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ENGLISH PHONETICS AND SOME ASPECTS OF PHONOLOGY INTRODUCTION One of the chief characteristics of the human being is his

ability to communicate to his fellows messages concerning every aspect of his activity. This communication can be either oral or written. As regards the relationship between sounds (speech) and letters (writing), languages are divided into those where there is sound-letter correspondence (e.g. Slovene, Croatian, languages with a SHALLOW ORTHOGRAPHY) and those in which the sound usually does not correspond to the letter (e.g. English, Chinese, Japanese, languages with a DEEP ORTHOGRAPHY). A written form of English based on the Latin alphabet has existed for more than 1000 years, and though the pronunciation has constantly been changing, only few basic changes of spelling have been made ever since the 15th century. In order to examine the essence of the English language, it is necessary to approach it through the spoken rather than the written form.

Communication Communication can roughly be divided into the production of

sounds and the stage of perception (perceiving the sounds the speaker is making). In English, as in many other languages, we can make a distinction between hearing and listening. Hearing requires only the presence of ears, while listening requires much more - it requires effort (effort to understand what had been said and occasionally also to respond to it). (It can be compared to looking, but not seeing).

The most important and the most sensible aim of our speech should be intelligibility. Intelligibility means being understood by the listener at a given time in a given situation. There are also other factors concerning the listener, helping him to understand what had been said, and let us mention only two: First is the listener's familiarity with the foreign accent; to many, the American variety of English may seem easier than the British one. This is due to exposure and familiarity with it. (Note: The first American films shown in Britain had to come with English subtitles for the British to understand them.) And the second is the listener's ability to use contextual clues when listening: for example: when talking about a zoo, involving the sentence: "We saw the lions and tigers." we are predisposed by the context to understand lions, even though the "n" is omitted in the pronunciation, and the word actually said is liars. And another example of when we are influenced by the context is when we are conditioned by grammatical possibilities: in the sentence: "These men are working." the quality of the vowel in men is not as vitally important for deciding whether it is a question of one man or of several men, as it would be if the word were said in isolation, since there is the plural form of the verb and there is the demonstrative these too indicate that the noun should be in the plural.

Types of English pronunciation Every language has different kinds of pronunciation related to region, social class and generation. But a foreign learner will expect to have one pronunciation recommended for his use. Two types models of to native be English pronunciation namely stand out as and potential American imitated, British English

English. Over 300 million people now speak English as a first language, and many of them use some form or the other of American pronunciation, but the British one continues to be taught in schools and thus serves as a model also in Slovenia. The variety of British English most frequently used in teaching English is RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION or RP in short.

Received pronunciation RP is a form of speech that has developed in Britain over at least the last four centuries and though it is not markedly regional, it is nevertheless understood anywhere in Britain. It is the most completely described form of British English pronunciation and is used in mass media (radio, TV, ...). Although RP is nowadays regarded non-regional, its advocates in the 16th century related it to the speech to be heard in London and at the Court.

Varieties of RP Conservative-RP is used by older generations, general RP may be observed in the pronunciation adopted by the BBC. Mainstream RP includes also adoptive RP (one adopts it in order to get a certain working position or to be accepted in certain social circles. It might roughly be called the equivalent of "knjina slovenina" or Standard Slovene in Slovenia) and U-RP. Advanced RP is mainly used by younger people of exclusive social groups.

PHONETICS Communication involves the production, transmission and reception of the sounds of English. Phonetics is, therefore, the study of how sounds are produced and how the position of the mouth can be changed to produce different sounds. Phonetics is universal, accounting for any sound produced by the vocal apparatus and irrespective of language. Within the field of phonetics there is articulatory phonetics (the study of how speech sounds are articulated, made, produced, pronounced), acoustic phonetics (the study of the properties of the sounds that are produced in terms of physics) and auditory phonetics.

PHONOLOGY Phonology is the study of how speech sounds structure (i.e. are put together) they and function form in a language. structure Phonology with a is thus language bound, since as soon as two or more sounds are put together, should recognizable meaning in some or another language. We thus speak of English phonology, Slovene phonology, German phonology, etc. It is the task of phonology to study which differences in sound are related to differences in meaning, and to study the rules according to which speech sounds may be combined into words and sentences. Only by studying both the phonetics and phonology of English is it possible to acquire a full understanding of sounds in English speech.

Phoneme and allophone A phoneme is a part of the phonemic alphabet. is so different from pronunciation threw, clue, shoe, suit...(different Spelling (letters) for the same

(e.g. to, two, too, through, spellings

pronunciation) or e.g. the letter "s" in see, pleasure and resign has three distinctive phonemic symbols) that it was necessary to invent a "new" phonetic alphabet for correct pronunciation. A phoneme is the smallest contrastive linguistic unit which may bring about a change in meaning. It is the basic linguistic element. Phonemic (= broad) transcription is enclosed in slanted brackets / /, is more general and in English consists only of the 44 phonemes. An allophone is a distributional variant of the phoneme which usually does not cause a change in meaning, but appears in different form in different contexts. Allophonic (= phonetic or narrow) transcription is enclosed in square [ ] brackets, is more detailed, This includes is a considerable in the amount of information symbols concerning articulation and auditory perception of allophones. information held diacritics (special denoting particular allophones)

Example of broad and narrow transcription on the word titles a) / / b) [t ]

The symbols used in both transcriptions have been suggested by the International Phonetic Association (IPA), a body founded in 1886 by a group of leading phoneticians of the time.

LIST OF PHONEMIC SYMBOLS USED IN THE TRANSCRIPTION OF RP Vowels 1. 2. ago 3. i: as in see as in sit /'g / e as in ten /ten/ 13. as in /si:/ / / 11. as in furr /f:/ : 12. as in

page / / 4. as in hat /ht/ 14. as in

home / / 5. as in arm : /:m/ 15. as in

five / / 6. now 7. as in got / / as in saw : / / 17. as in /gt/ 16. as in

join // 8. as in put // 18. as in

near /(r)/ 9. u: as in too /tu:/ 19. as in

hair /(r)/ 10. as in cup poor/(r)/ / / 20. as in

Consonants 1. 2. 3. p as in pen /pen/ b as in bad /bd/ t as in tea /ti:/ 13. 14. 15. s z as in so // as in zoo /zu:/

as in she / /


d as in did /dd/


as in

vision // 5. 6. 7. k as in cat /kt/ g as in got /gt/ 17. 18. h m as in how // as in man // n as in

as in chin //


no // 8. as in June / / 20. as in

sing // 9. f as in fall // 22. 23. 24. 21. r j w l as in leg

/leg/ 10. v as in voice // 11. as in thin // 12. as in then /en/ as in red /red/ as in yes /jes/ as in wet /wet/








Word stress

Sentence str.




The production of speech involves the vocal organs which are the main human instruments for speech production. The articulatory (physiological) stage mainly involves the organs that play the major part in the production of sounds, the socalled VOCAL ORGANS. A rough division of vocal organs would be into those belonging to the respiratory tract, and those belonging to the vocal tract. Those of the first group are: lungs, trachea, larynx and vocal folds. Those of the second group are the organs above the larynx. organs of the nasal tract/cavity. They, in turn, are divided into organs of the oral tract, and the

The oral tract consists of the pharynx and the oral cavity (the mouth). Roughly speaking, the oral cavity is made of the upper and lower jaw. The front closure can be made by the lips; and at the back is the so-called pharyngeal wall. The parts of the oral tract that can form sounds are known as the articulators. The study of articulators is called articulatory phonetics. Since it is the lower jaw that is flexible, that can be moved, it is the articulators that can move towards the upper ones (which are in turn places of articulation and are not movable). The articulators that form the upper surface of the oral cavity are: the upper lip, the upper teeth, the alveolar ridge, the hard palate, the soft palate (velum), the uvula and the back wall of the pharynx. The lower articulators are: the lower lip, the lower teeth and the tongue. The tongue is divided into different parts which are: the tip, the blade and the body of the tongue, the latter being also divided into the front, central and back part and the root of the tongue.

The larynx is just above the trachea. The front part of it forms the so-called "Adam's apple". The pharynx is a tube beginning just above the larynx. The velum (soft palate) allows air to pass through the nose (when lowered) and through the mouth when raised, the former situation causing nasal sounds to be produced and the latter oral sounds (mostly used in speech). The velum is one of the articulators that can be touched by the tongue (k, g are velar consonants - the back of the tongue makes contact with the velum.) The hard palate, also called "the roof of the mouth" has a smooth surface. The alveolar ridge is between the top front teeth and the hard palate; one can feel it with his tongue; it seems as if it were made of little ridges (t, d, are alveolar consonants the tip of the tongue makes contact with the alveolar ridge.) Teeth, tongue and lips ( and are dental consonants the tongue tip approaches the teeth; f and v are labiodental consonants the lower lip approaches the upper teeth.)

THE PRODUCTION OF A SOUND Air from the lungs goes up the trachea (windpipe) and into the larynx, at which point it must pass between two small muscular folds - the vocal folds (cords) - two thick flaps of muscle, rather like a pair of lips. If the vocal folds are apart, as they normally are when breathing out, the air from the lungs will have a relatively free passage into the pharynx and the mouth. But if the vocal cords are adjusted so that there is only a narrow passage between them, the pressure of the air stream will cause them to vibrate. Sounds produced when the vocal cords are vibrating are said to be voiced, as opposed to those when the vocal folds are apart, which are said to be voiceless. Vowels are


always voiced, while consonants can be voiced (z) or voiceless (s). e.g. As sssssssss as the air zzzzzzzzzz reaches the ssszzzssszzzssszzzsss vocal tract, all sorts of


articulation are possible, depending on which articulators in function and on how they are functioning. However, two major types of sounds can be produced, according to which of the two cavities (oral or nasal) are used in pronunciation. If the soft palate (velum) is raised towards and pressed against the back wall of the pharynx, so that the nasal cavity is separated from the oral one, the air is let out through the mouth (i.e. the oral cavity). If this is the case, we speak of oral sounds. But if the velum is lowered so that the air is left out only through the nasal cavity, then we speak of nasal sounds. Depending on whether we let the air out or whether we suck it in, we distinguish between egressive and ingressive sounds. The majority of English phonemes are the former (e.g. p, t, k, b, d, g,), however also some ingressive sounds can be found here, too, e.g. the sound produced when we burn ourselves or send a long-distance kiss to someone [ or when we indicate ]; irritation or sympathy ("tut-tut") [ or if trying to talk ]; to horses [ ]. Usually such sounds do not have lexical meaning and are extralinguistic in English, but in a number of other languages they may occur as significant sounds (phonemes).

Vowels and consonants The vowel sounds are best described in terms of acoustic or auditory impressions. Their articulation largely depends (only) on very slight variations of the tongue position, and what is even more important, there are no strictures or contacts that would largely affect their pronunciation. The organs that are mainly responsible for their articulation are the soft palate,


lips and tongue. These sounds are all voiced and egressive. They can be either purely oral or slightly nasalized. The consonant sounds since are we most easily described feel the in terms of and





movements involved. They can be pronounced with or without the vocal cord vibration; they very often have a "noise" component in the acoustic sense and can be either voiced or voiceless. In terms of is phonology that the difference take between the vowels and






function, while consonants are marginal in a syllable (CVC).

Lenis and fortis sounds Some phoneticians say that /p, t, k/ are produced with more force (muscular effort) than /b, d, g/ and that it would therefore be better to give the two sets of plosives names to indicate the fact; so the voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ are sometimes called FORTIS (meaning "strong") and /b, d, g/ are then called LENIS (meaning "weak"), depending on the force of articulation.

Articulatory description (VPM) The DESCRIPTION of any sound necessitates the provision of

certain basic information: 1. ACTION of the VOCAL FOLDS - whether they are closed, wide apart, or vibrating (VOICE) 2. Movement of the various MOVABLE ORGANS in the direction of the NON-MOVABLE articulators (PLACE) 1. NATURE of the AIRSTREAM; expelled with certain (definite) force in different ways by direct action of the lungs (MANNER)

Manner of articulation is defined by what is actually happening to the air stream as a result of the movement of the articulators from complete closures causing the air to pass with explosion when releases (= plosives)to narrowings by the articulators causing the air to pass through the articulators with audible friction (= fricatives), combinations of explosion and friction, namely affricates, to air passing through the nose (= nasals) to organs approaching each other, but not close enough to cause friction (= approximants). Manner of articulation Plosive






A complete closure is made at some point in the vocal tract and the soft palate is raised. Air pressure increases behind the closure, and is then released as an explosion (cf. /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/). A complete closure is made at some point in the mouth, and the soft palate is raised. Air is compressed behind the closure, and then released more slowly than in plosives (cf. t ), Two vocal organs are close enough together (but not in contact)for the air between them to be heard as friction (cf. /f/, /v/, / /, / /, /s/, /z/, //, //, /h/). A closure is made at some point in the mouth (by the lips, or by the tongue against the palate, or the tongue against the velum, and the air escapes through the nose (cf. /m/, /n/, / /). A partial closure is made by the blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge. Air passes through the mouth on one or both sides of the tongue (cf. /l/). Vocal organs approach (= come close to) each other, but not so close as to cause audible friction (cf. /r/, /w/, /j/).

Places of articulation are defined by the places located on the upper jaw to which the articulators of the lower jaw (lower lip, lower teeth, tongue (tip, blade, body (front, centre and back)) approach in order to produce sounds. From front to back the places are: bilabial, labio-dental, dental, alveolar, palatoalveolar, soft palate (velum), glottal. Place of articulation Bilabial Labio-dental Dental



Palatal Velar


Manifested by closing movement of both lips (cf. /p/, /b/, /m/). Involves using the lower lip and the upper teeth (cf. /f/, /v/). The tongue tip is used either between the teeth or close to the upper (cf. //, //). The blade of the tongue comes close to the alveolar ridge (cf. /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /l/) The blade (or tip) of the tongue is used just behind the alveolar ridge (cf. / /, //). The front of the tongue is raised close to the hard palate (cf. /j/). The back of the tongue is raised against the soft palate (cf. /k/, /g/, // Audible friction occurs in the gap between the vocal cords (cf. /h/).

