Phonetics and Phonology

• Phonetics: The study of speech sounds (the physical aspects of speech production) • Phonology: The study of sound patterns of language

Involves three aspects: • How our speech sounds are produced (articulatory phonetics) • How these sounds are transmitted (acoustic phonetics) • How the sounds are perceived (auditory phonetics)

Articulatory Phonetics
• Relatively easy to observe It involves: • Speech organs & Speech sounds production • Sounds description and their properties

• Phonemic principles: minimal pair ( man - pan ), / minimal set (man – pan, ban, tan, ran), mean – moan, men, mine, Allophone [p] – [ph], distinctive features • Alternations (variation/alternant in words): ‘receive ~ reception’ • Phonological Rules: assimilation/dissimilation, deletion, addition • Syllable structure: ‘explicit’ • Suprasegmentals: intonation, stress

SPEECH SOUNDS PRODUCTION : Speech organs and speech mechanism • Speech sound is produced when air is set or manipulated in motion The production of a speech sound may be divided into four separate but interrelated processes: • the initiation process • the phonation process • the oro-nasal process • the articulation process

Fig. 3.5. The human vocal organs. (1) Nasal cavity, (2) Hard palate, (3) Alveolar ridge, (4) Soft palate (Velum), (5) Tip of the tongue (Apex), (6) Dorsum, (7) Uvula, (8) Radix, (9) Pharynx, (10) Epiglottis, (11) False vocal cords, (12) Vocal cords, (13) Larynx, (14) Esophagus, and (15) Trachea.

The Initiation Process
• The basic source of power (source of airflow): the pushing air out of the lungs for speech (via trachea). • In English, all speech sounds require pulmonic egressive air stream for their production.

The Phonation Process
• The air stream then passes through the larynx through the operation of the vocal folds (vocal cords) or vocal bands • The gap between the vocal folds is called glottis. Positions of altering the shape of glottis: • closed glottis • narrow glottis • open glottis

closed glottis

closed glottis
• The speech sound resulting from this closure of the glottis is called glottal stop • In many accents of English, the glottal stop can replace [ t ] in the words football, bottle, bit, not

narrow glottis

narrow glottis • When the vocal cords are apart, only a narrow gap is left for the air stream to pass through. • The passage of air makes the vocal folds (vocal cords) vibrate. Sounds produced when the vocal cords are vibrating are said to be voiced. • All vowel sounds are voiced, as are consonant sounds like [b],[d],[g], [m],[l],[v], [z],[n], etc.

open glottis

open glottis
• The vocal folds are spread and do not vibrate • The glottis is sufficiently wide open so as to allow the air stream to pass through without obstruction. • This is the state that the glottis assumes in normal breathing as well as in the production of voiceless sounds. • Voiceless sounds are, for example, [st] sequence in stone, [k] in kill, etc.

The Oro-nasal Process
• In normal breathing, the air stream will usually pass through the nasal cavity. • In many speech sounds, the nasal cavity is blocked off in the back of the throat and the air stream is directed into the oral cavity. This is done by the velum. • The velum can be manipulated. Two linguistically significant positions : • raised velum • lowered velum

raised velum
• Raised and pressed against the back of pharynx, the velum prevents the entry of air into the nasal cavity. • Speech sounds produced with a raised velum are called oral sounds. • Examples: English vowels as well as sounds such as [v], [f], [l], etc.

lowered velum
• When the velum is not raised against the back of the pharynx, the air stream has access to the nasal cavity. • If at the same time the oral cavity is blocked somewhere further forward in the mouth – the entire air stream passes through the nose - the result will be a nasal sound. • Examples: [m] , [n] , [ŋ]

The Articulation Process
• Most of the differentiation of the various speech sounds of a language takes place in the mouth. • The mobility of the lips and the tongue, the size and shape of the oral cavity as well as of the exit passage of the air stream can be greatly modified.

Vocal organs
• The air passages above the larynx are known as the vocal tract. The air passages that make up the vocal tract may be divided into: 1. Oral tract (within the mouth and pharynx): > Upper surface > Lower surface 2. Nasal tract (within the nose) The parts that can be used to form sounds are called articulators.

Oral tract
• Upper surface: upper lip, upper teeth, alveolar ridge, hard palate, soft palate (velum), uvula, pharynx wall • Lower surface: lower lip, tongue (tip, blade, front, center, back, root), epiglottis

Manners of Articulation • Stop • Fricative • Approximant • Lateral (approximant) • Trill (Roll) • Tap / Flap

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