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Phonetics - Resumen Pronunciación de la Lengua Inglesa

Pronunciación de la Lengua Inglesa (UNED)

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Phonetics: phisiological approach • The way the sounds are
produced and perceived by
the speaker
Phonology: mental (linguistic) perspective • Position and organs of
• Decides which sounds are speech involved in the
relevant and which are not production and perception
of sounds

Phonemes Allophones
Trigger difference in Do not trigger difference in meaning
(Phonetically similar)

Minimal pair
Para [siti]
Pata [siri]
Phonemes [r] and [t]


Complementary distribution Free variation
(Different contexts) (Same context)
Clear [l] before vowels and [j] [t] [?]
Dark [l] before consonants or [put] / [pu?]

Articulatory phonetics Acoustics Auditory phonetics
Speaker The way the Listener
sound is
Production of the Transmission of the Perception of the
speech signal speech signal speech signal

Organs of speech
Oral cavity Nasal Cavity
(velic closure) (velic open)

Active articulators Passive articulators
Lips, tongue, soft palate Teeth, alveolar ridge, hard palate

Vocal folds (modify the air coming from the lungs)
Open (voiceless sound)
Nearly together (voice sound)

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Vibration of the vocal folds

Pitch Loudness

High Low Louder Softer
Quick vibration Slow vibration Higher amplitude Lower
of the vibration amplitude

Production of sounds

Articulatory stage
Position of the articulators
Phonation stage
Position of the vocal folds
How the air is altered so as
to produce sound
Initiation stage
Air flow

Initiation stage
Origin and Direction

Pulmonic Glottalic Velaric

Ejectives Implosives Clics (non linguistic pursoses)
[p], [t], [k] [b], [d], [g]

Phonation stage

Modal voice Whisper Creaky voice Breathy voice
Vocal folds Vocal folds Vocal folds Vocal folds
Nearly together Open Part together Apart at one end and
Part slightly open nearly close at the
Other end

Most sounds are produced by vibration of the vocal folds but some are produced with burst and friction [p], [s]


• Sound produced at the vocal folds is now filtered through the vocal cavity.
• Different articulators.
• 2 articulators approximate adopting different positions and producing different degrees of constriction.

Place of articulation Manner of articulation
Where in the mouth the articulators How strong the constriction is

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Segmental and Suprasegmental level (Syllable)

Vowels and

Stress Length Intensity Intonation

Stress Unstressed Short Long Loud Weak Accented Unaccented

Vowels are produced

With no obstruction of the airflow with vocal fold vibration

Parameters to describe vowels

Tongue position Tongue height Lip posture Duration
Front Close Rounded Short
Back Half-close Unrounded Long
Central Half-open

Types of vowels


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sometimes the middle vowel of English triphthongs ( [i] or [u]) is not fully targeted (is not entirely produced).
When this happens, the perceptual impression is that the second vowel of the triphthong is dropped and the first
one is lengthened so as to compensate for the loss of the middle sound.

Weak and strong vowels

English has two kinds of vowels: strong vowels and weak vowels. Strong vowels mainly occur in stressed syllables
although they can also occur in unstressed syllables. Strong vowels are all the monophthongs (except for ?( all the
diphthongs and all the triphthongs.

Vowels [i], [u]

[i] mainly occurs in unstressed word-final syllables, as in happy. [u] occurs in unstressed syllables, especially after
[j], as in curator. Schwa [?\ is the most frequently used vowel in English words.

Nasalized vowels only occur next to nasal consonants. mum

Voiceless vowels and aspiration
vowels are always produced with vocal fold vibration. It is possible, though, to utter vowels with no vocal fold
vibration (that is, voiceless vowels) when we whisper. The phenomenon of aspiration can be considered as a partial
devoicing of vowels. After the release of consonants [p], [t] and [k].

“Sea” and “Pea”

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Pre-fortis clipping and rhythmical clipping

Vowels that precede a voiceless sound (also known as fortis) are shortened or clipped, as opposed to vowels
preceding voiced sounds (or lenis). This phenomenon is known as pre-fortis clipping and it mainly occurs when the
consonant following the vowel occurs word-finally. For example, in the following pair of words, the vowel [o] is
going to be shorter when it is followed by [t] than when it is followed by [d].

