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The Origins and Development of the English Language Chapter 2: The Sounds of Current English. John Algeo and Thomas Pyles Michael Cheng National Chengchi University. Introduction. 26 letters in the English alphabet More than 26 sounds (phonemes) in the English language

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the origins and development of the english language chapter 2 the sounds of current english

The Origins and Development of the English Language Chapter 2: The Sounds of Current English

John Algeo and Thomas Pyles

Michael Cheng

National Chengchi University

introduction
Introduction
  • 26 letters in the English alphabet
  • More than 26 sounds (phonemes) in the English language
  • a cat, came, calm, any, call, was
  • [e]  baker, day, bait, gauge, mesa, they, neighbor, great
  • Phonetic alphabet solves this problem
the organs of speech
The Organs of Speech
  • 1-nasal cavity2-lips3-teeth4-aveolar ridge5-hard palate6-velum (soft palate)7-uvula8-apex (tip) of tongue9-blade (front) of tongue10-dorsum (back) of tongue11-oral cavity12-pharynx13-epiglottis14-larynx15-vocal cords16-trachea17-esophagus
consonants of current english
Consonants of Current English
  • Classified according to
    • place of articulation (where they are made)
    • manner of articulation (how they are made)
    • Voicing
    • (see interactive flash)
consonants of current english1
Consonants of Current English
  • Historical Stuff:
  • Similarity between [r] and [l]
  • Sally/Sarah, Kathleen/Katherine, stella (Latin)/steorra (Old English)
consonants of current english dropping r
Consonants of Current English: Dropping [r]
  • New England, New York City, coastal South, British RP (received pronunciation)
  • Dropped when followed by consonant
  • Kept when followed by a vowel, or the next word begins with a vowel
    • farm, far distance, the distance is far
    • faring, there is, far away, very, Carolina
    • ‘arf, cokernut, Eeyore, Marmee
arf cokernut eeyore marmee
‘arf, cokernut, Eeyore, Marmee
  • http://www.superstickershop.com/catalog/images/EeyoreSitting.jpg
  • https://www.msu.edu/user/steinbr1/pooh/images/disney/eeyore14.gif
consonants of current english dropping r1
Consonants of Current English: Dropping [r]
  • Intrusive r
  • New England, New York City, RP
    • Have no fear, the fear of it
    • Have no idea, the idear of it
variant vowel sounds a
Variant vowel sounds[a], [æ:], [ɨ], [ө], [ɒ]
  • [a] ask, half, laugh, path (eastern New Eng)
  • [æ:] cap[kæp]-cab[kæ:b], bat-bad, lack-lag, can (be able) – can (to tin)
  • [ɨ] in just, children, would ????
  • [ө] short o sound ????
  • [ɒ] pot, top, rod, con (slightly rounded in Brit Eng)
variant vowel sounds
Variant vowel sounds[ɔ], [ɑ], [ɪ], [ɛ]
  • [ɔ] and [ɑ] caught-cot, taught-tot, dawn-don, gaud-god, pawed-pod (Pittsburg)
  • Lack of a contrast in a specific environment
  • [ɪ] and [ɛ] pin-pen, tin-ten, Jim-gem (before nasal in American south)
slide18
Tense vowels are longer than lax vowels
  • Vowel length is hardly ever a distinguishing factor
  • can-can, halve-have, balm-bomb, vary-very
vowels before r
Vowels before [r]
  • Sound of the vowel changes before [r]
    • cut-curt
    • bust-burst
    • moan-mourn
    • father-farther
  • Schwa glide can intrude
    • near [niər] [n ɪ r]
    • The time drew néar. The time dréw near.
vowels before r1
Vowels before [r]
  • Tenseness is not distinct before [r]
  • nearer-mirror [i] (tense) or [ɪ] (lax)
  • Fairy-ferry [e] (tense) or [ɛ] (lax)
  • Touring-during [u] (tense) or [ʊ] (lax)
  • Lax vowel more common
historical vowel merging before r
