English Phonetics and Phonology

Lecture 2: Detailed study of English consonants: Allophony What is a phoneme? A class of speech sounds that are identified by a native speaker as the minimal sound unit, they are called phonemes. -Phoneme: ³The smallest distinct sound unit in a given Language¶¶ The different phonetic realizations of a phoneme are called allophones: [p , t , k ]. Thus, [p ] and [p] are the allophones of the same phoneme in English,e.g:

Partake [pa: t e k] ,Also [l] and [ ] are the allophones of the same phoneme in English, it is called clear [l] . -Aspirated vs. unaspirated voiceless plosive is an allophony feature in English Language. Pill [p ] vs spill [sp ] ; Till [t ] vs still [st ] ; Kill [k ] vs skill [sk ]. What is an allophone? Allophone: is one of the phonetically distinct variants of a phoneme . The occurrence of one allophone rather than another is usually determined by its position in the word (initial, final, medial, etc.) or by its phonetic environment; it is the different realizations of the same phoneme . -Allophones: refer to the phonetic variants of a phoneme. In English the /t/ sounds in the words ³tip,´ and ³little´ ³hit,´ are allophones; phonemically they are considered to be the same sound although they are different phonetically in terms of aspiration, but the same in voicing, and point p], of articulation or manner of articula tion; as follows respectively : [t [l t ], [h t]. ‡ The voiceless bilabial plosive /p/: aspirated when it occurs in initial position and middle but in final position it is not aspirated. Paper [p e p ],Lip[l p]. ‡ The voiceless alveolar plosive /t/: we can notice that the final /t/ is unaspirated at the end of the phoneme only. For instance: Taste [ t e st]. ‡ The voiceless velar plosive /k/: we can notice that the final /k/ is unaspirated at final position only otherwise it is aspirated; For example: Kake [ k e k]
PHONETIC FACT: There is a burst or puff of air after the [p ] in pill, till, and kill called aspiration, that is absent in spill, still, and skill which means unaspirated consonants.

Aspiration: occurs between the period of the release after the closure of the consonant articulated and the start of the vocal cord activity for the vowel that comes after it. This period is usually felt as a puff of air and called aspiration . ‡ Aspiration Rule in English: Aspiration occurs on all voiceless plosives [p, t, k] occurring as the first sound in a stressed syllable.

‡ Although aspirated plosives and unaspirated ones are physically different, we consider both to be the same sound and this feature does not affect the meaning of the utterance.
‡ Voiceless plosives are aspirated before stressed vowels/diphthongs in the

same syllable. ‡ The aspiration rule does not apply when voiceless oral plosives follow /s/ (in the same syllable). E.g: Span /spa:n/ , Standard /stænd d/, Skyscraper /skaIskreIp /. ‡ English lateral liquid consonant (Dark /l/): - After a vowel, consonant cluster in initial position we can find the clear /l/ as an alveolar lateral consonant /l/, on the other hand, after a vowel or consonant cluster at final position we can find [ ] which is a dark /l/ as velarized lateral consonant. ‡ After pure vowels, diphthongs and /j/, the /l/ is realized as clear and represented as /l/.
Eg: Feeling /fi:l

/, hole /h

l/ ; Blink /bl

k/ ; yellow /jel


‡ After consonants (except / j /) & vowels (At the end of an utterance it is mostly possible), that the allophone is dark [ ] and velarized; Eg: Possible [p s b ], tackle. Dark / l / is also usually found at the end of a word. E.g: Feel [fi: ] , field [fi: d]; Well [we ]; yield [ ji: d].
Same sounds but different representations:
The aspiration symbol is used with voiceless plosives [p ], [t ], [k ] represented with an IPA diacritic [ ] in phonetic transcription (narrow or allophonic transcription) [

] The dark [ ] is represented with the diacritic [ ~ ] in the phonetic transcription too [.... «. ] The unaspirated plosives or the clear lateral liquid are represented as follows: [t], [k] , [t], and [l] Or transcribed using the phonemic transcription (broad transcription) /p/, /t/ , /k/ and /l/

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