The other aspect which triggers differences in the duration of vowels is the rhythmic structure of the word which
has to do with the amount of unstressed syllables that follow the stressed one. In that case, the higher the number
of unstressed syllables the shorter the duration of the vowel in the stressed syllable. An example is provided below
for the vowel [iː] which will be longer in the word lead (since no unstressed syllables follow), shorter in leader (with
one unstressed syllables after the stressed one) and even shorter in leadership (since two unstressed syllables
appear after the stressed one). This phenomenon is known as rhythmical clipping.

Parameters to describe consonants

Vocal fold position Place of articulation Manner of articulation
Open (voiceless) Where the sound is produced The degree of constriction
Nearly together (voiced) Which articulators are used used to produce a sound

Vocal fold position

Place of articulation

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Manner of articulation

The air coming from the lungs may be obstructed in the following ways:

1. A complete closure of the articulators (as in plosives [p b], [t d], [k g] or nasals [m], [n], [M]).

Representation of plosives

2. A close narrowing of the articulators (as in fricatives [s], [f], [Y]).

Representation of fricatives

3. A partial closure (as in laterals [l]).

4. An intermittent closure (as in trills [r] or taps [r]).

Representation of a tap and a trill

5. An open approximation of the articulators (as in approximants [j], [w]).

Representation of an approximant

6. Finally, it is possible to combine two types of constriction in the production of one sound, as in the case of
affricates ([sR] and [cY]), which are produced with a complete closure (as in plosives) followed by a fricative

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Types of articulation

Single articulation Double articulation
Consonants are produced with a single place Sometimes it is possible to produce sounds with a
of articulation double articulation. The two constrictions have to
be of equal rank (the same degree of approximation
or manner of articulation.

[w] bilabial and velar (open approximation)


Primary Secondary
The most important articulation of a consonant Sometimes primary articulation can be accompa-
And often the only nied by a secondary articulation. Simultaneous to
the primary one constriction but of lower rank. So
the manner of articulation of the 2nd constriction
has to be more open than that of the primary one.

Two [tu:] t becomes labialaized
Dark l

Types of consonants

Obstruents Sonorants
Blockage of the airflow in the oral cavity. Produced with a free escaping of the air flow.
Plosives, fricatives and affricates Approximants, laterals, nasals and vowels

Types of consonants

Fortis lenis
Consonants produced with more muscular Consonants produced with less muscular
effort. Voiceless effort. Voiced

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Allophonic variation in English consonants

Aspiration Devoicing Velarization
Plosives [p], [t] and [k] are Partial or total loss of voicing of a Voiced, alveolar, lateral [l]
aspirated in certain environ- voice sound in certain contexts. is sometimes velarized [4]
ments. In certain contexts.
Obstruents are devoiced when are
It takes place when this plosives located before or after a pause, or Clear [l] only appears before
are located at the beginning of when they are in contact with a vowels and [j]
a stressed syllable. voiceless sound. Light [lait]
Lure [lju?]

Aspiration is blocked when this Voiced/devoiced minimal pair [g]-[k] Dark [4] only before
plosives are preceeded by [s] consonants
Loss of voicing of a voiced [g] (except for [j]) or before a
Differentiation for the aspirated [k] pause.
Milk [mi4k]
At the end of a word the duration of Mill [mi4]
the preceding vowel is shorter when
follows a voiceless sound (sack/sag)

Approximants and laterals [j], [w], [r]
and [l] are devoiced when they are
preceded by [p], [t] or [k] at the
beginning of a stressed syllable.
pay / pray / spray



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The syllable
The only compulsory element to have a syllable is the vowel (monophthong or diphthong). Preceding and
following consonants are optional.


The nucleus (corresponding to a vowel) is obligatory. The onset,
which is optional, is made up of a consonant, if any, or a group of
consonants preceding the nucleus. The coda, which is also
optional, includes the consonant/s, if any, that follow the nucleus.
The rhyme contains the nucleus and the coda.

