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Nonsegmentals or Suprasegmentals Most of the material we’ve discussed to this point concerns the segmental characteristics of speech.
Most of the material we’ve discussed to this point concerns the segmental characteristics of speech.
Segmental: This term refers to phonemes and allophones; e.g., /b/, /d/, /g/, /p/, /t/, /r/, /l/, /w/, [tH], [R], etc.; these are all phonetic segments.Attributes of segments (place, manner, & voicing, or tongue height, frontness, &lip rounding) are also referred to as segmental features.
Nonsegmental or suprasegmental:Characteristics of an utterance that transcend the segment; e.g., the melody and rhythm of an utterance.
Rhythm: Stress pattern; i.e., the pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in a word.
PERmit/perMIT OBject/obJECT REcord/reCORD
One quick point of terminology: Prosody is a term that refers collectively to both the melodic and rhythmic aspects of speech:
Intonation (melody) Stress (rhythm)
Intonation (melodic) contour: Pattern of F0 (pitch) over time conveys information about the grammatical structure of the utterance (e.g., phrase boundaries and sentence type), as well as affective (emotional) information.
We won’t have time to cover intonation, but we can at least appreciate how important it is:
(Note: The FDR utterance may or may not play on the Powerpoint file you download; the others should play fine.)
Among many other things, the intonation contour can differentiate questions from statements.
Statement: Falling F0
Question: Rising F0
Relative to unstressed syllables, stressed syllables are generally: (1) greater in amplitude (i.e., louder), (2) higher in F0 (i.e., pitch), (3) greater in duration, and (4) less centralized (i.e., closer to their “target” values – see MacKay for a nice discussion). This example shows the role played by F0 and amplitude only.
Note that the stressed syllables are higher in amplitude and in F0.
Note: Stressed syllable is usually longer; this is true for obJECT, but not OBject.
As vowels become less prominent (i.e., less stressed), their quality becomes more centralized. In the limiting case, the weakest syllables are reduced to schwa.
Note that the weak vowel is reduced entirely to schwa.
Sentential Stress Lexical Stress
Some words in a sentenceSome syllables in a word
receive greater prominence receive greater prominence
than othersthan others
ELAINE: And I asked him, "Should Jerry bring anything?"JERRY: So...?ELAINE: Mmmm ... and he said, ‘Why would Jerry bring anything?’JERRY: Alright, but let me ask you this question. Which word did he emphasize? Did he say, ‘Why would Jerrybring anything?’ or, ‘Why would Jerry bringanything?’ Did he emphasize Jerry or bring?ELAINE: I think he emphasized ‘would.’JERRY: You know what? The hell with this party. I didn't even want to go to begin with.
This example illustrates sentence-level stress. It makes the simple point that the interpretation of an utterance can depend on which word or words in the sentence receive greater prominence.
Basic idea is simple: Some syllables within a word receive greater prominence than others. (The “within a word” restriction explains why it is called lexical stress.)
SEAshore not seaSHORE
STICKler not stickLER
BLACKboard not blackBOARD
These are all examples of lexical or word-level stress.
Transcription of stress patterns: How many levels of stress are needed to describe English? Most phoneticians use a three-level system, though the terminology varies a little:
primary – secondary - reduced
primary – secondary – weak
primary – secondary - tertiary
primary – secondary - unstressed
Other phoneticians use a four-level system. We’ll stick with three.
seashore[siÛSÔÝ]forward-leaning accent = primary
backward-leaning accent = secondary
manifest[mQÛn«ßfEÝst] reduced/weak/tertiary=upsidedown hachek
Notes: (1) The stress markers are applied (as diacritics) to the vowel, not the syllable. (2) The weak/reduced/unstressed/tertiary syllable is often (though not always) simply unmarked.
seashore[ÈsiÇSÔ]vertical bar above the symbol = primary
vertical bar below the symbol = secondary
Notes: (1) The stress markers are applied to the syllable, not the vowel. This is different from the system above. (2) Weak/ reduced/unstressed/tertiary syllables are unmarked.
[greÛRIÝN] or [ÈgreÇRIN]
[diÝnauÛns] or [ÇdiÈnauns](1st vowel could be schwa, depending on pronunciation)
[moÛsliÝ] or [moÛstliÝ]([t] usually dropped, except in careful speech)
[goÝtiÛ] or [ÇgoÈti]
[pEÛstÔÝ] or [ÈpEsÇtÔ]
[liÛZÔÝ] (sometimes [lEÛZÔÝ])
[riÝkÔÛd] (often pronounced with a schwa in the 1st syllable)
[skiÝmQÛRIk] or [skiÝmQÛR«k] or [sk«ÝmQÛR«k]
[mQÝTmQÛR«ks] or [mQÝTmQÛRIks]
[roÝmQÛnt«k] or [roÝmQÛntIk]
[IkspiÔÛi«Ýns](quality of the 1st vowel may vary – could be [E] in careful speech)