THE ENGLISH CONSONANTS The English consonants are 24 distinctive sounds which tend to be non-central or marginal in the syllable, and which have at least in some of their realizations articulations involving


obstructions and narrowings which produce, acoustically, a noise component. Table of English consonant phonemes Place of articulation Front
Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Palatoalveolar Palatal

Velar Glottal

M a n n e r / A r t

Plosive Affricate Fricative Nasal Lateral Approximant

k g

f m

s n l



The voiceless phonemes in the first three manner groups (obstruction in the mouth = OBSTRUENTS) have a shaded background.










categories: 1. Those articulations in which there is a total closure or a stricture causing friction, both groups being typically associated with a noise component (obstruents) and a distinctive opposition between FORTIS and LENIS types rather than "voiceless" and "voiced". 2. Those articulations in which there is only a partial closure or an unimpeded oral or nasal escape of air. Such articulations are frequently frictionless and typically voiced (share many characteristics with vowels) (sonorants). CONSONANTS INVOLVING CLOSURE OR STRICTURE (OBSTRUENTS) PLOSIVES The complete articulation of a pulmonic egressive plosive, or stop, consonant consists of three stages:


(1) Approach or closing stage, during which the articulating organs move together in order to form an obstruction; in this stage, there is often an on-glide or transition audible in a preceding sound segment (visible in an acoustic analysis) (2) Hold or compression stage, during which lung action compresses the air behind the closure; this may or may not be accompanied by voice, i.e. vibration of vocal folds; (3) Release or explosion stage, during which the organs forming the obstruction part rapidly, allowing the compressed air to escape abruptly; if stage (2) is voiced, the vocal fold vibration may continue in stage (3); if stage (2) is voiceless, stage (3) may also be voiceless (aspiration) before silence or before the onset of voice.

The Release Stage of English Plosives, i.e. the third stage (1) No audible release in final positions. - In final position as in "map, mat, mack", or "robe, road, rogue", the closure stage may be maintained, the air compression becoming weak and the release being achieved by a gentle, delayed and relatively inaudible opening of the oral closure. When an audible third stage is missing, the plosive is sometimes termed "incomplete". A sensitive English listener will distinguish between such pairs as "mat, mack", or "road, rogue" even when the final plosive is not released. The fortis series /p,t,k/ will be distinguished from the lenis /b,d,g/ by the reduction of the length of the sound preceding them (e.g. pre-fortis clipping) and/or by the presence of some voicing in /b,d,g/. (2) No audible release in stop clusters. - In clusters of two stops (plosives or plosive + affricate) either within the word or at word boundaries, the first plosive has no audible release, e.g. in "dropped" (/p/+/t/), "rubbed" (/b/+/d/), "white post"(/t/ +/p/), "good boy" (/d/+/b/), "locked" (/k/+/t/), "big boy" (/g/+/b/), "object" (/b/+/d/), "great joke" (/t/+/d/), "big chin" (/g/+/t/). In cases of other languages, where these plosives are released audibly, the result is an intervening [h] in the case of voiceless plosives and an [ in the case of voiced plosives, e.g. [ ]. In English the closure for the second stop is made before the releases of the first. Release of the first plosive is also delayed in cases of gemination, e.g. "top people (/p/+/p/), "good dog"(/d/+/d/),"big girl"(/g/+/g/), and also when plosives are homorganic but different in fortislenis terms. In sequences of three plosives, e.g. "wept bitterly" (/p/+/t/+/b/, "locked door" (/k/+/t/+/d/), "jogged by" (/g/+/d/ +/b/), the central plosive has no audible first or third stage, when the position is occupied by /p,t,k/.


(3) Glottal reinforcement of final /p,t,k/. It is increasingly typical of many types of British English that final /p,t,k/, in words such as "shop, shot, shock", have the oral closure reinforced by a glottal stop/closure [ ]. Sometimes both closures coincide and in other cases may replace /p,t,k/. (4) Nasal release. - When a plosive is followed by a homorganic nasal consonant, either syllabic or initial in the following syllable, the release of air is normally effected not by a removal of the oral closure, which is retained, but by the escape of the compressed air through the nasal passage (i.e. the air goes through the nose), opened by lowering the soft palate for the nasal consonant, e.g. /p/+/m/ "topmost", /b/+/m/ "submerge", /t/+/n/ "chutney", /t/+ [n ] "cotton", /d/+/n/ "madness", /d/+ [n] "sudden". (5) lateral release. - The most frequent tongue contact for English /l/ being alveolar, the sequences /t/ or /d/ + /l/ are homorganic (i.e. made in the same place of articulation). /t/ and /d/ in such situations are normally released laterally (as for /l/), the tongue tip contact remaining. E.g. "cattle, medal, at last, bad light". It is different in the case of /p,b, k,g/ +/l/, e.g. "apple, up late, bubble, blow, tackle, eagle" when the alveolar contact for /l/ is made before or at the time of the release of the plosive. The escape of air is lateral (but not as "true" as for homorganic + /l/ sequences). (6) Affrication of plosives. - If the release of plosive closures is not made rapidly, a fricative sound, articulated in the same area of articulation of the plosive, will be heard. Plosives made with this slow, fricative release are said to be AFFRICATED. In some varieties of English the alveolars /t,d/ may frequently be heard in affricated form [ts, dz]: in strongly accented positions e.g. in "time, day", "waiting, riding", which are relatively weak positions, and in final positions, e.g. "hat, bed".

THE SIGNIFICANT PHONETIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH PLOSIVES The RP /k,g/. plosive phonemes comprise three pairs: /p,b/; /t,d/;

Their phonetic features are: (1) Place of articulation. - /p,b/, bilabial; /t,d/, alveolar; /k, g/, velar.


(2) Force of articulation.-/p,t,k/ tend to be pronounced with more muscular energy and a stronger breath effort than /b,d,g/; therefore, strong or fortis and relatively weak or lenis phonological categories. (3) Aspiration. - The fortis series /p,t,k/, when initial in an accented syllable, are usually accompanied by aspiration, i.e. there is a voiceless interval consisting of a strongly expelled breath between the release of the plosive and the onset of the following vowel, e.g. pin, ']. tin, kin [', ',

- when /l,r,w,j/ follow /p,t,k/ in such positions, the aspiration is manifested in the devoicing of /l,r,w,j/, e.g. please, pray, try, clean, twice, quick, tune, queue; - relatively WEAK aspiration when /p,t,k/ preceding a vowel in an unaccented syllable or in final position, e. g. polite, lip; - when /s/ precedes /p,t,k/ initially in a syllable, there is practically NO aspiration, e.g. pin ['] and spin ['sp n] (4) Voicing. - The lenis series /b,d,g/ may have full voice during their second stage when they occur in positions between voiced sounds, e.g. labour, leader, eager, rub out, read it,... In initial and especially in final positions, following or preceding silence; /b,d,g,/, while REMAINING lenis, may be only partially voiced or completely voiceless, e.g. bill, done, game,... (finally, as b,d,g) . The fortis series /p,t,k/ is not voiced. (5) Length of preceding sounds. - It is a feature of RP that syllables closed by fortis consonants are considerably shorter than those which are open, or closed by a lenis consonant. Pre-fortis clipping - the reduction in the length of a long vowel, diphthong, or a sonorant consonant before FORTIS consonants, e.g. rope, hurt / leak /, (closed by fortis /p,t,k/), while vowels and diphthongs in "robe, heard, league", closed by LENIS consonants, remain fully long. - /l,n,m/ are also reduced when followed by a lenis /p,t,k/, especially if they themselves are preceded by a short vowel, e.g. long /l,n,m/ in "killed, wand, symbol", and reduced varieties in "help, want, simple" Advice Initially in accented syllables, /p,t,k/ and /b,d,g/ are distinguished mainly through the presence or absence of ASPIRATION rather than presence or absence of voice. If


"pin" is pronounced [] instead of [], the listener may understand it as "bin". - One also has to be aware of the devoicing of /l,r,j,w/ when preceded by /p,t,k/, e.g. plight, try, tune, twelve. BILABIAL PLOSIVES /p/ /p/ (voiceless), /b/ (voiced)

fortis (regularly spelt with p; note "hiccough" /'/, and silent p in "pneumonia, psalm, receipt, cupboard", etc.); Aspiration: accented (e.g. pin, appear; /l,r,j,w/ devoiced in play, pray, pew); accented after /s/, unaspirated (e.g. spin, spill, Spain, spear; splay, spray, spew); weakly accented, relatively unaspirated (e.g. upper, capable, opportunity; simply, apricot, champion). Release: Syllable final (e.g. cheap, lip, shape, pump; upright, chaplain, upward); with no audible release (e.g. captain, topcoat, wiped, hop picker); followed by nasal consonant (nasal release) (e.g. topmost, halfpenny, happen, cheap meat); followed by lateral consonant (lateral release) (e.g. apple, couple, please, up late) /b/ - lenis (regularly spelt with b; note silent b in "limb, thumb, comb, etc" and in "debt, subtle, doubt") Voicing: initial - partially devoiced (e.g. big, boast, banana, begin; blow, brain, beauty); intervocalic, voiced (e.g. rubber, labour, harbour, husband symbol); final - voiceless (e.g. rib, ebb, sob, robe, bulb) Release: no audible release (e.g. obtain, rubbed, subconscious, Bob goes, object); followed by nasal consonant (nasal release) (e.g. submerge, robe mistress, ribbon); followed by lateral consonant (lateral release) (e.g. bubble, blow, rub lightly) Compare /p/, /b/ - post, boast; peach, beach; rapid, rabid; dapple, dabble; sopping, sobbing; simple, symbol; cup, cub; rope, robe; plead, bleed; pray, bray; puke, rebuke; mopped, mobbed.

COMPARE and READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): /p/ and /b/ pill pig bill big / / / / [ ] [] / / //


pit peat

bit beat // peach beach // pest best // pat bat palm balm // pond bond // pop bob Paul ball // push bush poon boon // pulp bulb // puck buck purred bird // pale bail // pain bane // played blade // pike bike // pile bile // pride bride // pole bole // power bower // poise boys pore bore

// / /

[] []


// / / // / / / / // / / / / / / / / / / // // //


[] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] // // //


// / / // / / // // / / //

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] // //

Pitter patter raindrops /[][]/


Pick up the pin and push it in. / [][][] / Put the pepper pot on the table by your plate. / [][][][] []/ The poor boy put the broken bottle into a brown bag. / [][] / Here is a beautifully printed book with bright pictures. / [] []/

Description: The soft palate is raised, the primary obstacle to the air stream is provided by the closure of the lips. Lung air is compressed behind this closure. During this stage the vocal cords are wide apart for /p/ (no friction or voice), or they can vibrate (all or part of the stage) for /b/. The air escapes with force, when the lip closure is released.


/t/ (voiceless), /d/ (voiced)

/t/ - fortis (regularly spelt with t, tt; sometimes with th, e.g. "Thames, Thomas"; also -ed in verbal past tenses and participles after fortis consonants other than /t/ = ALLOMORPHS, e.g. "jumped, looked, laughed, guessed, pushed"; t - silent in "castle, Christmas", etc.) Aspiration: Accented - aspirated (e.g. take, tall, tone, attend, obtain; /l,r,w,j/ devoiced in try, tune); accented after /s/ = unaspirated (e.g. steak, stall, stone); weakly accented, relatively unaspirated (e.g. butter, letter, after, taxation, phonetic, entry, antler, outward); syllable final (e.g. beat, boat, late, past, sent, halt, tuft, rushed, act, fetched) Release: no audible release (e.g. outpost, hatpin, football, catgut, white tie, that dog, white chalk, that joke);


homorganic nasal release (e.g. cotton, button, not now); followed by /m/ - nasal release (e.g. nutmeg, utmost, that man); homorganic lateral release (e.g. little, cattle, atlas, at least) /d/ - lenis (regularly spelt with d, dd) Voicing: initial - partially devoiced (e.g. do, dog, double, date; intervocalic - voiced (e.g. leader, order, adorn, hiding, London, elder, under, middle, fiddler, endways); final, voiceless (e.g. bid, mad, road, rubbed, end, old, loved, bathed, raised, judged). Release: no audible release (e.g. head boy, head girl, bad pain, red car, good dog, bed time, good judge); homorganic nasal release (e.g. sudden, madness, red nose); followed by /m/ nasal release (e.g. admit, road map); homorganic lateral release (e.g. middle, headless, badly, good luck).

COMPARE and READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): /t/ and /d/ tip trill dip drill // team deem // ten den tense dense // tag dag tarn darn // tart dart // tog dog // taw daw // taunt daunt // two do // // // // // // // // // // // // // [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] // //




doom // tune dune // tug dug ton done term derm // train drain // tie die // time dime // tale dale // tame dame // tome dome // toll dole // troll droll // town down // tear dear // tear dear // tore door tour dour // tower dower // tyre dire //


[] [] // //

// // // //

[] [] []

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

[] []

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] //

His tent is tattered and torn. /[][][]/ Ten tiny tots are toddling about.


/ [][][][] / He had a pot of strong tea with toast and tarts. / [] [] [][]/ He stood on his head and bowed three times to me. / []/ Description The soft palate is raised, the primary obstacle to the air-stream is formed by a closure made between the tip and rims of the tongue and the upper alveolar ridge and side teeth. Lung air is compressed behind this closure. During this the vocal folds are wide apart (causing no friction) for /t/ and may vibrate (part or whole of the stage) for /d/. The lip position for /t/, /d/ is dependent on the adjacent, i.e. following sound: - spread for /t/ in "teeth", rounded for /t/ in "tooth". The air escapes with force when the alveolar closure is separated unless: - the air-stream is blocked by a second closure: a) behind the alveolars (velar stop for /k/) = /tk/ (waistcoat), or b) forward of the alveolars (bilabial for /p/) = /tp/ (postpone), - the air stream is diverted through the nose (by lowering the soft palate) for /n/ = /tn/ (that night); for /l/ only part of the alveolar obstruction is removed, while the tongue-tip contact remains. Place of articulation: if followed by: - /r/, the place of articulation of /t, d/ is post-alveolar (towards the hard palate as in /r/) /tr, dr/, "try, dry" [ t , d] , - /, /, place of articulation of /t, d/ is dental (as in /, /), "eighth, not that", [t d] , - // "cheap, reach" raising of the front of the tongue.

Variants - affricated /t,d/ (South of England), e.g. "time" [ts, ' s] - affricated (Irish English) before "r", "tree, truth" - voiced /t/ (American English) in intervocalic position as a lenis, rapid tap = /d/, e.g. "butter", "latter", "put it over there" [ ] [] - (some RP speakers) [] - before [n] (syllabic "n") "cotton, certain" - before [l] (syllabic "l") "little, ] kettle" (both typical of regional varieties (Ld., Glasgow) Advice to foreign learners /t,d/ pronounced as alveolar sounds - the tip of the tongue should be raised (not palatal, nor dental as in Slovene).