Historical vowel merging before [r]
  • hoarse [o] – horse [ɔ]
  • Mourning – morning
  • borne – born
  • four – for
  • oar – or
  • foreword – forward
present day merging before r
Present day merging before [r]
  • Mississippi Valley and the West
  • [ɑ], [ɔ], [ɒ]
  • form – farm
  • or – are
  • born – barn
  • lord – lard
stress
Stress
  • [i] [ɪ] [ə] are often used in unstressed syllables
  • [i] and [ɪ] vary in final position and before another vowel
    • lucky, happy, city, seedy
    • various, curiosity, oriel, carrion
stress1
Stress
  • [ɪ] and [ə] vary before a consonant
    • [ɪ] bucket, college, elude, illumine
    • [ə] many Americans starting to prefer [ə] in these words
  • Emerging rule: used [ɪ] before velar consonants and [ə] elsewhere
    • ignore, comic, hoping
    • stomach, mysterious
kinds of sound change assimilation
Kinds of Sound Change: Assimilation
  • Assimilation – Sounds become more alike
  • Pancake
  • Spaceship
  • What is your name?
  • What’s yer name?
  • Whacher name? (palatalization)
kinds of sound change dissimilation
Kinds of Sound Change: Dissimilation
  • Dissimilation – Sounds become less alike
    • Diphthong [f] replaced by [p]
    • Chimney [n] replaced by [l]
  • Complete loss of sound because of proximity to another sounds
    • caterpillar, Canterbury, reservoir, terrestrial, southerner, barbiturate, governor, surprised
kinds of sound change elision
Kinds of Sound Change: Elision
  • Elision – Sounds are omitted
  • What is your name? (unstressed vowel in is elided)
  • Aphesis– loss of unstressed initial vowel
    • about  ‘bout
  • Apheresis – loss of sound from beginning of word
    • almost  ‘most
kinds of sound change elision1
Kinds of Sound Change: Elision
  • Apocope – loss of sound from end of word
    • child  chile
  • Syncope – loss of sound from middle of word
    • family  fam’ly
kinds of sound change intrusion
Kinds of Sound Change: Intrusion
  • Intrusion – Sounds are added
  • svarabhakti, epenthesis, anaptyxis
  • Intrusive [ə] often appears between consonants
  • elm, film
  • Henry, Dwight, Smyrna
  • arthritis, athlete
kinds of sound change intrusion1
Kinds of Sound Change: Intrusion
  • Consonants can be intrusive
  • warmth  warmpth (p inserted)
  • sense  [sɛnts] (t inserted)
  • length  lenkth (k inserted)
  • Nasal + voiceless fricative
  • Nasal + stop (vcls) + voiceless fricative
kinds of sound change metathesis
Kinds of Sound Change: Metathesis
  • Metathesis: Sounds are reordered
  • Tax and task originally developed from the same word
  • [r] frequently metathesizes with an unstressed vowel
    • produce, perform
  • A sound and syllable boundary can metathesize
    • another  a whole nother thing
causes of sound change
Causes of Sound Change
  • Contact with another language
    • substratum or superstratum theory
  • Distributing sounds evenly through phonological space
  • Ease of articulation (assimilation, etc.)
    • makes it easier to talk faster
  • Spelling pronunciations
  • Hypercorrection
causes of sound change1
Causes of Sound Change
  • Spelling pronunciations
    • controller  comptroller
  • Hypercorrection
    • talkin’, somethin’  chicking, Virging Islands
  • Overgeneralization
    • [ž] azure
    • rajah, cashmere, kosher
the phoneme
The Phoneme
  • Regarded as the same sound by speakers of a language
  • Phonemes are made up of allophones – similar sounds that are not distinct
  • Complementary distribution – allophones only appear in specific environment
    • after [s] unaspirated [t] occurs but not aspirated [t]
  • Free variation [t] or [t*] can appear at the end of fight
  • stone, tone, fight, item, little, matter, bottle, out come