “r” in a similar way to “linking r” to link words ending and beginning with vowels. - The idea of it : /ðɪ аɪdɪərɒv ɪt/ - I saw Elen : /аɪ s :r’Elən/ - Media event : /mi:dɪər ɪvent/ We as foreign speakers do not have to imitate this phenomenon, but we surely have to be aware of it.


Appunti di Antonella Gismundi

We call rhythmic a sound of a movement which occurs at regular intervals of time, and so it is isochronous. Human brain has a tendency to look for rhythmic interpretations of auditory and visual materials. The fist person who applied the theory of rhythm to languages was Kenneth Pike in 1946. Depending on their rhythmic organization, languages can be divided into two groups: • Syllable-timed languages: In those languages syllables tend to occur at regular (isochronous) intervals, regardless if they are stressed or unstressed. Some languages of this group are: Italian, French, Turkish. • Stress-timed languages: In those languages stressed syllables occur at regular (isochronous) intervals of time, regardless of the number of unstressed syllables in between. We call foot the language unit that begins with a stressed syllables and includes all the following syllables up to the next stressed syllable, which is not included and forms a new foot. Foot can be constituted by a variable numbers of syllables (also only one). Some languages of this group are: English, German, Arabic, Russian). We should consider this example: What’s the difference between a sick elephant and a dead bee? ‘Hwɒtz.ðə ‘dɪf.ər.ənts bɪ.twɪn ə ’sɪk ‘e.lɪ.fənt ən.ə ‘ded ‘bi: ? 2 6 1 5 1 1 Some theories about rhythm go further than this, and say that there are some feet that are stronger than others. From this theory comes the definition of word stress and sentence stress. In English there is the tendency to introduce important information towards the end of the word. This tendency is called “end focus”. For this reason sentence stress is generally placed on the stressed syllable of the last lexical word. The fact of English being a stress-timed languages, explains why unstressed syllables are often involved in compressing phenomena, such as reduction, elision, assimilation.

There are not strict rules which define a correspondence between patterns of intonation and their communicative function in English. If English learners want to pronounce English speakers-like intonation, they have to depend on imitation. Intonation is the result of three main features that play in the production of speech. They are: • Pitch

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi • Length • Loudness Pitch. It is the most centrally involved in intonation, which can be defined the pattern of pitch variation of a sentence. The frequency of out voice varies continually, alternating rising and falls, and the pitch is dependent on the rate (frequency) of variation of our vocal chords. Frequency is measured in Hz and it indicates the number of times our vocal chords completely open and close in one second. The different sequences that pitch can have from high to low are called tones. Tones. In English there are at least 37 different tones to pronounce sentences. We will consider only 5 of them: 0. (level) 1. (fall) 3. (rise) 4. (fall – rise) 5. (rise – fall) A tone unit can involve just one syllable, but also a group or syllables or words. All the words within a tone are pronounced as they were a single word. Tones can have different functions: • Grammatical function: thanks to intonation the listeners can better recognize the grammar and syntactic structures of what is being said, such as word or phrases boundaries, the differences between statements and questions, the use of subordinated clauses, the differences between restrictive and nonrestrictive relative clauses. • Attitudinal function: intonation can express the attitude and the emotions of the speaking, adding a special kind of “meaning” to spoken language. • Accentual function: intonation helps to produce the effect of prominence and apply it to the syllable or word that carries the most important meaning of the sentence. • Discourse function: intonation may also make the listener understand something more about what is being said, for example what is the new information an what is already given, if something that is expressed is linked or in contrast with something else, or also the way in which the speaker expect the interlocutor to react and continue their conversation. Some uses of the different tones: • Level tone is not so frequent in English. It usually expresses lack of interest or boredom.

Appunti di Antonella Gismundi • Falling tone is very frequent, especially in formal speaking. It carries the idea of finality and for example it can be used at the end of a conversation (as to say that there is nothing more to add and in fact it is also used at the end of a list) or to express a command. In question tags, falling tone is used when the speaker is almost certain that the information is correct, and he simply aspects a confirmation. • Rising tone is more frequent in informal conversations. It shows interest and encourages the interlocutors to continue. It is often used in general questions and in compiling list. In question tags, rising tone is used when the speaker is not completely certain that the information is correct. • Falling and rising tone expresses a doubt or a limited agreement. It is also used in requests to ask for a permission. • Rising and falling tone expresses conviction, impression or surprise.