/k/ (voiceless), /g/ (voiced)

COMPARE and READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): /k/ and /g/ kill gill // kilt guilt // key ghee // Kent Gent // call Gaul // could good // Phonemic transcr. // // // // // // Phonetic transcr. [] [] [] [] [] []



ghoul // clue glue // kite guide // coat goat // cold gold // crow grow // cap gap // class glass // craft graft // cot got //

// // // //

[] [] [] [] []

// // // // // //

[] [] [] [] []

He likes a cut of coffee and a cream cake. / [][] [][]/ Kate was cooking cakes in her country cottage. / [][][] [][]/ At the gate Gwen asked the girl-guide curious questions. / [][]/

Description: The soft palate is raised, the primary obstacle to the air-stream is formed by a closure made between the back of the tongue and the soft palate; lung air is compressed behind the closure; the vocal folds are wide apart for /k/, or vibrate throughout or only part of the compression stage for /g/ according to the situation in the utterance; lip position is conditioned by and dependent on adjacent sounds (vowels, semi- vowels):

- spread in "keen, geese", rounded in "cool", "goose". The air escapes with force upon sudden velum closure unless it is blocked by the velum (as for /p/ = /kp/ (e.g. (e.g. cactus)) or diverted through soft palate (for ). separation of the tongue another closure forward of pickpocket), /t/ = /kt/ the nose by lowering the

The velar stop contact is dependent on the vowels which follow: /k,g/ + front vowel /i:,, / - the contact will be made on the most forward part of the soft palate (almost on the hard palate); /k,g/ + back vowels // "cot, gone" result in a contact correspondingly retracted, GLOTTAL PLOSIVE Description The obstruction to the air stream is formed by the closure of the vocal folds, interrupting the passage of air into the supraglottal organs (those above the glottis/larynx). The air pressure below the glottis is released by the sudden separation of the vocal folds. It consists of silence. It is audible as the sudden cessation of the preceding sound and the sudden onset of the following sound. The plosive is voiceless and is assigned to the fortis category. Usage It is used by RP speakers, but is not a significant sound in the RP phoneme system; usually it is found in regional speech. (a) General RP usage It serves as a syllable boundary marker, when the initial sound of the second syllable is a vowel. If the second of two vowels which do not belong to the same syllable is accented, [] may be used instead of the vocalic glide, e.g. "co-operate, geometry, reaction" [ , , ] With careful speakers it is used also in cases when there is the of the intrusive "r" (usually following /, :/ or /:/, "Shah of Iran, law and order, drama and music" [], [], [ ]. We can also find it in places where the regular linking "r" is permissible, e.g. "later on, far off, four aces" []


[], []

[ ,

Also, every initial accented vowel can be reinforced by a preceding glottal stop, and thereby made emphatic, e.g. "It's [] empty; I haven't seen [] anybody" Replacements /p,t,k/ by []

e.g. "that table, get down, that chair, that joke" - followed by homorganic /t/, /d/, /t/, /d/, /n/; /r, w, j/, e.g. "outright, cart-wheel, not jet", before /h/, e.g. "not here, boat house". ASSIMILATION Assimilation in RP occurs at word boundaries (or in a word). It occurs in the case of casual (unofficial) and rapid speech. The three major types of assimilation are:

1. Regressive assimilation - which is instability of final alveolars /t,d,n,s,z,/. /t,d,n/ assimilate to the place of the following bilabials /p,b,m/ or velars /k,g/, and /s,z/ assimilate to the place of the following palato-alveolars /, , , /. They all keep their original voicing. /t/ /t/ /d/ /d/ > > > > /p/ /k/ /b/ /g/ before before before before /p,m,b/, e.g. that boy // /k,g/, that cup // /p,b,m/, e.g. good boy // /k,g,/, e.g. bad kid //

/n/ > /m/ before /p,b,m/, e.g. run back // /n/ > // before /k,g/, e.g. ten cups, girls //, // /s/ > // before /, shop // /z/ > // before /, jokes // , , , , , , j/, j/, e.g. e.g.


this those


2. Progressive assimilation Progressive assimilation is the instability of the following alveolar sound which assimilates to the place of articulation of the following bilabial sound. E.g. happen // []

3. Coalescence of /t,d,s,z/ +/j/ which has led to earlier /, , / (e.g. "nature, grandeur, mission, vision") also occurs across word boundaries: /t/ /d/ /s/ it" /z/ + /j/ in "what do you want" / / + /j/ "would you" // + /j/ "in case you need // + /j/ "has your letter come" //

AFFRICATES Definition Any plosive whose release stage is performed in such a way that friction occurs close to the point where the plosive stop is made, may be called "affricative". Friction is shorter than that of fricatives proper. Normally (in English) only /t,d/ may have this type of release, namely /, , tr, dr, ts, dz, , /. An affricate is simply a plosive followed by a homorganic fricative within one and the same morpheme. e.g. bits is not an affricate because the t and s are on syllable boundaries, whereas tz in Blitz is an affricate. Phonemic status From the functional and distributional points of view they are considered: - as single phonemic entities,


- or a sequence of two phonemes (/tr/ in the case of morpheme boundaries, e.g. "that railway") FACTORS: 1. The distribution of the sound is complex a) syllable initial b) syllable final, within the same syllable or morpheme c) word medial, with close knit stop and fricative elements d) word medial or final, with stop final and fricative initial in adjacent syllables and morphemes. // and // best fulfill these conditions; in intervocalic position they behave like simple consonants, without separation of the elements between syllables, e.g. pitches, pities; aged, aided; //, not // //; /tr, dr/ lack occurrence in final position; /ts, dz/ do not occur initially (ts in cats have no special status in English phonology. They are considered consonant clusters just as ps in laps or ks in sacks. /, / occur in final position, e.g. eighth [] /, , tr, dr/ if treated as sequences of two phonemes: In the same syllable or morpheme they a) have shorter friction in the second element of /, /, e.g. chap, jam b) have shorter fricative in the /r/ sound of /tr, dr/, e.g. mattress, tawdry; When a syllable or morpheme boundary occurs between the elements a) there is longer friction in /t/ + //, e.g. "lightship", and less fricative /r/ in the case of /t,d/ + /r/; but there is no boundary possibility between //.

2. The native speaker's reaction


He will regard /, / not as composite sounds but as single sounds. 3. Conclusion: Regarding the above mentioned, /, / will be treated as complex phonetic and single phonemic entities. /tr, dr/ will also be considered as units...(syllables, syllable boundaries, morpheme boundaries) 4. Acoustic features Explosive onset of the friction (release stage). /, / - palatalized (these are the only affricates in English that can occur both at the beginning and the end of the word, e.g. George [], church [] /tr, dr/ - post-alveolar stop

PALATO-ALVEOLAR AFFRICATES // (voiceless), // (voiced) Description The soft palate is raised, the obstacle to the air-stream is caused by a closure made between the tip, blade and rims of the tongue and the upper alveolar ridge and the side teeth. The front of the tongue is raised towards the hard palate in readiness for the fricative release. The closure is released slowly, the air escaping over the whole central surface of the tongue with friction occurring between the front region of the tongue and the front palatal section of the mouth. During the stop and fricative stages the vocal folds are wide apart for //, and vibrating for all or part of //, depending on the situation; // is devoiced in initial and in final position (like /b,d,g,z,.../); /, / are NOT like plosives; they never lose their fricative releases stage. LIP POSITION depends on the following sound, e.g. "cheese, choose". In the case of // (i.e. the reduction of consonants such as /p, are in front of) // we can be witness to pre-fortis clipping long vowels and diphthongs before fortis t, k, f, , s, /). Sounds preceding (= remain of full length.


Variants None other than /t, d/ + /j/, e.g. "gesture, culture, virtue, statue, righteous, fortune, literature, question, posture, Christian, soldier, procedure,... In cases of /t,d/ + u, both /, / or /tj, dj/ can be heard, e.g. "actual, punctual, mutual, individual, gradual, graduate".


/tr/ (voiceless), /dr/ (voiced)

Description The soft palate is raised, the obstacle to the airstream is formed by a closure between the tip and rims of the tongue and the edge of the upper alveolar ridge and the upper side teeth. The CENTRE of the tongue is hollowed in readiness to pronounce the /r/. During the stop and fricative stage the VOCAL FOLDS are apart for /tr/. In the case of /dr/ voice is present throughout the pronouncing when in medial position and only during friction when in initial position (it does not occur in final position). LIP POSITION depends on the following sound. Advice to foreign learners "French /r/" is the so-called uvular trill or fricative. Learn on /tr, dr/!!!

FRICATIVES In the articulation of fricatives, two organs are brought close together for the escaping air-stream to produce local air turbulence. They are also characterized by a noise component. The turbulence may or may not be accompanied by voice. The pairs RP fricative phonemes comprise and /h/. four They


may occur in initial, medial and final position. /h/ does not occur in final position. They differ according to place of articulation: - /f, v/ - labio-dental,

- // - /s,z/

- dental,

- alveolar, - palato-alveolar, (velar [h] in Scottish "Loch") alveolar, must be palato-alveolar,... very careful as to are how very they

- // - /h/

- glottal dental, one

(Labio-dental, close

together, so

pronounce the sounds) Force of articulation // are "fortis" fricatives, pronounced with more muscular energy and stronger breath force

than //, which are "lenis".

Voicing // tend to be fully voiced when they occur

between vowels or other voiced sounds. In initial and in final position they tend to be partially voiced or fully voiceless (due to closeness to silence), e.g. "van, zero, zoo" (with silence preceding) "leave, breathe, peas, rouge" (with silence following) When // are in final position the friction is voiceless even though the consonant remains lenis. (/h/ in medial position between voiced sounds may have some voicing, e.g. "anyhow")

Length of preceding sound


Fortis consonants // reduce the length of the preceding vowel (particularly a long vowel or diphthong) and

of // placed between a vowel and the fricative, e.g. "pence, self, teeth,..." = PREFORTIS CLIPPING (also in medial position)


/f/ (voiceless), /v/ (voiced)

The soft palate is raised, the nasal resonator shut off; the inner surface (the outer surface if the adjacent sound is a front vowel, e.g. "leaf, feel") of the lower lip (if the adjacent sound is a rounded vowel, e.g. "fool", or bilabial plosive, e.g. "obvious") makes slight contact with the edge of the upper teeth; the escaping air produces friction. For /f/ the friction is voiceless, and the vocal folds vibrate in the case of /v/. The tongue position when /f, v/ are in intervocalic (between voiced sounds) position remains independent during the pronunciation of /f, v/, especially when the preceding and following sounds are similar, e.g. "giving,..." 2. Variants There are no important articulatory variants in RP. In word final position /v/ may assimilate to /f/ before a fortis consonant initial in the following word, e.g. "have to //, have some, love to,..."; in familiar speech it is sometimes elided (left out), e.g. "a lot of money" //, I could have bought it" // (comes close to the unaccented forms of "are", "a") COMPARE and READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): / / and /f/ thin fin // Phonemic transcr. // Phonetic transcr. []



four // thief fief therm firm thirst first // thought fought thorn faun three free // thresh fresh // threat fret // thug fug // wreath reef hearth half



// [] // // [] // // [] // // // // // // // // [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] // // // //

/ / and /s/ theme thaw seem saw // thick sick // thing sing // think sink thong song // thorn sawn thumb sum // thunder sunder // path pass faith face wraith race Phonemic transcr. // // // // // // // // Phonetic transcr. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] // //


// // // //

[] // // //

[] [] []


/ / and /t/ thin tin // theme team thigh tie // thongs tongs Thor tore // thorn torn thought taught threw true // thrust trust // thug tug // both boat hearth heart

Phonemic transcr. // // // // // // // //

Phonetic transcr. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] //


// //

// // // //

[] []

[] []

// //

/ / and /v/ that vat // than van // thou vow // clothes cloves // loathes loaves //

Phonemic transcr. // // //

Phonetic transcr. [] [] [] [] [l]

// //

/ / and /z/ breathe breeze // bathe bays

Phonemic Phonetic transcr. transcr. // [] // [] //


clothe close // writhe rise

// //

[] //


/ / and /d/ breathing breeding [] then den // though dough // loathe load they day // those dose worthy wordy // thy die // their dare //

Phonemic Phonetic transcr. transcr. // // // [] // // // [] [] [] //

// [] // // [] // // [] []

Phrases and sentences for practice: Im thankful for a thousand things. // The thick thread will not go through the cloth. / / He sleeps with his thumb in his mouth. / / / / and /f/ mixed: The useful thread is free.


// The youthful Fred is three. // / / and /s/ mixed: The cook thickens the soup. // He has lost faith in her face. // They thank the singer for the things he sang. / / The other brother. // Smooth breathing is rather soothing. // Id rather breathe the heather than any other scent. / / / / and / / mixed: On the other end of the earth. // His birthday was on the third Thursday of this month. / / They taught their daughters things they thought worthy of them. / /



// (voiceless), // (voiced)

The soft palate is raised and the nasal resonator is shut off; the tip and the rims of the tongue make slight contact with the edge and the inner surface of the upper front teeth and a firmer contact with the upper side teeth, the air escaping between the forward surface of the tongue and the upper front teeth causes friction. In some cases the tongue tip may protrude between the teeth (inter-dental fricatives). For // the friction is voiceless and for // the vocal folds may vibrate according to the situation. The lip position depends on the adjacent vowel: spread for "thief, these" and rounded for "truth, thought". 2. Variants No important RP variants. - they are sometimes elided (left out) when followed by /s,z/, e.g. "clothes" //, "months" // - /s,z/ followed by unaccented // resulting in the preceding alveolar fricative sometimes influencing the dental fricative, e.g. "What's the time, Is there any?" /' '/ /' '/ - replacement by labio-dental fricatives, e.g. "mother, breathe in " /', ' '/ 3. Advice to foreign learners Avoid using /t/ or /s/ for // and /d/ or /z/ for //, e.g. in unaccented "the, than, they,..."


/s/ (voiceless), /z/ (voiced)

The soft palate is raised and the nasal resonator shut off; the tip and blade of the tongue make a light contact with the upper alveolar ridge, the side rims of the tongue a close contact with the upper side teeth, the air stream causing friction at this contact. There is very little opening between the teeth (some


speakers hold the tip of the tongue in contact with the inner part of the lower front teeth). For /s/ the friction is voiceless, whereas for /z/ the vocal folds may vibrate. The lip position will depend on the adjacent sound: spread for "see, zeal, piece,..." and rounded for "zoo, soon," 1) + labio-dental quality 2) + dental quality 2. Variants In West Country speech the fortis /s/ is replaced by a weaker sound approaching /z/. Before /r/ the approximation of the tongue to the alveolar ridge is more retracted (moved further back to where /r/ is), e.g. "horse-riding, newsreel" EPENTHESIS or insertion of sound between others (mince - mints, tense - tents) placing /t/ between /n/ and /s/ placing /p/ between /m/ and /s/, e.g. Sam(p)son placing /k/ between // and /s/, e.g. Kingston /'(k)/ 3. Advice for foreign learners Distinguish between: sing, thing sort, thought mouse, mouth sin, shin sort, short Caesar, seizure (especially Spanish speakers)

PALATO-ALVEOLAR FRICATIVES // (voiceless), // (voiced) 1. Description The soft palate is raised, the nasal resonator shut off; the tip and blade of the tongue making slight contact with the alveolar ridge; the front of the tongue being raised in the direction of the hard palate and the rims of the tongue being in contact with the upper side teeth. The air escaping is more diffusive than in the case of /s,z/; the friction occurring between a more extensive area of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. In the case of // the friction is voiceless, whereas for // there may be some vocal fold vibration (according to its situation).