More than one syllable
A word with more than one syllable is provided below for the word button, which consists of two syllables
The first syllable has both an onset and a coda and the second one only has a coda.

Syllabic Consonants
In English it is sometimes possible to drop the Z?\ vowel when it is followed
by a consonant (usually [n] or [l]) in the same syllable and it is preceded by
another consonant which does not belong to the same syllable. A common
example can be found in the word button which can be pronounced as
Z!aUs?m\ or Z!aUsm\- When this occurs, the syllabification of the word is still
the same, that is, native speakers of English perceive that both
Z!aUs?m\ (with schwa) and Z!aUsm\ (without schwa) have two syllables and
therefore, the [n] in Z!aUsm\ is called a syllabic consonant, that is, a
consonant that makes up a syllable on its own.

Sonority hierarchy

In this case the definition of a syllable is not based on the presence of a nuclear vowel but on the number of sonority peaks with
which a word is divided. According to this framework, sounds have different degrees of sonority, that is, some sounds are perceived
as being more salient (more sonorous) than others.

If we define the number of syllables of a word as the result of the number of sonority peaks, we can conclude that both
pronunciations of the word button (Z!aUs?m\ and Z!aUsm\) have two syllables since they both show two sonority peaks.

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Phonotactics: combination of sounds

Phonotactics is the area of phonetics that studies the combination of sounds allowed in a given language. Not all
languages allow the same combinations. For example, whereas in English it is possible to produce the consonant
cluster [sp] at the beginning of a word such as Spain ZrodHm\, in Spanish this consonant cluster is not allowed and
thus Spanish speakers produce the English word Spain as [es!peHn].

Initial and Final consonant clusters


Sonidos Sonidos imposibles Sonidos Sonidos imposibles
posibles posibles

ZERO All vowels t+ t? All vowels d+ z+ U+ n

ONE All consonants M All consonants g+ i+ v 'q(

TWO 1) [s] + consonant sR+ cY+ C+ Y+ M 1. Nasal/lateral/[s] + f+ C+ M

2) consonant + obstruent (plosive,
approximant fricative, affricate)

1. [s] + voiceless 2. Consonant + [t]/[d] (as
plosive (p, t, k) past tense morpheme
spy, stay, sky boundary)
+ [s]/[z] (as plural/third
+ [f] person singular
sphere morpheme boundary)
+ nasal ([m]/[n]) + [S] (as ordinal number
smile, snore morpheme boundary)
+ approximant
([w]/[j]/[l]) The choice between [t]
sweet, suit, slow and [d] (past tense
morpheme) or [s] and [z]
2. plosive + (plural/third person
approximant singular morpheme)
plane, cute, twin, dry, depends of the voice
glow condition of the preceding
consonant. [t] and [s] are
[f]/[v]/[S]/[s]/[R] + preceded by a voiceless
approximant consonant and [d] and [z]
fry, view, throat, sly, by a voiced
shrine consonant. (cats/dogs //
[n]/[m]/[l]/[h] + laughed/loved)
approximant (only [j])
new, mute, lure, huge


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Sonidos Sonidos imposibles Sonidos Sonidos imposibles
posibles posibles
THREE [s] + consonant + nasal + obstruent +
approximant morpheme consonant
bands, jumped
[s] + [p]/[t]/[k] + lateral + obstruent +
approximant morpheme consonant
splash, stew, scream milked, twelfth
[s] + [f] + approximant [s] + [p]/[t]/[k] +
sphragistics morpheme consonant
[s] + [m] + approximant risks, asked
There are a few words in
English that contain a
syllable with a final three-
consonant cluster whose
last consonant does not
belong to a morpheme
boundary. Two of the
most common words are:
Text, glimpse

FOUR English four-consonant
clusters in syllable coda
position can only be
made by adding a
morpheme consonant to
a syllable which already
has a three-consonant

Note that the word
twelfths contains two
morpheme consonants
(ordinal number and
plural), that is,

Connected speech processes

Assimilation Elision Liaison
Regressive or anticipatory Linking r
Progressive or perseverative Intrusive r

It’s a process by which one (or more) sound(s) takes characteristics from another sound. Assimilations can be
classified according to the direction in which the borrowing of characteristics takes place.

