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Nonsegmentals or Suprasegmentals Most of the material we’ve discussed to this point concerns the segmental characteris PowerPoint Presentation
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Nonsegmentals or Suprasegmentals Most of the material we’ve discussed to this point concerns the segmental characteristics of speech.

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Nonsegmentals or Suprasegmentals

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.

slide2

Melody: Intonation (pattern of pitch over time).

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:

Prosody

Intonation (melody) Stress (rhythm)

slide3

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.)

slide4

Among many other things, the intonation contour can differentiate questions from statements.

Statement: Falling F0

F0 Contour

Question: Rising F0

slide5

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.

amplitude

OBject

pitch (F0)

amplitude

pitch (F0)

obJECT

Note: Stressed syllable is usually longer; this is true for obJECT, but not OBject.

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Summary of cues to stress:

  • F0/Pitch: Stressed syllables typically higher in F0/Pitch
  • Amplitude/Loudness: Stressed syllables typically higher in amplitude/loudness
  • Duration:Stressed syllables typically longer
  • Vowel quality: Vowels in stressed syllables typically more peripheral (i.e., less centralized). The figure below illustrates this.

Vowel Quality

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.

approximate

approximately

Note that the weak vowel is reduced entirely to schwa.

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Stress

Sentential Stress Lexical Stress

Some words in a sentenceSome syllables in a word

receive greater prominence receive greater prominence

than othersthan others

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Sentential or Sentence-level Stress

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.

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Lexical Stress

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.

slide10

Two Transcription Systems are in Use

System 1:

seashore[siÛSÔÝ]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.

System 2:

seashore[ÈsiÇSÔ]vertical bar above the symbol = primary

vertical bar below the symbol = secondary

manifest[ÈmQn«ÇfEst]reduced/weak/tertiary=upsidedown hachek

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.

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maintain

[meÝnteÛn]or [ÇmenÈten]

grading

[greÛRIÝN] or [ÈgreÇRIN]

denounce

[diÝnauÛns] or [ÇdiÈnauns](1st vowel could be schwa, depending on pronunciation)

mostly

[moÛsliÝ] or [moÛstliÝ]([t] usually dropped, except in careful speech)

goatee

[goÝtiÛ] or [ÇgoÈti]

pester

[pEÛstÔÝ] or [ÈpEsÇtÔ]

slide12

leisure

[liÛZÔÝ] (sometimes [lEÛZÔÝ])

blacksmith

[blQÛksmIÝT]

skirmish

[skÔÛmIÝS]

mustard

[mÃÛstÔÝd]

planter

[plQÛntÔÝ]

slide13

permit (v)

[pÔÝmIÛt]

permit (n)

[pÔÛmIÝt]

record (v)

[riÝkÔÛd] (often pronounced with a schwa in the 1st syllable)

record (n)

[rEÛkÔÝd]

sensation

[sEÝnseÛS«n]

transcription

[trQÝnskrIÛpS«n]

slide14

transportation

[trQÝnspÔteÛS«n]

schematic

[skiÝmQÛRIk] or [skiÝmQÛR«k] or [sk«ÝmQÛR«k]

mathematics

[mQÝTmQÛR«ks] or [mQÝTmQÛRIks]

perception

[pÔÝsEÛpS«n]

locality

[loÝkQÛl«Ri]

libation

[laiÝbeÛS«n]

slide15

Velveeta

[vEÝlviÛR«]

romantic

[roÝmQÛnt«k] or [roÝmQÛntIk]

fantastic

[fQÝntQÛstIk]

guarantee

[geÔÝ«ntiÛ]

warranty

[woÔÛ«ntiÝ]

experience

[IkspiÔÛi«Ýns](quality of the 1st vowel may vary – could be [E] in careful speech)