Lip position is rounded in the case of "shoe" and spread in cases like "she" 2. Variants Before /u:/ or // /, / can become /s,z/ + /j/ e.g. "issue, sexual, tissue, seizure, casual, usual" either // or /s/+// + vowel e.g. "ratio, appreciate, negotiate" /s,z/+// (or /j/) + vowel e.g. "axiom, gymnasium, Parisan" /'/ // or // e.g. "Asia, Persia, version" // in final position (French loans) e.g. "beige, prestige, rouge, garage,..."

VOICED NON-FRICATIVE OR GLIDE CONSONANTS (SONORANTS) NASALS (1) Articulatory features Nasal consonants resemble oral plosives in that a total closure is made within the mouth, yet the soft palate is lowered, allowing the air to escape into the nasal cavity, giving the sound a special resonance; the air-stream freely escapes through the nasal cavity, therefore the name continuants. They differ from continuants friction such and as fricatives are because they produce without no the audible they usually voiced

fortis/lenis opposition. They resemble vowel type sounds. The English nasal consonants: Three nasal phonemes correspond to the three oral plosive areas of articulation. - bilabial nasal /m/ like plosive /b/ - alveolar nasal /n/ like plosive /d/


- velar nasal // like plosive /g/

(2) Acoustic features If the nasal passage is blocked (like in the case of a cold) /m, n, / are realized as /b, d, g/, e.g. "morning" //, "some nice lemons /' /. // does not occur in initial position. (The difference between nasals is also in the position) - vocalic nature of nasals. They perform the syllabic function of vowels, e.g. "mutton" [], "rhythm" [']. Although there is no voiced/voiceless opposition of nasals,

devoiced allophones of /m/, /n/ may be heard when a voiceless consonant precedes. e.g. "smoke [], smart [], sneeze

[], topmost"

BILABIAL NASAL /m/ When followed by a labio-dental sound /f,v/, the front closure may be labio-dental [ rather than bilabial, e.g. "comfort, ] triumph, come first, warm vest"... Assimilation - alveolar sounds/consonants followed by bilabial /m/ or /b/ assimilate to those sounds and are pronounced as /m/, e.g. "one mile" /m '/, "more and more" /m '/, "ten pairs" /'tem /, "gone back" /'m '/. ALVEOLAR NASAL /n/ Syllabic /n/ *open, *ribbon, *sicken, *organ (* more commonly with /- /, "cotton, sudden, often, oven, earthen, southern, listen, dozen, mission, vision, maddening /n/, /n /,


reasonable /n/, /n/, /n/, /n/, //, //.



When followed by a labio-dental sound /f, v/ as in "infant, on fire, in vain" /n/ may be realized as [] (an allophone of /m/) c.f. bilabial nasal /m/. When followed by /r/, /n/ may have a post-alveolar contact, e.g. "unrest, Henry". Word final /n/ frequently assimilates to a following word initial bilabial or velar consonant (being realized as /m/, //. e.g. "ten people, ten boys, ten men, ten cups, ten girls //".

VELAR NASAL // Variants Instead of RP //, the earlier [] forms are used in the Midlands and the North, e.g. [] instead of //. In the former case // should be considered an allophone of /n/!!! Conservative RP The termination -ing is pronounced as //, e.g. "meeting, nothing", resulting in homophones: "robbing" vs. "robin", both /'/.

LATERALS /l/ They are continuants/ sonorants (like /r/ and nasals, and

lesser /w/ and /j/. They are also vowel-like.

2. Articulatory features They are articulated by means of a partial closure, on one

(unilateral) or both sides of which the air-stream is able to


escape through the mouth. The tip of the tongue usually makes contact with the centre of the upper teeth (alveolar) ridge. They are also vowel-like, i.e. have a central syllabic function. Most commonly they behave as consonants - with non-central situation in the syllable. The only English lateral is the alveolar phoneme /l/. It has NO fortis/lenis opposition, NO voiced/voiceless opposition and NO non-fricative/fricative opposition. With the /l/ phoneme three main allophones occur: a) clear [l]; before vowels and /j/, e.g. "leave, let, lock; blow, glad; silly, yellow, foolish; million,..." b) voiceless [] following accented (aspirated) /p,k/, e.g. "clean, plosive,..." less considerable devoicing after /s, f,,/ or weakly accented /p,t,k/, e.g. "butler, hopeless". When syllabic, the tongue position is as for dark [ but otherwise for clear [l]. ], c) dark [] has a relatively back vowel resonance; occurs in final position after a vowel, before a consonant or a pause; or as a syllabic sound following a consonant: e.g. - "feel, fill, fell, canal, pool, doll - "film, milk, health, illness, alphabet, elbow" - "apple, table, camel, final, quarrel, usual,..." These rules work also across word boundaries, e.g. /l/ in "feel it" is a clear [l] before the initial vowel of "it". The first /l/ in "feel ill" is darker than the one before "it". [l] or [l] e.g. "pommeling, tunneling,.." [l] and not syllabic [l] in "fondling, puzzling, *whistling, *settling,..."


clear [l] dark []

- front of the tongue is raised toward the hard palate - back of the tongue is raised toward the soft palate


A preceding // may cause dental articulation of /l/, e.g. "a month later, with love,..." Connected speech e.g. "special edition [] [l] "middle of the road" [] [l]

Irish English - relatively clear [l] where RP takes dark [] American English - syllabic [l] in words like "fertile, futile, missile, reptile.." where RP takes a prominent preceding vowel + dark [ ].



Following a fortis accented plosive [ e.g."price, proud, tree, ], try, cream,..." 2. Description The most common allophone of RP /r/ is the voiced post-alveolar frictionless continuant (or approximant) [], the soft palate is raised, the tip of the tongue is held in the position near to, but NOT touching the rear/back part of the upper ridge, the back rims of the tongue are touching the upper molars, the central part of the tongue is lowered; the position of the tongue is one of hollowing. The air-stream is allowed to escape freely, without friction over the central part of the tongue. The lip position depends on the following vowel, e.g. it is neutrally spread in "reach" and rounded in "root". The allophone of the RP phoneme is


phonetically vowel-like, but having a non-central position in a syllable, it functions as a consonant. Linking /r/ - RP /r/ occurs only before a vowel, word final /r/ links the preceding vowel with an initial vowel in the following word. Intrusive /r/ the pronunciation of /r/ after vowels / and //, even if it does not occur in the written form, e.g. idea of //, Shah of Iran //, Law and order //. When /d/ precedes /r/, the allophone of /r/ is fricative, the closure for /d/ being post-alveolar. Variants A completely devoiced fricative [] may be heard following accented /p, t, k/, e.g. "price, try, cream, across" (c.f. aspiration). A partially devoiced variety of /r/ follows an unaccented fortis plosive, e.g. "upright, apron, cockroach,..." In the case of intervocalic [], a single tap is made by the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge, the side rims usually making a light contact with the upper molars. It differs from /d/ in that it is of shorter duration and less complete. [] vs. /d/. The lingual trill (roll) [r] may also be heard among RP speakers, in highly stylized speech (i.e. a rapid succession of taps by the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge. It is considered as some type of Scottish English. Uvular articulation, either a trill [R] or a fricative [ ] may be heard in the NE of England. American English: "r - coloured" vowels in words such as "bird, farm, lord,.."


Comments and restrictions

form Determiners a an the some Link words and as than that


on use

// before vowels

Always // demonstrative


Prepositions at for from of to

// before vowels // before // //before vowels Note that prepositions take strong form at the end of a sentence.

Verb be am (m) are is (s) was were Verb have has (s) have (ve) had (d)

/s/ after fortis consonants

/s/ after fortis consonants /h/ is retained at the beginning of sentences

Modal verbs can will (ll) shall (ll) would (d) should (d)

/l/ after vowels /d/ after vowels


Pronouns them our he his him her

Can be stressed All these pronouns can lose /h/ as optional weak forms; note that /h/ is retained at the beginning of sentences.


INTRODUCTION TO THE ENGLISH VOWELS The vowel is the type of sound, depending largely on very slight variations of tongue position, which is most easily described in terms of auditory relationships, since there are no contacts or strictures which we can feel. Such sounds are generally voiced, having no noise, These but sounds rather a characteristic fall into patterning of formants. generally the traditional

category of vowel sounds and will be known as the vowel type. This category of sounds is normally made with a voiced egressive air stream, without any closure or narrowing such as would result in the noise component characteristic of many consonantal sounds. The movable organs mainly responsible for the shaping of these resonators are: the soft palate (velum), lips and tongue. A description of vowel-like sounds must therefore note:

the position of the soft palate (raised for oral sounds, lowered for nasal sounds) the kind of opening of lips - degrees of spreading or rounding the part of the tongue which is raised and the degree of raising Of these three factors, only the second - the lip position - can be easily described by visual means. Our judgment of the action of the soft palate depends less on our feeling for its position than on our perception of the presence or absence of the nasality in the sound produced. Again, the movements of the tongue, which so largely determine the shape of the mouth and pharyngeal cavities, may be so minute that it is impossible to assess them by any simple means in terms of position. Moreover, since there is normally no contact of the tongue with the roof of the mouth, no help is given by any tactile sensation. A vowel description will, therefore, usually be based mainly on auditory judgments of sound relationships, together with some articulatory information, especially as regards the position of the lips. The description of the vowel sounds, especially by means of the written word, has always presented considerable difficulty. Certain positions and gross movements of the tongue can be felt. But the actual


point and degree of raising of the tongue is more difficult to judge. Vowel quality It is clear that a finer and more independent system of

description is needed, on the auditory and articulatory levels. The most satisfactory scheme is that devised by Daniel Jones and known as the Cardinal Vowel System. It is possible to give a visual representation of the vowels on the chart of the cardinal vowel tongue positions. On the basis of this the vocalic triangle was devised: front e half-open open centre back close


It must be understood that this diagram is a highly conventionalized one, and shows above all quality relationships. Some attempt is made to relate the shape of the figure to actual tongue positions: the tongue positions of the vowels can be classified according to the (1) height to which the tongue is raised, and (2) according to the part of the tongue which is raised highest. When we classify according to the height of the tongue, we distinguish 4 classes: close vowels, half-close vowels, half-open vowels and open vowels. a) close vowels are those in which the tongue is raised as high as possible


b) open vowels are those in which the tongue is as low as possible c) half-close vowels are those in which the tongue occupies a position about one-third of the distance from "close" to "open" d) half-open are those in which the tongue occupies a position about two-thirds of the distance from "close" to "open".

We can classify the vowels according to the part of the tongue which is raised, distinguishing three classes: front vowels, central vowels and back vowels. a) front vowels are those in the formation of which the "front" of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate b) central vowels are those in the formation of which the central part of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate c) back vowels are those in the formation of which the back part of the tongue is raised towards the soft palate. Vowel quality is also affected to a considerable extent by the position of lips. The lips may be spread, rounded or neutral. Vowels with spread lips or neutral lips are generally referred to as unrounded vowels.

A vowel description must also indicate whether a vowel is purely oral, or whether it is nasalized.

It is clearly not possible for the quality of a vowel to remain absolutely constant. We may distinguish between those vowels that are relatively pure (e.g. learn), or those which have a considerable and voluntary glide, such as the gliding vowel in line. The so-called pure vowels will be marked on the diagram as a dot; the gliding vowel sound (or diphthong) will be shown as an arrow which indicates the quality of the starting point and the direction in which the quality change is made.


Vowel length (quantity) There are traditional relationships between short and long vowels in English, as illustrated by the following words: bid/bead good/food cad/card cod/cord (for)ward/word /, i:/ /, u:/ /, / /, /, / /

Only in the case of /, / the opposition is solely in length and even in the case it has to be stated that // can occur only in unaccented syllables, whereas /:/ can occur in syllables carrying primary or secondary stress.

In all other cases the opposition between the members of the pairs is a complex of quality and quantity. And of the two factors it is likely that quality carries the greater contrastive weight. In accented syllables the so-called long vowels are fully long when they are final of followed by a lenis consonant. But they are considerably reduced when they occur in a syllable closed by a fortis consonant. The result of this process is called PRE-FORTIS CLIPPING. E.g. /i:/ in "beat" is only about half as long as in "bee" or "bead". It is of approximately the same length as the // vowel of "bid", but it retains its quality. This is also true of /u:, :, :, :/

If the length sigh is retained merely to show length, then it is possible to indicate phonetic variations. Thus: bee, bead, beat, bid do, food, boot, good car, card, cart, cat ] [bi:, bi:d, , ] [du:, fu:d, , ] [, , ,


caw, cord, caught, cod ] her, heard, hurt The same considerable diphthongs as well:

[, [, prefortis

, ] clipping applies to

play, played, plate [, , ] row, road, wrote [, , ] tie, tide, tight [, , ] cow, loud, shout [, , ] boy, noise, voice [, , ] fear, fears, fierce [ ] scare, scares, scarce []

We shall, therefore, from now on treat 20 vocalic phonemes made up of the following vowels or vowel glides-diphthongs: 7 short (pure) // 5 long (relatively pure) // 3 long (glides to ) // 2 long (glides to ) // 3 long (glides to ) //

The treatment of each vowel will include: - illustrations of spelling forms - articulatory description and an assessment of quality in relation to the Cardinal Vowels - indication of some of the chief variants - regional and social - difficulties encountered by foreign learners, with appropriate advice.


CLOSE VOWELS Characteristics

The front of the tongue is slightly behind and below the close front position. (The close position is where the tongue is closest to the roof of the mouth.) Lips are spread. The tongue is tense, and the sides of the tongue touch the upper molars. As in ... bead, key, cheese, scene, police, people, quay, Beauchamp

Prefortis clipping:
/ /, (reduced, but NOT short) - bead, beat; seize, cease; leave, leaf; liege, leach; Eden, eaten. Compare


The part of the tongue slightly nearer the centre is raised to just above the half-open position (not as high as in ). The lips are spread loosely, and the tongue is more relaxed. The sides of the tongue may just touch the upper molars. As in ... hit, sausage, biggest, rhythm, mountain, busy, women

Notes: Compare:
/i:/, , i / - seed, seat, sit; league, / leak, lick; seized, ceased, cyst.


The part of the tongue just behind the centre is raised, just above the halfclose position. The lips are rounded,


but loosely so. relatively relaxed.




As in ... book, good, woman, push,

pull, Worcester


The back of the tongue is raised just below the close position. The lips are rounded. The tongue tense.


fruit, soap
Long / / Reduced group, hoop







Pre-fortis clipping:
use (v.) two, blue, food, move use (n.), boot, fruit, hoof,


The front of the tongue is between the half-open and half-close positions. Lips are loosely spread, and the tongue is tenser than for / /. The sides of the tongue may touch the upper molars. As in ... egg, left, said, head, read (past), instead, leisure, leopard, any, many, Thames, Mary, Leicester.