Regressive or anticipatory
The most common type of assimilation in English. One sound anticipates some features of the following sound.
(Sound 1 Sound 2)

Plosives [t] [d] / nasal [n] / fricatives [s] [z]


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The common characteristic of these sounds is that they all have the same place of articulation, namely, alveolar.
Furthermore, it is important to note that only the alveolar feature is affected by the assimilatory process.

The only possible changes ca be summarized as follows.

1. [t] [d] [n] become bilabial [p] [b] [m] when followed by a bilabial sound ([p] [b] [m)

2. [t] [d] [n] become velar [k] [g] [M] when followed by a velar sound ([k] [g])


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3. [s] and [z] become post-alveolar [R] [Y] when followed by a post-alveolar sound ([R] [Y]) or a palatal sound ([j])

Progressive or perseverative
It is also possible in English to have an assimilatory process in which a sound takes characteristics of the
preceding sound.
(Sound 1 Sound 2)

Progressive assimilations only take place when there is an alveolar syllabic nasal [n] preceded by a bilabial or a
velar consonant. Thus, two processes are involved: 1) loss of the schwa in the sequence [?n] with a subsequent
syllabic [n] and 2) assimilation of the place of articulation of the syllabic [n] to the place of articulation (bilabial or
velar) of the preceding consonant.


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involves the merging of two sounds into another sound which takes characteristics from the two original ones.
The sounds that suffer a coalescence process in English are the alveolar plosives [t] and [d] when followed by the
palatal approximant [j].

The consonants that can undergo an elision process in English are the alveolar plosives [t] and [d]. These sounds,
however, cannot be elided in all contexts but only if the following conditions are met: 1) [t] and [d] must be in
word (or syllable) final position and they must be preceded by a consonant of the same voicing; 2) the following
word must start with any consonant, except for [h].


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Is a phenomenon which involves the pronunciation of a sound at the end of a word so as to link it with the first
sound of the following word. In English, there are two common liaison processes which always involve the insertion
of [r] and which are known as follows:

in non-rhotic accents, words ending with “r” or “re” in the spelling are pronounced with final [r] if the next word
begins with a vowel.

For example: When far is followed by a word that begins with a vowel, it is produced with a final [r] as in far away
[fa:r əweɪ] Thus, linking-r is the pronunciation of word-final orthographic “r” or “re” when followed by a vowel in
the next word.

For example, the word saw [so:] does not contain any [r] in the spelling. However, when it is followed by a word
beginning with a vowel, as in saw it, it is common to introduce an [r] ([‘so:r ɪt]). Intrusive-r can only be found after
those vowels which can be followed by an orthographically motivated [r]. Thus, it is not possible after high vowels
([i:], [ɪ], [u:] or [u]) or diphthongs ending with a high vowel (closing diphthongs ending with [ɪ] or [u]). Intrusive-r is
common after [ə], [o:] and [a:] and also after centring diphthongs (ending with [ə]).

Voicing and devoicing


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Stress Accent Length Intensity
(Duration) (Loudness)

Stress has to do with the degree of prominence with which a syllable is produced.

Lexical stress
Stress is a feature which is specified at the lexical level. That is, each native speaker of a language has a mental
lexicon which includes all the words of that particular language. For each word, speakers know its meaning, its
grammatical category and distribution, and its pronunciation both in terms of segments (vowels and consonants)
and in terms of stress patterns. Thus, for example, an English native speaker knows that the word orange means
“a fruit”, is a noun and therefore cannot be used, for instance, as a verb, and its pronunciation is [!nqHmcY] with
a stress on the first syllable.

Levels of stress

Predicting the location of stress
Stress placement can be predicted in simple words and in complex words. Simple words are made up of one
grammatical unit. Complex words are composed with more than one grammatical unit. They can be of two kinds:
1) word + affix and 2) word + word (compound).

