You are on page 1of 27


The study on sounds to
make meanings

 In writing – words and sentences are
represented through orthography

 In speaking – individual sounds represent
words and sentences.
Focus on discussion

 1. pitch change
 2. intonation
 3. sounds
 4. spelling and
 5. stress
1. Pitch
 Pitch – a way we recognize a person (high
voice or high pitched voice, or low voice or
low pitched voice)
 The pitch changes according to mood

 E.g. frightened – high pitched

tired, bored – low pitched
A device to communicate emotion and meaning
A low grunt?
2. Intonation
 Pitch conveys the basic information about
 Altering the pitch and changing the tune used, we
convey a subtler range of meanings; through
 Kenworthy (1987): Intonation can be in the
foreground/ background/ to signal ends and
beginnings/ to show whether a situation is closed or
 Intonation – convey emotion, involvement, empathy;
modify the intention of saying; show how certain we
are about what we say and expect the response
3. Individual sounds
 Words and sentences are made up of sounds (or
 On their own may be meaningless, but becomes

meaningful in combination – in words and phrases
 E.g. phonemes /k/(like the c in can)

/æ/(like in the a in can)
Compare bat, cot, cat
The phonemes of ‘southern English standard’ has 44
Parts of the mouth used by speakers
 Lips
 Tongue
 Teeth
 Alveolar ridge
 Palate (soft and hard)
 Uvula
 Vocal cords
Diagram on the parts of mouth
Features of pronunciation
 Phonemes (different sounds)
- Divided into 1. consonants and 2. vowels

1. Consonant : voiced and unvoiced
Voiced- when the vocal cord in the larynx are
a voiced sound- you will fell vibration
Unvoiced/voiceless sound – no vibration
e.g. /f/ and /v/, /t/ and /d/, /k/ and /g/
Place of articulation
 The place of obstruction of air some points in
the vocal cords
 Used to classify consonants

 Voiced: the vocal cord sounds with vibration
 Voiceless: The vocal cord sound without
Example of consonant sound:
Alveolar plosive

E.g. Consonant /t/

Tip of the tongue is placed on the alveolar ridge above it
AND when the air from the lungs forces the tongue
away from the ridge in an explosive burst i.e. ton
/t٨(n (manner and place of articulation
The parts involved
The alveolar plosive
 The first sound is just air and the air is expelled from
the mouth
 In the larynx the vocal cords * are completely open,
therefore no obstruction for the air coming from lung
 Produce voiceless sounds /p/, /t/, /k/
 Sound produced – fortis or strong

*two flaps of muscular tissue when pressed together,
vibrate when the air is forced through them
The vocal cord in the larynx
Alveolar plosive
 The consonant /d/ is made in similar way, but
with crucial changes
 When we say /d/ as in done, the vocal cords
are closed, the air from the lungs forces them
to vibrate
 Produce voiced consonant /d/, /b/, /g/
 Sound produced – lenis or weak
Manners of articulation
 Below is the manner of articulation.
 Find the place(s) and force of articulation

 Are all voiced
 Two differences : the place in the mouth and
the position of the lips
 Single vowels: short and long. E.g. ship /I/ vs
May be all voiced, and single e.g. let /e/
 May also be combination, involve movement
fro one sound to another e.g. late /eI/
(diphthongs) or combination of three vowels
e.g. our (triphthongs)
Refer to the handouts
 The glottal sound
 When a closure of the vocal cords ‘stops’ air

 E.g. apartment/ I saw it
4. Sounds and spelling
 In some language, there is correlation between
sounds and spelling
 In English, this is not the case
 The sound / / for example, can be seen in
different spellings (won, young, funny, flood)
 The letters ou can be pronounced in different
ways (enough, through, though, journey) –
find the phonetic transcription
Words and sounds
 Words can change their sound too
 E.g. ‘was’ - /waz/; in sentence like ‘I was robbed’, the
vowel changes from a stressed vowel to unstressed
 The unstressed sound /ə/ is called schwa (frequently
 Elision – sounds slide into each other
 Assimilation – the sound at the end of a word sounds
like the sound of the beginning of the next
5. Stress
 Stress – important to convey meaning
Term used to describe the point in a word or
phrase where pitch changes, vowels lengthen,
volume increases (gives rhythm to speech)
One-syllable word – e.g. dance (?)
More than one syllable e.g. singularity,
information (primary vs secondary stress)
One word may not be stressed as expected e.g.
Features of pronunciation
 Suprasegmental features
Phonemes (units of sound) also known as

SF – features of speech apply to groups of
segments/phonemes e.g. stress, intonation,
how sounds change

PAper BOttle
Try this
 Japan, Japanese
 America, American
 Brad wants to marry my daughter
Stress in practice
 jaPAN
 japaNESE
 amERica
 amERican
 Brad wants to MARRY my daughter?
(I didn’t know he was that serious)
 BRAD wants to marry my daughter?
(Not Brad, surely!)
Rhythm: Ten syllable per line

Po-kok ku-i-nin di te-pi ko-lam
Bu-ah-nya ban-yak ber-ka-rung-karung
Ka-mi _ i-ni um-pa-ma ba-lam
Ma-ta ter-le-pas ba-dan ter-ku-rung.