Notes: If /e/ has a quality nearer to the

half-open, as in some kinds of RP and many regional dialects / in turn is more open. /

The centre of the tongue is between the half-close and half-open positions. The lips are relaxed, and neutrally spread.



in ... about, paper, banana, nation, the (before consonants) Notes:

This is the commonest vowel sound in English. Never stressed, and many unstressed vowels tend towards this sound (weak forms). Differs from other phonemes in that its contrast with similarly articulated long sound // does not involve a change in meaning. It gets its name from Hebrew / /, meaning emptiness, or nothing.

The centre of the tongue is between the half-close and half-open positions. The lips are relaxed, and neutrally spread.

As in ... shirt, her (strong form),

word, further, pearl, serve, myrtle, colonel (in GA the post-vocalic /r/ is pronounced).

Pre-fortis clipping:
Long // fur, burn, bird, urge Reduced first, earth, worse, church


The back of the tongue is raised between the half-open and half-close positions. The lips are loosely rounded. As in ... fork, call, snore, taught, board, saw, pour, broad, all, law, horse, hoarse (in GA the postvocalic /r/ is pronounced).


In RP some and // forms have a form with //, e.g. sure, your (also often youre) and occasionally poor.

Pre-fortis clipping:
Long // saw, war, born, dawn, board Reduced sort, ought, horse, chalk, quart.




The front of the tongue is raised to just below the half-open position. Lips are neutrally open.

As in ... hat, attack, antique, plait. Notes: Pre-lenis lengthening!

before / / and // - cab, cap; bad, bat, bag, back; badge, batch


The centre of the tongue is raised just above the fully open position. Lips are neutrally open.

As in ... run, uncle, front, nourish,

worry does, come, flood


In northern regional speech, a half-close back vowel is used, with or without lip rounding, i.e. (e.e. countryside , cup of tea .

The tongue between the centre and the back is in the fully open position. Lips are neutrally open.


in ... far, part, half, class, command, clerk (BrE), memoir, aunty, hearth (in GA the post-vocalic /r/ is pronounced). Note:

In RP // occurs in these contexts: pass, glass, cant, grant, dance, demand, slander, caster, aghat. in passage, ass, cant, rant, finance, expand, random, aster, gas. phonetic chance, But / / romance,

Pre-fortis clipping:

Compare: // and (reduced, NOT short) - card, cart; parse, pass; arve, alf; large, larch



The back of the tongue is in the fully open position. Lips are lightly rounded.

As in ... dog, often, cough, want,

because, knowledge, Gloucester. Australia,


Notes: It is noticeable that in sequences

//+/C/ the pronunciation / l/+/C/ is becoming more common, especially when /v/ is the final consonant, e.g. in involve, evolve, etc.

/i:/ 1. Illustration of spelling forms ee - tree, cheese, canteen e - complete, be, these ea - leaf, reason, sea ie - piece, field, siege ei, ey - seize, receive, key i - machine, police, prestige, suite Note: /i:/ in quay, people, Beauchamp / / Long /i:/ - see, seed, seen, fee, feed, fees Reduced [] - seat, feet, piece, lease, beef, reach Compare [],[] - bead, beat; seize, cease; leave, liege, leach; Eden, eaten. 2. Description The front of the tongue is raised to the height slightly below and behind the close front position. The lips are spread. The tongue is tense, with the side rims making a firm contact with the upper molars. The quality is nearer to [i] than to [e] in the Cardinal Vowel system. /i:/ does not normally occur in a syllable closed by / /. 3. Variants



The vowel is often noticeably diphthongized, especially in final positions, e.g. [ij]. A slight glide from a position near to is common among RP speakers, being more usual than a pure vowel. The use of a pure vowel in final position may be typical of an overcultivated pronunciation. This is not the case, however, in Scottish English, where the vowel generally doesn't have the length characteristic of RP and is not, therefore, subject to the same tendency to diphthongization. 4. Advice to foreign learners This vowel should give little difficulty to foreign learners, all of whom will have in their language a vowel of approximately the same quality. Their own vowel may not have the diphthongization which is typical of RP, but they should imitate this glide only with caution, since any exaggeration will sound vulgar or dialect. More important is the reduction of the length before fortis consonants, since the differentiation between two words such as "seize" and "cease" is achieved more by the variation of the vowel length than by the quality of the final consonant. The reduced form of the vowel should, however, remain relatively tense and not be confused with [ ].

// 1. Illustration of spelling forms i y e ie a sit, fifth, with, rich city, rhythm, symbol pretty, needed, wicket, wicked, except, careless, houses ladies, cities village, private

Note: build, Sunday and the other days of the week, business, women, minute (n), England / /. Compare: /i:/, // - feel, fill; seen, sin; bead, bid.


[i], // - least, list; reach, rich; sheep, ship; week, wick; /i:/, [i], // - seed, seat, sit; league, leak, lick; seized, ceased, cyst. 2. Description The short RP vowel // is pronounced with a part of the tongue nearer to the centre than to front raised just above the halfclose position. The lips are loosely spread. The tongue is lax (compared with the tension of /i:/), with the side rims making a light contact with the upper molars. The quality is that of a centralized [e]. // may occur in all positions in the word.

3. Variants Variations occur among RP speakers. Thus, a conservative RP form may be much closer than the general RP // described above, coming near to the quality associated with /i:/, other speakers, often of advanced RP, use a type which is lower than the halfclose [e], especially in unaccented syllables. Others use a central vowel [] notably in such suffixes as -less, -ness, -ate, -age (useless, goodness, private, village). In the unaccented syllables of certain words there is the RP free variation between // and //, e.g. in problem, possible, interesting, believe, which may be realized as / / or / /, the latter form being more usual than the former which are more conservative variants. It is also increasingly common for // to be used, despite the i spelling, in an unaccented penultimate syllable preceding a syllable with //, as in the endings / vanity, sincerity, primitive, /, e.g. in positive. This variation is most likely where there is no potential opposition, thus there is some pressure to retain the //-// distinction in such pairs as: affect, effect; allusion, illusion; accept, except; sitter, city. // is sometimes replaced by /i:/ in unaccented final positions - city, Sunday, Mary; In popular London speech this // will usually be realized as []. On the other hand, in most kinds of


English, // replaces /i:/ in the unaccented (weak) forms of such words as: he, she, been. 4. Advice for foreign learners It is of utmost importance that the proper qualitative relationship should be maintained between /i:/ and //. Of equal importance is the quantitative relationship of /i:/ and //. Once the correct quality of // has been acquired, most learners can distinguish bead from bid, where the distinction is complex of quality and quantity. But an opposition between beat and bid, where the difference of vowel length is insignificant, is more difficult. Three types of vowel should, therefore, be practiced: close, tense, long [i:] (bead); close, tense, reduced [i] (beat); and the half-close, lax, short [] (bid, bit). The fact that // occurs very often in unaccented syllables should also be noted, since an unreduced vowel in the weak syllables of such words as village, waited, fountain, describe, may seriously deform the accentual pattern for the native listener.

READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): Put / before the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, / /v/, / / / /z/, / / / / /m/, /n/, /l/. /, /, /, /, /, /, /, Put // after the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Repeat the words with //


bead // feet feed //

Phonemic transcr. / / / /

Phonetic transcr. [] []



head // leaf leave / / leak league / / meat mead // neat need // peace peas pleat plead / / reeve reef // seat seed // sweet Swede // teeth teethe // thief thieve // Repeat words with / : / bid bit // dib dip // hid hit // his hiss // lid lit /l/ ling link /l/ nib nip // pig pick //

/ / / / / / / / / /

[] [] [] [] []

/ / [ ] / / // [ ] / / // / / // // [] [] [] [] []

// // // // // / / // //

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] []



rich // rib rip // skid skit /sk/ slid slit /sl/ sting stink // thing think // trig trick /tr/ wig wick /w/ with with /w/ ring rink // sing sink //

// // // // // // // // // // //

[] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []

Minimal pairs with / / and / /: bid bead bit beat bitch beach did deed fill feel fit feet hid heed hill heal // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //


hip his hit kill lid lip list live mill pick pit rich Rick sick sin ship slip sit

heap hes heat keel lead leap least leave meal peak Pete reach reek seek scene sheep sleep // seat

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

// //


/ /: green beans / / easy to eat / /


three sheep // beat me // Hes seen. // Jean speaks easily. // Hes eating meat. // Three sheep were seen eating green beans. / / / /: big pig // Its fish. // Fill it. // His ship. // A big list. // Give it him. // Jim gives him a big list. // A big fish is swimming in the river. / /


/ / and / /: Its a ship. // Fill it. // Its a sheep. // Feel it. //

Did he live? Did he leave? // // Hes fit // His feet //

Jim beat Jean. Jean bit Jim. //// She speaks English with ease. // The rich teacher sits in his seat reading the weeks list. / /


/e/ 1. Spelling e set, bed, went ea dead, head, breath a any, many, Thames, Mary Note: says, said, bury, Geoffrey, Leicester, friend, again Compare: //, /e/ - sit, set, tin, ten, will, well, disk, desk; /i:/, //, /e/ - neat, knit, net; reach, rich, wretch; read, rid, red, feel, fill, fell. 2. Acoustic and articulatory description For the RP short /e/, the front of the tongue is raised between the half-open and the half-closed positions; the lips are loosely spread and are slightly wider apart than for //; the tongue may have more tension than in the case of //, the side rims making a light contact with the upper molars. /e/ does not occur in final, open syllables. 3. Variants /e/ is considerably closed in order to maintain the qualitative distinction from //. An /e/ which is near to half-close position (i.e. very narrow) is typical of over-refined RP and may often be associated with the closer type of //. If /e/ has a quality nearer to the half-open, as in some kinds of RP and many regional dialects // in turn is more open. An advanced RP form of /e/ is diphthongized in the direction of //, e.g. [ ]. Such


diphthong-ization is often characterized as affected. Another diphthongal glide, in this case in the direction of // is heard in popular London speech, particularly in monosyllables closed by a lenis consonant, e.g. bed, leg [ ] 4. Advice to foreign learners This vowel may present difficulties to those foreign students whose native language possesses two types of e, usually the Cardinal [] and the Cardinal [] qualities. Very often such a learner equates the English /e/ with his own half-open variety, thereby using a vowel which is too open (e.g. smetana) and might be confused by RP listeners with / /. He should, therefore, modify this vowel in the direction of his own, closer C[] sound.

// 1. Spelling a sat, hand, lamp, rash, marry ai Plait, plaid Compare: /e/, // - pet, pat; peck, pack, said, sad; ten, tan; lend, land; merry, marry; //, /e/, // - bed, bed, bad; big, beg, bag, tin, ten, tan; [] before / / and // - cab, cap; bad, bat, bag, back; badge, batch 2. Articulatory description The mouth is slightly more open than for /e/; the front of the tongue is raised just below the half-open position, with the side rims making very slight contact with the back upper molars. The lips are neutrally open. In the South of England // is often produced with considerable constriction in the pharynx, the tongue itself having rather more tension than in the case of /e/. This traditionally short vowel appears to be lengthened in RP


especially before the lenis consonants // (cab, bad, bag, badge, jam, man). Though vowels are regularly longer before syllable final lenis consonants than before fortis consonants, the lengthened [] is equivalent in quality to the longest varieties of / /. In terms of the system this may be due to the increasing qualitative closeness in RP of /e/ and //, the extra length serving as an additional distinctive feature; the qualitative-quantitative relationships of //-/e/ tends, there-fore, to become of the same type as //-//. // does not occur in final, open syllables. 3. Variants Regional variants often show greater qualitative separation of the phonemes /e/ and //. Thus, where RP /e/ and // have the values described, other types of English will have values C[ and ] C[ Such a lowered / / is maintained in many young women, ]. although / continues to be realized as the low front variety. / The result can be the confusion of // and //. On the other hand, that type of refined RP (and also popular London) which realizes /e/ in the C[] region and raises // to approximately C[]. In this case the opposition //-/e/ is reinforced either by the lengthening of // already mentioned, or by diphthongization of // towards //, e.g. bad, cat [b ]. 4. Advice to foreign learners The main difficulty lies in the establishment of the qualitative opposition //-/e/-//, while at the same time using // which is not too open. Foreign learners often find it helpful to make a conscious constriction in the pharynx for / /. The opposition may also be emphasized by making use of the length component in certain contexts. Where length cannot be so distinctive, the quality separation should not be such that // comes near to C[]; if this does occur, there is the danger, in the south of England, of confusion with the // of nut.

READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman):


Put / before the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, / //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Put / / after the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Repeat the words with / /: Phonemic transcr. // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // Phonetic Phonemic transcr. transcr. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] Phonetic transcr. // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //


bet [] beg beck [] dead debt [] fez fess [] kedge ketch [] led let [] Ned net [] peg peck [] Reg wretch [] rend rent [] said set [] shelve shelf [] send sent [] tend tent [] thread threat []


Put / / before the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Put / / after the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Repeat the words with / /: Phonemic transcr. // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // Phonetic Phonemic transcr. transcr. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] Phonetic transcr. // // // // // // // // // // //


bat [] bag back [] badge batch [] fad fat [] had hat [] cab cap [] lab lap [] lag lack [] lags lax [] mad mat [] pad pat [] prang prank [] rag rack [] rang rank [] sad sat [] sag sack []

[ // [] [ [] [] // // // //



snack [] stag stack [] tab tap [] tag tack [] tang tank [] wag whack [] / / and / /:

// // // // // //

[] []

// // // //

[] []

[ // [] //


bad [] beg bag [] bet bat [] bend band [] better batter // gem jam end and [] dead dad [] fellow fallow // flesh flash [] guess gas [] head had [] hem ham [

Phonemic transcr. // // // //

Phonetic Phonemic transcr. transcr. [] [] [] []

Phonetic transcr. // // //


// [] [] // [] // // [] // []

[] // //

/ / [] [] // [] // // // // [] [] [] // // /



lad [] lend land [] melody malady // men man [] merry marry // mess mass [] met mat [] peck pack [] pen pan [] pet pat [] wreck rack [] sex sacks send sand [ said sad [ set sat [] then than [] thresh thrash [] ten tan []

// //

[] []

// //

// [] // // [] // // // // // // // // // // // // //

[] [ [] [ [ // // //

[ // [ // [ // [ //

[ // [] [] // [] [ [ [] // // // //

[ //

/e/: Ten men // A red dress //


Ted is well. // The bed is ready. // He spends les on dress. / / Lets send his friend some help. / / Tell then that Ted is well. // / /: Black maps // The cat ran. // He sat on a mat. // I had a bag in the hand. / / The man sat on my black hat in the tram. / /

/e/ and / /: a bad end // a mashy mess // a dull lad a bed end // a meshy mass // as dull as lead


/ /


Cats feed on rats. Daddy is dead. // // The ten bad men ate the fat ham. / /

1. Spelling u sun, cut, dull o son, come, among, one, done, month, colour, monkey, mother, nothing, Monday, onion, London, oven ou country, southern, couple, enough, young oo blood, flood oe does Note: many earlier u spellings have been changed to o, especially in the vicinity of u, m, n, v, w, e.g. love, some, won, etc. Compare: //, // - cat, cut; lamp, lump; match, much //, // - cart, cut; barn, bun; march, much //, // - cot, cut; fond, fund; wander, wonder //, // - curt, cut; fern, fun; turf, tough 2. Description The short RP // is articulated with a considerable separation of the jaws and with the lips neutrally open; the centre of the tongue (or a part slightly in advance of centre) is raised just above the fully open position, no contact being made between the tongue and the upper molars. The quality is that of a centralized and slightly raised C[]. // does not occur in final, open syllables. 3. Variants


The variety of // described above is that of the general RP as used by younger people, especially in the London region. Conservative RP speakers will often use a more retracted vowel, i.e. an unrounded and centralized type of C[]. Regional speech of London has for // an open front vowel very close to C[]. In northern regional speech, a half-close back vowel is used, with or without lip rounding, i.e. [ ] (e.e. countryside [], cup of tea [ ]. In the same type of English, some words spelt with o and with // in RP, may have //, e.g. one, among, nothing. In RP both // and // may be heard, especially in words where the spelling form o is followed by a nasal consonant in an accented syllable, e.g. Montgomery, Bromley, accomplish, combat, comrade, 4. Advice to foreign learners Most languages possess a vowel of the [] type. It may happen that the quality of this vowel is too fronted, thus it has to be modified in the direction of //.