Stress in simple words

Strong and weak syllables


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Stress in complex words

Complex words are composed with more than one grammatical unit. There are two major types of complex words:
1) words made up of a stem + an affix (prefix or suffix) and 2) compounds (made up of two separate words).
Complex words containing an affix may consist of a prefix + a stem or a stem + a suffix.

Stem + affix
The addition of a prefix to a word does not change the location of the main stress in the stem. In most cases, the prefix will get a
secondary stress but the primary or main stress will remain in the original syllable.

The addition of a suffix, on the other hand, may cause differences in the stress distribution of a word.

1. Stress-attracting suffixes (suffixes that attract the primary stress)

2. Stress-neutral suffixes (suffixes that do not affect stress placement, that is, the primary stress remains in its original
3. Stress-fixing suffixes (suffixes that change the location of the main stress into another syllable which is neither the
originally stressed syllable nor the suffix itself)

Note that in words with a stress

attracting suffix not only the main
stress is displaced towards the suffix
but also a secondary stress is
produced on the first syllable of the
word. This causes changes in the
quality of vowels, as in the example of
Ja*pan- *Japan*ese.


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Compounds are words made up of two separate elements. The main tendency in compounds is to have a primary stress on the first
element of the compound.

Stress reorganizations

it is possible in English to relocate the position of certain stresses when two or three stressed syllables happen to
come one after the other. In the next two sections, we will briefly review the two most common cases of stress
reorganization in English: 1) stress shift and 2) consecutive stresses.

Stress clash and stress shift
A stress shift involves the relocation of a primary stress into a secondary stress position as a result of a stress clash. A stress clash
involves the consecutive (or almost consecutive) production of two stressed syllables in different words.

Consecutive stresses
In English when three stressed lexical words with one or two syllables come together in connected speech, the word in the middle
tends to lose the stress.


Syllable-timed languages Stress-timed languages

A syllable-timed language is a language in A stress-timed language is a language in which stressed syllables tend to be
which syllables (no matter whether they produced at equal time intervals. Thus, there is more or less the same amount
are stressed or unstressed) tend to be of time between stresses. An example of a stress-timed language is English.
produced at equal time intervals. Thus, all In stress-timed languages, the unit of rhythm is the foot. The foot begins with
syllables take approximately the same a stressed syllable and includes all the following unstressed syllables (if any)
amount of time. up to (but not including) the following stressed syllable.

Sometimes sentences begin with an anacrusis, that is, one (or more)
unstressed syllable(s) that do not belong to any foot. For example, the
following sentence contains two initial unstressed syllables that are not part
of any foot.

The tendency in stress-timed languages to keep the same amount of time
between feet (from one stressed syllable to the next stressed syllable) is
called isochrony. Remember that a stress-timed rhythmic pattern has an
effect on syllable duration. The higher the number of unstressed syllables
between stresses the quicker they will have to be uttered so as to maintain a
similar amount of time between feet.


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Intonation, pitch, tone, accent and focus

Intonation deals with the pitch changes associated to utterances. For example, an utterance such as Melanie can
be produced with different pitch trajectories depending on the meaning the speaker wants to convey.

Declarative Question
Declarative: falling pitch movement
Question: rising pitch trajectory

Differences in the vibration of the vocal folds are perceived as different pitches. The relationship between vocal
fold vibration and pitch perception is the following:

Articulatory perspective Perceptual or auditory perspective

the quicker the vibration of the vocal folds the higher the pitch
the slower the vibration of the vocal folds the lower the pitch

The phonology of intonation investigates which pitch movements trigger differences in meaning at the sentence
level and therefore they should be interpreted as contrastive phonological entities or tones.

The pitch movements that are When a stressed syllable is produced with a pitch movement,
linguistically relevant (the tones) are it becomes accented. Thus, whereas a stressed syllable is a
only associated to two possible sites, syllable with rhythmic prominence, an accented syllable is a
namely, the stressed syllables and the syllable which, apart from rhythmic prominence, also has
right boundary of the utterance. pitch prominence. This means that all accented syllables have
to be stressed but not all stressed syllables are accented.