// 1. Spelling a pass, after, bath, tomato, father, branch, camouflage ar part, car, march ear heart, hearth er clerk, Derby, sergeant al calm, palm, half au aunt, laugh Note: // in vase and in recent borrowings from French in which the French oir [ ] is realized in English as //, e.g. reservoir. Long: bar, farm, large, hard Reduced: part, last, raft, lark, arch Compare: [] [] - card, cart; parse, pass; arve, alf; large, larch //, // - cart, cut; harm, hum; march, much; lark, luck


2. Description This normally long vowel is articulated with a considerable separation of the jaws and the lips neutrally open; a part of the tongue between the centre and back is in the fully open position, no contact being made between the rims of the tongue and the upper molars. Although there is a difference in length according to whether it occurs in a syllable closed by a fortis or a lenis consonant, the shortening effect of a closing fortis consonant is not as marked as for other long vowels. Thus, whereas the reduced [] of beat may be of similar length to the // in bit, the reduced [] of cart is somewhat longer than the short // of cut. // does not normally occur before //. 3. Variants A variety of // retracted near to the quality of C[] is typical of some advanced (refined) RP speakers; a variety of // fronted towards C[] is also heard among some RP speakers and in many regional types of English, e.g. in Australian English. Many regional forms of English do not make the RP distinction between // and //, using for both a vowel in the region of C[]. In RP, too, there are many cases of indecision between // and // in words where the vowel is followed by /by a nasal consonant + consonant. /, or Thus, transfer, elastic, plastic are words in which // or // may be heard. One of the main vocalic features which, in the popular mind, distinguishes RP from much regional speech is the presence of the / /-/ / opposition in RP, especially in the category of words containing vowel + // or nasal consonant + consonant. There are, however, in RP many cases where // rather than // occurs in these phonetic contexts: e.g. // in pass, glass, cant, grant, chance, dance, demand, slander, caster, aghat. But // in passage, ass, cant, rant, finance, romance, expand, random, aster, gas.

4. Advice to foreign learners Many languages do not have the qualitative opposition, in the relatively open region, of the English //-// type. The retracted nature of RP / / should be insisted upon, especially in those words of the after, path, pass, chance categories.


This retraction may be achieved by modifying / / in the direction of / /. In addition, in the case of words in which // is shown in spelling by the vowel letter r, the temptation to pronounce any kind of [] should be overcome (i.e. post-vocalic r ), except when word-final r may link to a following word beginning with a vowel (linking r). It is helpful to consider some postvocalic r letters simply as a marker of length for the preceding vowel.

READ ALOUD (Samples collected by Gabriela Sorman): Put / before the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, / /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Put / / after the sounds /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/, /f/, /v/, //, //, //, /z/, //, //, //, //, /m/, /n/, /l/. Repeat the words with / /: Phonemic transcr. // Phonetic Phonemic Phonetic transcr. transcr. transcr. [] //


bart [] bras brass // card cart [] Chard chart // Dargue dark [] fahs farce [] hard hart [] halve half [] Marge march //

// [] [] // [] // // [] [] // [] // // // // [] [] [] // // //

// []




sparse // starve staff //

// [] // []

[] []

/ /: bud but [] bug buck [] bung bunk [] buzz bus [] lug luck [] pub pup [] pug puck [] bulb pulp [] cub cup [] cud cut [] dug duck [] fuzz fus [] hung hunk [] rug ruck [r] shovel shuffle sung sunk [] sub sup [] sudden Sutton [ // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] // // // // // // //

// // // // // // // [] // // //

[] [] [] [] [] []

[] // [] []

/ [ /


bun barn [] budge barge [] duck dark [] done darn [] dunce dance [] hut heart [] hush harsh [] cud card [] cuff calf [] come calm [ cut cart [ luck lark [] lust last [] must mast [] much march [] puck park [] putt part [] roughed raft [] stuck stark [] scuff scarf [] // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // /s/ [] [] [] [] [] // // // //

// // // //

[] [] [] []


[ // [ // [] [] [] [] //

// // // // //

[] [] [] [] [s]

// // /s/



psalm [ tusk task []

// //

[ []

// //

began ban begun // bun [ // [ // [ [ //

// 1. Spelling o dock, dog; holiday, sorry, gone a was, what, swan, want, watch, quality ou, ow cough, trough, Gloucester, knowledge au because, sausage, laurel, Austria, Australia, cauliflower Note: // in yacht / / 2. Description This short vowel is articulated open lip-rounding; the back of position, no contact being made molars. // does not occur in a 3. Variants The type of // described has a very slight degree of liprounding. Some variants of // (notably those of south-west England and American English) have no lip-rounding and a tongue raising often somewhat advanced from true back. There is, therefore, considerable qualitative similarity between this kind of // and the RP //; the phonemes are kept distinct either with wide open jaws and slight, the tongue is in the fully open between the tongue and the upper final, open syllable.


through a complex of lengthened quality, e.g. cough, calf being distinguished through the length and fronted nature of //, or through the pronunciation of post-vocalic r, e.g. in dock, dark. Many words containing //+// have an alternative pronunciation with //, e.g. off, cloth, cross. Such a pronunciation is typical of conservative RP and has a social prestige value in southern England, but is generally being replaced in speech by younger generations by //. This shift away from the traditional // in such contexts may be due to the fact that // is also typical of popular London speech (Cockney) which uses // in these situations and also in such words as dog, gone, etc. It is noticeable that in sequences //+/C/ the pronunciation //+/C/ is becoming more common, especially when /v/ is the final consonant, e.g. in involve, evolve, etc. This is partly due to the pressure exerted by the fact that /l/ sequences (roll, bowl, soul, mole, etc) are considerably more frequent than // (doll, loll, col) and that //+/C/ sequences are themselves rare, e.g. lolle, dolls, golf, solve. In Scottish English the //-// distinction is often not made, cot and caught. Cod is kept separate from cod by the additional distinction provided by the pronunciation of postvocalic r.

// 1. Spelling or cord, horse, sword, born aw saw, lawn, jaw, yawn ou, au bought, ought, daughter, fault, cause a all, talk, salt, water, war, quart ore, oor, oar, our before, more, door, floor, oar, board, court, four Note: // in broad, sure or // in the second word. Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description This relatively long RP vowel is articulated with (medium) liprounding; the back of the tongue is raised between the half-open saw, war, born, dawn, board sort, ought, horse, chalk, quart.


and half-close positions, no contact being made between the tongue and the upper molars. // does normally not occur before //. 3. Variants // increasingly replaces earlier [] forms in the words spelt with ore, oor, our (before, door, four), though [] is retained both in conservative RP and in many regional dialects. Alternatively, those words containing r may have in regional types of speech [] or [ ]+/r/. Even when the pronunciation of r has been reduced to // this distinction of the preceding vowel may persist, e.g. horse [ []. ] or In RP some [] and // forms have a form with //, e.g. sure, your (also often youre) and occasionally poor.

// 1. Spelling u put, full, sugar, cushion, butcher o wolf, woman, bosom oo - good, book, wood, wool ou could, should, would, courier Note: Worcester (cloth) //. 2. Description The short RP vowel // is pronounced with the part of the tongue nearer to the centre than to back raised just above the halfclose position; it has, therefore, a symmetrical back relationship with the front vowel //. The tongue is laxly held (compared with the tenser //; no firm contact being made between the tongue and the upper molars. The lips are closely but loosely rounded. This vowel occurs in both accented and unaccented syllables, being present in the accented syllable of a relatively small number of words, though some of these are of common occurrence, e.g. put, good, look, would. // does not occur in initial positions in words nor before final //, and finally only in the accented form of to //. //, Worsted


3. Variants Little striking variety is found in RP realizations of //. Some speakers use less lip rounding than others, and a lower tongue position than described above, notably in the common word good and also in should and to a lesser extent would. In Scotland the opposition //-// may be neutralized.

// 1. Spelling oo food, soon, moon, spoon o do, who, move, lose ou group, soup, wound (n.), through u rude, June, Susan ew, ue, ui, oe chew, blue, juice, shoe Note: in many cases of the spelling u, eu, ew, ue, ui, // is preceded by /j/, e.g. music, duke, neuter, new, few, hue, argue, nuisance, beauty; in some words both // and // are heard, e.g. suit, enthusiasm. Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description RP long // is a back close vowel, but the tongue raising is relaxed from the loosest position and is somewhat advanced from true back; its relationship with // is similar to that between // and //, the articulation of // being tense compared with that of //, though no firm contact is made between the tongue and the upper molars. The lips tend to be closely rounded. // does not normally occur before //. two, blue, food, move boot, fruit, hoof, group, hoop


3. Variants The absence in English of any opposition between // and the vowel of the front, close rounded type, [ is an important ], reason for the relaxation and fronting of this phoneme from a true back position. Just as RP // is rarely pure, so RP // is usually diphthongized, [] or [], especially in final positions, e.g. do, shoe, who. Any exaggeration of the diphthong, with total loss of lip rounding on the first element is typical of popular London speech (Cockney). On the other hand, a quality of // which is too near to a pure vowel, with strong lip rounding, is characterized as affected or overcultivated. 4. Advice The quality of this vowel should cause no difficulty to most learners. More difficult is the relationship of fully long [], reduced [] and short [], as in food, boot, foot, where the difference between the vowel in boot [] and foot [] lies more in their quality than in length. It should be noted that use (v) [ ] differs from use (n) [] more by the length of the vowel than by the quality of the final consonant.

// 1. Spelling ir, yr bird, first, girl, myrtle er, err, ear her, serve, err, earth, heard ur, urr turn, church, nurse, purr w+or word, world, work, worse our journey, courtesy Note: /:/ in colonel // Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description fur, burn, bird, urge first, earth, worse, church


RP /:/ is articulated with the centre of the tongue raised between half-close and half-open position, no firmer contact being made between the tongue and the upper molars. The lips are neutrally spread. The quality of /:/ often coincides with the unaccented //, both being central vowels. It is possible to treat // as an unaccented allophone of /:/, since it may be claimed that no true opposition between the vowels exists. Thus in the pair foreword // and forward //, the second syllable of foreword may be said to carry secondary stress. In any case there is a difference of quantity between /:/ (not carrying a primary stress) and unaccented //, the /:/ of foreword being longer than the // of forward. Or again, the relatively unaccented, reduced /:/ of commerce is longer than the // of commas [] vs. //. It is to be noted that /:/ is frequently reduced to // when it is associated with no kind of stress-accent, e.g. were //, but //; amateur //, but //, where the reduced form of /:/ is still longer than unstressed //. /:/ does not normally occur before //. 3. Variants /:/ being the only stressed vowel in the central area; great latitude of degree of tongue-raising is permissible, varying from the sound of the half-close region or slightly above the one in the half-open region or slightly below. Both variants may be heard in RP, especially in the conservative type. The closer variety is also typical of certain regional speech, e.g. that of Birmingham and Liverpool, and to a lesser extent, in some Australian English. A very open kind of /:/ has derived from a vowel+/r/, as the spelling suggests. A pronunciation with vowel (usu [] []+/r/ is retained in many types of English where post-vocalic /r/ is still pronounced, e.g. Scottish English and some kinds of northern English; such forms of English do not possess /:/ as a distinctive sound. 4. Advice to foreign learners It is comparatively rare to find a long central vowel such as /:/ in other languages. Many languages possess somewhat central-ized front rounded vowels which are quite unacceptable in English because of lip-rounding.


Since nearly all cases of /:/ occur in words having an r in spelling, care must be taken to avoid post-vocalic /r/ (except when it is the case of a linking r).

// 1. Spelling // may be spelt with most vowel letters and their combinations, e.g. i (possible), e (gentleman), o (oblige), u (suppose), ar (particular), er (mother), or (doctor), ou (famous), our (colour), ure (figure), etc. It is most frequently in opposition either with zero vowel, e.g. about, bout; waiter, wait; or with unstressed //, e.g. affect, effect; accept, except; razors, raises; grocers, grosses; mitre, mighty; waiter, weighty; sitter, city, etc. In addition it should be noted that // is common in the socalled WEAK FORMS.

2. Description // has a very high frequency of occurrence in unstressed syllables. Its quality is that of a central vowel with neutral lip position, having in non-final positions a tongue-rising between half-open and half-close. In the vicinity of velar consonants // (e.g. long ago //) the tongue may be slightly more raised and retracted. But in the final positions it is articulated either in the half-open central position or in the most open region of the central area (e.g. father //). 3. Variants As in the case of /:/, // has no qualitative opposition within the central area of vowel articulation, so that considerable varying is possible within this region. In certain types of RP the quality of the final // reaches an articulation similar to that associated with //, but may have the same degree of opening as // (i.e. fully open), e.g. the final vowel of mother // may be more open than the first; or again, the two vowels of father // may be


of similar quality. The opening of final // to this extent is, however, commonly felt to be an exaggeration characteristic of affected speech.

THE DIPHTHONGS Sequences of vocalic elements included under the term "diphthongs" are those which form a glide within one syllable. They may be said to have a 1st element (the starting point) and a 2nd element (the point in the direction of which the glide is made). The RP diphthongs have as their 1st element sounds in the general region of [] and for the 2nd element []. The following generalizations refer to all the RP diphthongs: 1. Most of the length and stress associated with the glide is concentrated on the 1st element, the 2nd element being only lightly sounded; diphthongs of this kind are said to be falling. 2. They are equivalent in length to the long (pure) vowels and are subject to the same variations of quantity, i.e. the prefortis clipping: plays [] vs. place []. The reduced forms show a considerable shortening of the 1st element. 3. They are particularly susceptible to variation in different regional and social types of speech. Even within the RP varieties considerable variation is possible in both elements. 4. No diphthong occurs before //, except when the word final /n/ is assimilated to // in connected speech.

CLOSING DIPHTHONGS // 1. Spelling a ai, ay ei, ey ape, late, make, lady, waste day, may, waist, rail, aim, rain eight, veil, weigh, rein, they


ea -

great, steak, break //, gauge //,

Note: halfpenny gaol // Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description

day, made, game, gaze eight, late, face, safe, ache

The glide begins from slightly below the half-close front position and moves in the direction of RP //, there being a slight closing movement of the lower jaw. The lips are spread. The starting point is somewhat closer than RP /e/ of bed. Before [], the [] element is often absorbed into the [] or [] glide on to [], e.g. sail [ ]. 3. Variants In RP the only diphthong in the front region with which // is in contrast is //. The 1st element has, therefore, considerable latitude of articulation before it risks confusion with the fully open1st element of //. In some regional speech, especially in popular London dialect, the 1st element may be as open as [] or a sound similar to that used for RP //. In such cases, since confusion with RP // would be likely, the realization of // has a more retracted 1st element, so that fate [] is kept distinct from fight []. The use of such a "wide" diphthong as [] or [] for RP // is considered unacceptable for social reasons. Many RP speakers react against the popular "wide" realization by using the closest and "narrowest" variety of / /. In advanced RP there may be little or no vocalic glide in the realization of this phoneme, especially in the fully long allophone, e.g. game, day, made.

// 1. Spelling i, y igh, eigh ie, ye ei, ai time, bite, write, climb, cry, dry, by high, light, fight, might, height die, lie, pie, tried, dye either, eider, aisle


Note: // in eye, buy Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description The glide of RP // begins at a point slightly behind the front open position and moves in the direction of the position associated with RP //; the glide is much more extensive than that of //, the closing movement of the lower jaw being obvious. The starting point may be similar to the articulation of //. The lips change from a neutral to a loosely spread position. Before [] the [] element is often absorbed into the [] or [] glide to [], e.g. pile [ ]. 3. Variants In those types of pronunciation, e.g. popular London speech, where // is realized as [] or [], // must have a very much retracted 1st element, i.e. [] or []. As for // in advanced RP speech, there is a variety of // with an extra long 1st element and very little glide, usually very fronted []; such a realization is most commonly heard in those situations where there is for rhythmic reasons a slight reduction of quantity, e.g. Friday, libel, climber. fly, die, mine, hide, eyes fight, like, lice, ripe

// 1. Spelling oi, oy - boy, toy, noise, voice, boil, point Note: buoy // Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description boy, noise, void, coin voice, joist, choice


For RP // the tongue glide begins at a point between the back half-open and open positions and moves in the direction of //, generally not reaching it. The tongue movement extends from back to centralized front, but the range of closing in the glide is not as great as for //; the jaw movement may not be as marked as in the case of //. The lips are open rounded for the 1st element, changing to neutral for the second. Before [] the [] element is often absorbed into the [] or [] glide on to the [], e.g. oil [ ]. // is the only glide towards // with a back starting point. 3. Variants The variants of this diphthong are less striking than those affecting the diphthongs treated so far. In popular London dialect where the realization of // may be [], the 1st element of the diphthong in the word boy must be closer than in RP in order to maintain the contrast with the glide in buy. In all varieties of // the quality of the final element rarely reaches the position associated with //.

// 1. Spelling o oa oe ou, - so, old, home, both, folk - oak, road, foal, toast, soap - toe, doe, sloe, foe, hoe ow - soul, though, shoulder, know, blow

Note: // in mauve, brooch, beau, sew, don't, won't Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description The glide of RP // begins at a central position, between half-close and half-open, and moves in the direction of RP //, there being a slight closing movement of the lower jaw; the lips are neutral for the 1st element, but have a tendency to round on the 2nd element. The starting point may have a tongue position similar to that described for //. go, toe, home, road, pose goat, rope, oak, post, both


3. Variants A number of variants are to be found of this narrow diphthong within RP. The type described is that which has in recent years become general. A more conservative diphthong has its starting point in a more retracted region, and the whole glide is accompanied by increasing lip rounding (/u/). Another variety (of an advanced kind is usually characterized as an affection) has a starting point more forward than the central area. In popular London speech the diphthong has a more extensive glide, the starting point being equivalent to that of a fronted //. The glide finishes in a fronted back position between half-close and close, usually without lip-rounding. In other parts of Britain there occur for RP // diphthongs of the types [] []. 4. Advice In some books dealing with the pronunciation of British English this diphthong is transcribed as "ou". Since the 1st element is now clearly of a central type, such a transcription may be misleading.

// 1. Spelling ou, ow - house, sound, out, cow, town, allow

Note: Macleod // Long [] Reduced [] 2. Description The glide of RP // begins at the point between the back and front open positions, slightly more fronted than the position for RP // and moves in the direction of RP //, though the tongue may not be raised higher than the half-close level. The glide is much more extensive than that used for // and is how, loud, town, cows shout, about, mouse, mouth


symmetrically opposed to the front glide //. The lips change from a neutrally open to a weakly rounded position. 3. Variants RP variants involve particularly the fronting or retraction of the starting point rather than its raising. For many speakers, the 1st element of // and // may in fact be identical.

DIPHTHONGS + [] All the preceding glides // are FALLING (i.e. with the length and stress on the first element) and CLOSING (i.e. gliding from a more open to a closer position); three of them // require an extensive movement of the tongue. All may be followed by [] within the word, either as an inseparable part of the word, e.g. Noah, fire, choir, iron, hire, society, our, sour, tower, or as a suffix (morpheme) appended to the root, e.g. greyer, player, slower, mower, higher, drier, employer, or sometimes, as a separable element internal in a composite form, e.g. nowadays. In such cases, the third vocalic element may, in slow speech, be added to the two elements of the diphthongal glide, but there is a tendency in rapid RP to omit the 2nd ([] or []) element, especially when [] is not felt as a separable morpheme. 1. [] > [] in general RP, e.g. in fire, tyre, choir, hire, society, shire, liable and also in the cases here [] may be considered as a separable suffix, e.g. higher, shyer, buyer, liar. 2. [] > [] in general RP, e.g. in our, shower, flower, coward, nowadays. Several new homophones are produced in this way, e.g. tyre, tower; shire, shower, sire, sour. In addition, in advanced RP the diphthongal pronunciations thus produced are often further reduced to a long monophthong, i.e. [] > [],[] > []. If [] and [] are kept distinct, there is, nevertheless, confusion between [] < [] and [], resulting in such homophones as shower, Shah; tower, tar. A more extensive levelling reduces both [] and [] to [], so that the homophones of the type shire, shower Shah; tyre, tower, tar; buyer, bower, bar, are produced, all with //. This monophthongization of // and //

and their coalescence with // is likely to be one of the most striking sound changes affecting Southern British English in the 20th century. 3. [] > [] in general RP, e.g. in player, layer. In these examples, in which it is a question of an // suffix, the resultant diphthong is frequently with the // of there, rare, etc. [] > [] in there greyer, // + levelled //

4. [] > [] = // in general RP, levelling frequently occurring between mower vs. slower, and myrth vs. slur (with //). 5. [] > [] in general RP, as in employer, enjoyable, joyous. In these cases the [] element of the diphthong is qualitatively distinct from the value associated with //, since it has a tongue position not higher than half-open. Thus, drawer (one who draws) with // + // may have a closer initial vowel element than the starting point of the glide in the reduced form of c(h)oir. [] > [] [] Foreign learners should by aware of this tendency to reduction of vowel sequences, in order that they may understand colloquial English. They will observe that such reduced forms are normal among many educated speakers. Foreign learners should, however, avoid the extreme forms of reduction, e.g. [a] and [] for [] and [] and [] for []. But the levelling (or SOOTHING) to [],[],[],[], may be taken to be current and permissible. Certainly such pronunciations are preferable to sequences containing an exaggerated [] or [] element, i.e. [] or [], giving [],[],[],[], [], etc. CENTRING DIPHTHONGS

// 1. Spelling eer, ear, ere - deer, dear, tear (drop of liquid), here eir, ier, ir - weird, fierce, fakir ea, ia, eu, eo - idea, Ian, museum, theological Note: hero /'/, year // or //


Long Reduced 2. Description

: dear, here, cheer, beard : pierce, fierce

The glide of RP // begins with a tongue position approximately that used for //, i.e. centralized front halfclose, and moves in the direction of the more open variety of / / when // is final in the word. In non-final positions (e.g. in beard, fierce, etc.) the glide may not be so extensive, the quality of the element being of the mid type. The lips are neutral throughout, with a slight movement from spread to open. 3. Variants In some kinds of advanced and conservative RP, and especially when // is final, the prominence and length shift to the second element of the accented diphthong, this final quality often being the most open type of // or // or even /:/. Thus here, dear may be realized as //, // or //, //. The form with /:/ is usually characterized as an affectation. 4. Advice Although the r which occurs frequently in the spelling of this diphthong, should not be pronounced finally or before a consonant, it should be remembered that an r link is regularly made before a following vowel, either initial in the next word of the group, e.g. here and there /''/, or occurring in the following syllable of the same word, e.g. hear // and hearing /'/.

// 1. Spelling are - care, rare, share, mare air - air, fair, pair, chair ear - bear, pear, wear, tear (v)


Note: heir, there, their, Mary, Sarah, scarce, aorist Long e: Reduced e 2. Description The glide of RP // begins in the half-open front position and moves in the direction of the more open variety of //, especially when the diphthong is final; where // occurs in a syllable closed by a consonant, the element tends to be of mid type. The lips are neutrally open throughout. 3. Variants RP // has variants mainly openness of its 1st element. in respect of the degree of pair, there, chairs, cared scarce

A feature of conservative and advanced RP is an even greater opening of the 1st element of /e/, the glide being very slight. Another form of advanced RP uses the long pure vowel , often somewhat neutralized, especially in a non-final syllable, e.g. careful , scarcely . A centralized pure vowel is also a feature of certain Midland and Northern speech, notably that of Birmingham and Liverpool. In those types of regional English where post-vocalic r is pronounced, RP // is replaced by /e:r/ or //, fair /fe:r/. 4. Advice The post-vocalic r of the spelling forms should not be pronounced except as a linking form when a following word begins with a vowel, e.g. pair of shoes / /, or when a vowel occurs in the following syllable of the same word, e.g. care //, but caring //. // 1. Spelling oor ure - poor, moor - pure, endure, cure, sure


ur - curious, spurious, during, security ewer - sewer our - tour, dour, gourd Note: // usually occurs in "jewel, fluent, druant" 2. Description RP // glides from a tongue position similar to that used for // towards the more open type of // which forms the endpoint of all three centering diphthongs with, again, a somewhat closer variety of when the diphthong occurs in a closed syllable. The lips are weakly rounded at the beginning of the glide, becoming neutrally spread as the glide progresses. 3. Variants // having coalesced with /:/ for most speakers of RP, the pattern of centering diphthongs is rendered asymmetrical, there being only one back glide of this type opposed to the two front glides. As a result the first element of // can be lowered considerably without risk of confusion. Thus several words with //, which have a pronunciation for some RP speakers, are given by others a glide , e.g. poor, sure. This glide may in turn be levelled with the realization of /:/. Thus, Shaw, sure, shore, still pronounced by some // are levelled by many others to // for all three words. Or again, you're (most frequently with //) may be realized as // and is identical with your. However, such lowering or monophthongization of // is rare in the case of less commonly used monosyllabic words such as moor, tour, dour. Where /j/ precedes //, e.g. cure, curious, secure, bureau, the glide from close front j through back rounded to central half-open may be reduced not only to //,k as described above, but also to a glide from j to a long central vowel, i.e. or . This latter pronunciation is characteristic of upper class RP. In those kinds of English in which post-vocalic r is pronounced, RP // is realized as /u(:)/+/r/, e.g. //. 4. Advice


Care should be taken not linking r. INTONATION AND MEANING







The importance of intonation is not so much that a good pronunciation always includes correct intonation as well as correct articulation and rhythm. The importance of intonation is that it is a means of saying different things. If you change the intonation of a sentence you change its meaning. Fixed phrases have there own inherent tone, e.g. far from it is nearly always spoken on one 5 (rising-falling). Intonation belongs in the realm of grammar (and, within grammar, the realm of syntax). It expresses a difference in the speaker's ATTITUDE. In general, tone expresses speech function, while tonic prominence expresses the structure of information. That is, the choice of tone relates to mood (kinds of statement, question,...), modality (assessment of the possibility, probability, validity, relevance, etc. of what is being said) and key (speaker's attitude, of politeness, assertiveness, indifference, etc.) MEANING OF THE TONES: GENERAL Basically, the falling contour means certainty and the rising contour means uncertainty (with regard to "yes" or "no". (also in other languages). We go down when we know the polarity of what we are saying.

THE TEN TONE GROUPS 1 THE LOW DROP (Low Pre-head+) (High head+) Low Fall e.g. `No. `Nobody. Im`possible. It's `Arthur's turn. "Sit `down. I "don't be`lieve it. "Why don't you look where you're `going.

2 THE HIGH DROP (Low Pre-head+) (High head+) High Fall e.g. No. Splendid! It's amazing. "What's that? I "liked it immensely. He "doesn't really know the answer.

3 THE TAKE OFF (Low Pre-head+) (Low head+) Low Rise e.g. <No. <Sometimes. I think so. %Don't <worry a bout it. It's %not so <bad. %Nobody's going to take it a<way from you.


4 THE LOW BOUNCE (Low Pre-head+) High head+Low Rise e.g. "What's <that? "Try not to be <late. "Will you be staying to <lunch, Tony? _Is <John going to be there? _Hul<lo.

5 THE SWITCHBACK (Low Pre-head+) (Falling Head+) Fall Rise e.g. &No. &Possibly. &Some people can do it. You can &try. {No-one wants to &force you to play. It {isn't only a question of &money, you know. 6 THE LONG JUMP (Low Pre-head+) Rising Head+High Fall e.g. }Try it again. You }didn't ask me to. }How on earth did you manage to get there? Well, }can you re turn it to tomorrow, then? 7 THE HIGH BOUNCE (Low Pre-head+) (High Head+) High Rise e.g. @Sugar? Is @this the one you mean? You "think I'd en@joy it? "Why don't I write to the @secretary, did you say? 8 THE JACKKNIFE (Low Pre-head+) (High Head) Rise Fall e.g. ^No. ^Certainly. ^Lots of people do it. It's ri^diculous. I can i^magine how tired you were. I can "hardly wait to ^hear about it. 9 THE HIGH DIVE (Low Pre-head+) (High Head+) High Fall+(Low Accents+) Low Rise e.g. Andrew was the <winner. Most people tell me <that. Yes. I thought his face was fa<miliar. "Going by underground would be the <quickest. The "little old man in the corner's been waiting <longest. 10 THE TERRACE (Low Pre-head+) (High Head+) Mid-level e.g. >Then (I "went for a walk.) >Air travel (I "find so frightening.)


you come to Can morrow? You must ask for them now. Ill send it to him. Hes just arrived. Whats your name? Whos running the music club this year? Shell ring you on Sunday. Itll all right provided &John can help. be (What a cold day! Let me see if I can lift you. Will you be ready by six? Whats your job? &Someonell have to do it. What did you say the address was? This knifes too blunt. I cant tell you &now. Its terribly difficult. Theyre not the same,are they? Whats the time, please? When will it be finished? He told me hed been in Persia. Im a"fraid Ive upset the milk. Itll be "very ex&citing. Im "going to re`sign. "Arthur Thomas is on the <phone. "What did you `think of it? Were "going picnicking. "How about the jacket? "Why have you `come? Did you "see that pretty <girl? "Oh for a bit of quiet! We shall "have to take a `taxi. Its a "long `time youve been away. &That made you jump. "How long dyou want me to `stay? I }havent even started the job. I "havent seen you for ages.