The decision of which syllables are accented and which syllables are not depends on the meaning the speaker
wants to convey and on which part of the utterance (s)he wants to highlight or focus.

Broad focus and narrow focus
Sentences can be of two kinds depending on their information or focal structure: 1) broad focus sentences (if the
whole sentence is new information) or 2) narrow focus sentences (if part of the sentence is old information and
part of it is new).

If the whole sentence is new information (broad focus) the last lexical word will always get an accent. The stresses
preceding the last accent tend to be accented too. When the utterance is produced with narrow focus, the element
that carries the new information must be accented, whereas the items that contain the old information are not.


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Tone languages and intonational languages

Languages such as English and Spanish are known as intonational languages since they use pitch to change the
meaning of sentences. This means that the same sentence can vary its meaning if the pitch pattern varies.

There are other languages, such as a Chinese, in which pitch differences are not only used to trigger different
meanings at the sentence level but also at the word level. These languages are known as tone languages and they
use pitch to change the meanings of words.

Words Tones Lexical meanings

ma rising "hemp" (cáñamo, hachís)

ma falling "scold" (reñir, regañar)

ma level "mother"

Parameters to describe intonation

Tonality Tonicity Tone Pitch range
(Duration) (Loudness)

Tonality has to do with the division of a Sometimes the presence of intonation boundaries can disambiguate
chunk of speech into different otherwise ambiguous sentences. This is illustrated below for the sentence she
washed and brushed her hair that can acquire different meanings depending
intonation units or phrases (complete
on the number of intonation phrases with which it is produced.
intonation patterns).
She washed and brushed her hair. (produced with one intonation unit)
| I didn’t know that Peter left the country. | MEANING: “she washed her hair and then brushed it.”
| I didn’t know | that Peter left the country. |
| I didn’t know that Peter | left the country. | She washed |and brushed her hair. (produced with two intonation units)
| I didn’t know | that Peter | left the country. | MEANING: “she washed herself and brushed her hair.”

There are some contexts in which the presence of an intonation boundary is more likely to occur.

1. Long constituents. When one of the constituents of the The man goes to Leeds. (short subject one IP)
clause becomes too long, then it is treated as a separate The man with black glasses and a brown hat |goes to
intonation phrase (IP). Leeds. (long subject two IPs)

2. Lists. In lists, each item tends to be included in a separate I brought bananas | strawberries |a pound of cherries
intonation unit. |and some grapes.

3. Vocatives. Vocatives behave differently depending on How are you Mary? (final vocative 1 IP)
whether they are located in initial or in final sentence Mary |how are you? (initial vocative 2 IPs)
position. In initial position, vocatives are produced in a
separate intonation group. In final position, they do not
belong to a separate intonation unit.

4. Reporting phrases. As in vocatives, reporting phrases "Call me on Wednesday" she said. (final reporting
behave differently depending on whether they are located phrase 1 IP)
in initial or in final sentence position. In initial position, She said | "call me on Wednesday.” (initial reporting
they are produced in a separate intonation unit and in final phrase 2 IPs)
position they tend to belong to the same intonation unit.


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Tonicity deals with the distribution of accents within each intonation unit. Only stressed syllables can get an
accent. However, not all stressed syllables must be accented and the choice of which syllables get a pitch
prominence depends on the speaker’s communicative intentions.

In a broad focus sentence (if the In a narrow focus sentence (if Normally, function words are not stressed
whole sentence is new part of the sentence is old and therefore they are not accented.
information), the last lexical information and part of it is Sometimes, however, function words may
item is always accented new), the last accent is displaced become informative (that is, they are
to the most informative word focalized or highlighted) and hence they
and there is no accentuation of are subsequently stressed and accented.
the following items (as in this
example, which can be the
answer to a question such as
Who is a musician?)

Once the speaker knows which syllables are accented for each intonation phrase, then (s)he must decide the kind
of accent (s)he wants to use in order to convey a given meaning. The system of accentual choices of a given
language is known as the tone inventory.