Yes. Why? Dont. Oh! Johnson. Peter. When, precisely? Can he, though? Isnt it just!) Stop it. Lord, yes! Im a shop assistant. But who? How many more times dyou want telling? Is this other one any better? Then phone me about it. Let me have a shot at it. Of course not! Four o clock. Next Wednesday. When was that, I wonder? "Why cant you leave things a `lone? "Will you stick to the `point? "Dont be ri`diculous. "Ask him to ring me again `later. "Not `bad! "What `fun! It "wont do at `all. I "want to `talk to you. Now "which one dyou `mean? When "will they stop making that dreadful `din? But "can we af`ford it? And am "I glad to be `home. Dont "ever do that a`gain. Stay as "long as you possibly `can. You "lazy good for nothing `wretch! And i"magine us meeting `here of all places!

The High Drop "How longll it `take? _Is that <really the quickest way? "Whats the next move? I shall {have to &give it to him. I shall be late, Im afraid. Hours. Much. Anything can happen. Why? How late?


"Lets paint one of the walls pink. I like it <here. "Johns generositys a mazing. Hell be {terribly &angry. A "letter wont reach Ann in time. I love salted <almonds. "Will you have a <drink? Ive "turned up at last. "When are you going to <Italy again. Would you "like to <join us? "Did you <like Box Hill? You {cant eat all &that. You "must `do it. Dyou "think it was <Terry? I know "all a`bout it. She {said she in&tended to return it. Well never be ready by <Monday. He "cant afford to pay. "Lots of people dont like it. I "wont `hear of it. "May I use your <phone? I "owe you an a pology. "Which would you `like, "tea or `coffee? "Why didnt you play? Youre "just in time. Ive "just seen that new musical. "Underneath the Arches. <What was that you said? "Shall we tell <Frank about it? This "pen of mines useless. Dyou "think I should <ring him? I hate quarreling with <Clare. This &cocoas not very sweet. The }lid doesnt fit. "Thank you very much. "Why not discuss it with Brian? The Take Off Have you "heard about <Max? "Whens the meeting due to take place? The "meetings at five. But }how do you do it? "John says he cant `come. Dyou "ever go to the <club? You "said youd give me one. Thats "two pounds e`xactly. "How did he `do it?

Which of them, dyou think? Do you? (I }thought youd it.) hate Is it generosity, dyou think? Let him. Phone her then. Take a couple of handfuls. Thank you. Ah. Goodness knows. Id love to. Im mensely. Oh, but I can. But how? Who else could it have been? But how can you know? Yes but did she bring it back in fact? Shall we post pone the meeting, then? Well give it to him then. Well take me, for instance. Now be reasonable, Frank By all means. I should think so, indeed. "Id prefer tea. I "couldnt find my racquet. I was a"fraid I should be late. I "missed the bus. "Whats it called? "What did you think of it? "Where did you go for your summer holidays? "Dare we risk that? Would you "like to borrow mine? "Mightnt it be better to wait? Then "make it up with her. Have a"nother lump of sugar. "Try turning it the other way round. "Not at all! A "lot of good that would do.

<No. <When? <When. (I }thought it was at six.) <Watch. (Like that.) <Oh! (}Why not?) <Sometimes. <Thats not what I said. <How much dyou make it? <How did he do it? (}Perfectly obvious)


}Mary said Masie was going to play. Its "very im`portant. Your change, sir. Youre "on my `toe. Dyou "think his proposals reasonable? Thank you for your <help. I "went with Mr. Spang. Im afraid &I cant meet them. He "says theyll both come. Oh good! "Breakfast in bed! Thank you. "Is it really <yours? "Shall we meet at <ten? I "cant find your book anywhere. "Can I have another <apple? Youve "made a mistake. I "dont a`gree. Ive got a confession opt make. You must return it. You "mean to say youre getting <married? I {dont think I can dive from &that height. Im sorry. "Lets do it my way for a change. We had "no sunshine at all. The Low Bounce I hate climbing <ladders. I must "pay you what I owe you. "Tell me, <doctor. "Is he <badly hurt? Well, "when shall we start? I "leave tomorrow `morning. Alice is on the phone. We "ought to go and see Jones sometime. Shes "waiting for my brother. Shes "knitting a magenta `pullover. Im "going to do some shopping. Id love you to come. I sup"pose Ill have to. "Thank you very much. "Not since last Wednesday week. "Yes it was. No. He "said he forgot. No. Hes "probably very hard up just now. We "really havent time this morning. }What a nuisance it all is! I "just cant quite manage it. "Am I dis<turbing you? Im "just `going. I "really must be `off.

<Did she play, in fact? <Is it? <Thank you! <Sorry! On the <whole its quite fair. It was <nothing. With <who? Who <is going to meet them, then? Can <John come? Dyou <like breakfast in bed. Dont <mention it. Of <course! All <right! O<K! %Thats <funny. (Where on }earth did I put it?) I %dont see why <not. Weve %plenty <left. %No, I <havent. %Why <not? And %what have you been up to <now? Dyou %mean that <seriously? %Is it so very sur<prising? %Have a <shot at it. (Peters done it) Well, %say it as if you <meant it. %As you <wish. I %beg your <pardon. (It was }sunny all the morning.)

Its all <right. You "wont <fall. Theres "no <hurry. Whe"never its con<venient. "Nothing at all <serious." Just a few <bruises. "Any time that suits <you. "What <train are you thinking of catching? "Who does she want to <speak to? "Whens the best time to <catch him, dyou suppose? Shes "waiting for <who? Shes "knitting a <what colour pullover? Can "I come <too? Are you "taking the <car. "Would you like <me to drive? "Have you seen <Tom lately? "Wasnt that your mothers <birthday? "Did he bring her a <present? Was "that the <real reason? "May we go and <call on your mother? Have the "Smiths invited you for <Sunday? "Dont <worry. (Its "not for much <longer.) Well "keep <trying. <No. "Sit <down. "Have a good <time. "Dont let me de<tain you, then.


"Have a good <holiday. "More <tea? "My names Lumpkin. Youve "got the wrong number. %Do hurry <up. I said "nothing of the `kind. He was "treated by an osteopath. "When can I `call for it? We had a splendid game. Good "bye for <now. Good morning, David. "You `are an idiot.

"And <you! "No <thank you. I "beg your <pardon. ("Would you mind saying that a<gain?) "Sorry youve been <troubled. _Im <coming. _What <did you say, then? _By <who, did you say? Would <Friday suit you? _Did you <win, by the way? _Look <after yourself. _Hul<lo, there. ("Nice to see you.) _Im <sorry.

The Switchback I }thought they all took one. His "names John. Hes never been late. "Which ones mine? &Thats yours, "over there. _Is it <difficult? Its tomorrow he leaves. Ill "dump the suitcase `here. Ive found a "four-leaved clover. "Have you <finished? &I didnt say you were wrong. Jack was first. Shes only twenty seven. They said they sent it last Monday. He couldnt help them. I feel I could scream. I hope I dont break anything. You wont tell him, will you? Its black. Theyre very nice. Hes arriving at Dover. Whats up, Tom? Is it going to keep fine? Is he tall and dark? It didnt take you long. Should I or shouldnt I play? Give me another one, please. Ring me tomorrow afternoon. Why wouldnt he buy it? Were you surprised? Ill give it to you. May I just finish my letter? May I hold it for a minute? Dyou smoke? But I thought you didnt take sugar. &Ann did. (But the &others didnt.) &Harry. &Gordon. &Desmond. &Never? (_Are you <sure?) &Which one? That blue one, surely. &Which one? ({Not that &blue horror?) &Is it? ({Not &half!) &Is it? (_Are you <sure?) &Gently. (Theyre {not made of &iron.) &Show me. &Practically. &You didnt. &Tom did though. &George you mean. Twenty seven? (Thirty-seven, more likely) When did they say they sent it? (Last Monday?) Couldnt he? (Whyever not? Steady there. Try not to. No. (But very reluctantly.) White. Pink. Green. Mauve. Nice? (Youre joking!) Where? (Dont you mean New Haven?) Mind. (Theres a step here.) I think so. (But Im not certain.) Well, hes tall. (But it didnt matter very much.) It did. It did, you know. Youd enjoy the game. Im sorry. (But thats impossible.) Tomorrow afternoon. (Why tomorrow?) Why wouldnt he? (No money!) Was I surprised? (Not half!) Dyou mean that? (Seriously?) Be quick then. Well, be careful with it. I do sometimes. But never before lunch. I dont take it in coffee or cocoa. (But in tea, I do.)


You will play, wont you? We got here about midnight. I need two hundred pounds. Where did you meet him? Are you sure? Shes an absolute failure. Im sorry. Why not take up squash.

Id rather not.. It was earlier than that. Two hundred pounds (But thats a small fortune!) Where did I meet him? (Where dyou think?) Am I sure? Im absolutely positive.) Now be fair. Well say it as if you meant it. No fear! (Much too energetic.)

The Long Jump May likes it. Im not going to help. When does he get here? What on earths happened to Marjorie? How many days in a year? You ought to have told me at once. He swears he didnt know. You mustnt mention it. Youll have to apologize. We ought to buy a couple. I know I brought a knife. I was too late. But Johns refused. Its always possible. Fancy Jack leaving! I doubt whether Davidll subscribe. Youre not very good at it, are you? Tens not enough. My feet hurt. I dont want to go alone. This rooms freezing, isnt it? But Ive lost my invitation. Nobody turned up. But you said I could have it. Look. I works. What was the show like? But I really wanted them. Yes but I dont. No-ones asked you to. Ive just this minute told you (At quarter past six.) I cant understand it. She should have been here ages ago. Three hundred and sixty five, you idiot. I didnt realize it was that important. Thats downright nonsense. I distinctly remember telling him myself. Why not? What do you mean? Why on earth should I? Wheres the money coming from? But where in the world have you put it? Theyd sold it. Whyever didnt you buy it when you had the chance? Does that matter? Is it likely, though? Wasnt it extraordinary? Is it fair to expect him to? Have I ever pretended otherwise? Take twenty then. Well take your shoes off. Come along with us then. Well go downstairs where its a bit warmer. Then write and ask them to send you another. How strange! Not at all! Well I never. How extraordinary! Very good indeed. What a pity you didnt say so sooner!

The High Bounce Its snowing. Ive just seen the Edwards girl. Can I borrow some matches? Ive got to go to Leeds. That was Arthur Thompson. Where are you staying? Much? Joan Edwards? Matches? (By all means.) Youve got to go? What was his name? (I didnt quite catch it.) Where? (At. The Grand.)


How did he find out? Can you make me one? Any-body want a lift? Tell me the time, please. Leave the key with Mrs. Atkins. The silly young fool!

How did he find out? (Through Max, I imagine.) Make you one? With pleasure. Are you going near Charing Cross, by any chance? Tell you the time? (Ten past six.) Leave it with Mrs. Joyce Atkins? Silly young fool? (Who? John?)

The Jackknife Can you see? Is he as tall as his father? I was very cross with him. Surely one of these screws will fit. He shot an elephant. I hate it. But what can I do? Did you finish that job? Did you see any lions? Have you any doubts about it? Is it cheaper by coach? You pay for it. What ought I to do? Johns got it now. Can you manage it alone? Wasnt it stupid! What lovely cherries! I like Barbara. Buy me a couple. Pass me the paper. Has Michael arrived yet? I shall send it off tomorrow afternoon. Its four hundred feet tall. I told him about your success. Would you like one? How dyou like my song? Take them away. Fantastic! .. The High Dive Which are our places? How can we get to his house? Where could we sleep? Im from Sheffield. But your sister said no. Where can I get Brazilian coffee? Shes a pleasant girl, isnt she? Hows Freda getting on? Why not ask Janet? He had at least two helpings. Theres yours. Next to Peter.) Walkings the easiest way. Frances has got a couple of spare beds. (Really?) My mother comes from there. Oh no-one listens to her. Well the supermarkets got a fresh supply. Yes. I like Barbara. Shes dreading her driving test. No Id hate to ask her a favour. (Im not surprised.) Hes mad on apple pie. Perfectly. Easily. Taller even. Naturally. Anyone would be. Which one of them, though? Did he? Did he now? Tell them you hate it. Heavens, yes! Ages ago! Lots. Scores. None. (None whatsoever.) Much. How? Wait. Stay. Fight Oh! (Thats different.) Im sure I can. Was it so stupid, I wonder? Want some? Do you? Buy you a couple? (Certainly.) The Times, dyou mean? You were expecting him? Tomorrow afternoon? Its how tall? About my what? Would I like one? (Id love one.) Dyou always sing as flat as that? Take both of them away? Fantastic? (Whats fantastic about that?)


Are you going by car? Have some more. Its a lovely present, Dick. Look at the weather. So youve heard from Archie. Dont interrupt, Jake. Oh there you are, Tony. I really must go now.

No, I loathe driving by night. (Thanks.) Im partial to Indian curry. I hoped youd like it. (Ah, well!) I thought it would rain. Yes and he told me youd be dropping in to see me. I beg your pardon. (I thought youd finished.) (Hullo, Alf.) I hope Im not late. (Good bye, then.) I do hope you have a comfortable journey.

The Terrace Lets hope so. Hows Tim behaving? But he only gave me ten pounds. Ill give him a piece of my mind. Janes forgotten her umbrella. Fancy Max apologizing! Invite him again in January. Im not very interested. Well, what time, then? Hes promised it for July Itll be difficult, you know. When dyou want me? Which car shall I use. Wont forty be enough? Hope, thats all you can do. Recently, hes been very considerate. Some people dont know when they are well off. I hope youll do no such thing. Yes, she left in such a hurry. He apologized because he jolly well had to. But in January where will he be? If thats how you feel, why bother about it at all? Shall we say ten or ten thirty? July, will that be soon enough, dyou think? But do you consider it worth trying? If you can, come right away. If youve a choice, use the old mini. To be on the safe side, take one or two more.