British school American school

Pitch range
Pitch range has to do with the key or amount of pitch displacement with which an intonation phrase is produced.
Thus, for example, the following fall (HL) tone is produced with a broad pitch range (big amount of pitch
displacement) in the first example and a narrow pitch range (small amount of pitch displacement) in the second

speakers can also control and modify their pitch range and they can
broaden it or narrow if they wish so. A broad pitch range is usually used
to attract attention and to convey involvement, emotion, urgency or
excitement. A narrow pitch range, on the other hand, can express
detachment, sadness or redundant afterthoughts, among other

Intonational modelling: configurations vs. levels

The British School The American School
Configurational model Levels model

British School

Tone units are analyzed according to two configurations: the nuclear configuration and the pre-nuclear configuration.

The nuclear configuration includes the last accented syllable and all the subsequent unaccented syllables (if any).
The pre-nuclear configuration includes all the syllables (accented and unaccented) preceding the last accent.

In order to model intonation, the British school proposes to divide each intonation phrase into the following parts: pre-head, head,
nucleus and tail.


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The nucleus is the only obligatory element of an intonation phrase and it consists of the last (or only) accent. Thus,
the nucleus is located on the last accented syllable of an intonation unit. This means that there might be other
stressed or unstressed syllables after the nuclear one but there will never be other accented syllables.

The tail includes the unaccented syllable(s) (if any) after the nucleus. The presence of a tail is optional.

The head is an optional component of the intonation phrase and it consists of all the syllables from the first accent
up to the syllable before the nucleus.

The pre-head is also optional it includes the unaccented syllables before the first accent. Note that it is possible to
have a pre-head without a head. The head and the pre-head make up the pre-nuclear configuration.

The description of intonation within the parameters of the British school involves the division of each intonation
phrase into four components, as schematized below. The elements in brackets are optional.

Nuclear tones

Nuclear tones are associated to the nuclear syllable. The inventory of nuclear tones includes five simple tones (with one pitch
trajectory) and two complex tones (with two pitch trajectories)

Inventory tones


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Pre-nuclear (head) tones

The types of tones found in pre-nuclear position differ from those in nuclear position in that they do not account for the pitch trajectory
at the end of the intonation phrase but they just describe the pitch movement(s) of the accented syllables before the nucleus.

A high tone indicates that the first accented syllable of the head is produced with a high pitch. The diacritic to show a high head is [!],
as illustrated below. A low tone indicates that the first accented syllable of the head is produced with a low or mid pitch (not high).
The diacritic to represent a low head is [$]. In complex heads (heads with more than one accented syllable), each accent repeats the
same tone as that of the first accent. Thus, for example, if the first accent of a complex head is high, the subsequent accents will also
be high.


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American School

The British and the American Schools of intonational analysis differ in two important characteristics:

1. The way of describing tones
2. The interpretation of an intonation phrase

According to the British tradition, tones were described by means of their pitch trajectories. Thus, the British School tonal inventory
included categories such as “high-fall”, “low-rise” or “fall-rise”. The American School, on the other hand, describes intonation by means
of a series of tone levels (or tonal targets), such as H (high), L (low) or M (mid).

The second difference between the two traditions is the way intonation phrases are interpreted. Whereas the British tradition
decomposes an intonation phrase into a nuclear and a pre-nuclear configuration, the American tradition does not differentiate
between nuclear and pre-nuclear accents. According to the American School, each stressed syllable may become accented, which
means that it may me associated to one of the preceding tones (H, L or M). In order to account for the final movement of an intonation
phrase, the American School introduced the concept of boundary tones, that is, tones that occur at the final edge of an intonation
phrase. These tones are not associated to stressed syllables but to the limits of intonation units. Thus, the falling contour of the
following example would be modelled as an H tone on the stressed syllable *Mel and a low boundary tone at the end of the phrase.

Finally, it is important to note that no matter which system we use for the analysis of intonation, the intonational patterns of a language
are always the same. That is, the speakers of a language know exactly how to express liveliness or boredom or any other feeling or
nuance. In this way, we should be able to model the same intonation patterns with the two proposals we have presented here. We
have already seen a couple of examples from the book, which we reproduce below with the two modeling proposals.


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