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Chapter 2 Phonetics and Phonology. Phonetics . ----A branch of linguistics which studies the characteristics of speech sounds and provides methods for their description, classification and transcription, e.g. [p] bilabial, stop. Three branches of phonetics .

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----A branch of linguistics which studies the characteristics of speech sounds and provides methods for their description, classification and transcription, e.g. [p] bilabial, stop.

three branches of phonetics
Three branches of phonetics
  • Articulatory phonetics----from the speakers’ point of view, “how speakers produce speech sounds”
  • Auditory phonetics----from the hearers’ point of view, “how sounds are perceived”
  • Acoustic phonetics----from the physical way or means by which sounds are transmitted from one to another.
speech organs three important areas
Speech organs: three important areas
  • Pharyngeal cavity ---- the throat;
  • The oral cavity ---- the mouth;
  • Nasal cavity ---- the nose.
the diagram of speech organs
The diagram of speech organs
  • Lips
  • Teeth
  • Teeth ridge (alveolar)
  • Hard palate
  • Soft palate (velum)
  • Uvula
  • Tip of tongue
  • Blade of tongue
  • Back of tongue
  • Vocal cords
  • Pharyngeal cavity
  • Nasal cavity
orthographic representation of speech sounds
Orthographic representation of speech sounds

---- A standardized and internationally accepted system of phonetic transcription is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The basic principle of the IPA is using one letter to represent one speech sound.

  • Broad transcription ---- used in dictionary and textbook for general purpose, without diacritics, e.g. clear [ l ], [ pit ]
  • Narrow transcription ---- used by phonetician for careful study, with diacritics, e.g. dark [ l ], aspirated [ p ]
some major articulatory variables
Some major articulatory variables

---- dimensions on which speech sounds may vary:

  • Voicing---- voiced & voiceless
  • Nasality ---- nasal & non-nasal
  • Aspiration ----- aspirated & unaspirated
classification of english speech sounds
Classification of English speech sounds

---- English speech sounds are generally classified into two large categories:

  • Vowels
  • Consonants

Note: The essential difference between these two classes is that in the production of the former the airstream meets with no obstruction of any kind in the throat, the nose or the mouth, while in that of the latter it is somehow obstructed.

classification of consonants
Classification of consonants

---- English consonants may be classified according to two dimensions:

  • The manner of articulation
  • The place of articulation
the manner of articulation
The manner of articulation
  • stops/plosives: [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g];
  • fricatives: [f], [v], [s], [z], [W], [T], [F], [V], [h];
  • affricates: [tF], [dV];
  • liquids: [l](lateral), [r];
  • nasals: [m], [n], [N];
  • glides/semivowels: [w], [j].
the place of articulation
The place of articulation
  • bilabial: [p], [b], [m], [w];
  • labiodental: [ f ], [v];
  • dental: [W], [T];
  • alveolar: [t], [d], [s], [z], [n], [l], [r];
  • palatal: [F], [V], [tF], [dV], [ j ];
  • velar: [k], [g], [N];
  • glottal: [h].
the place of articulation13
The place of articulation
  • Bilabial;
  • Labiodental;
  • Dental or interdental;
  • Alveolar;
  • Palatoalveolar;
  • Palatal;
  • Velar;
  • Uvular;
  • Glottal.
classification of vowels
Classification of vowels

---- English vowels can be divided into two large categories:

  • Monophthongs or pure/single vowels
  • Diphthongs or gliding vowels
monophthongs or pure single vowels
Monophthongs or pure/single vowels

----According to which part of the tongue is held highest in the process of production, the vowels can be distinguished as:

  • front vowels: [I:], [I], [e], [Z], [A], [B];
  • central vowels: [E:], [E], [Q];
  • back vowels: [u:], [u], [C:], [C], [B:].
according to the openness of the mouth
According to the openness of the mouth
  • Close: [I:], [I], [u:], [u].
  • Semi-close: [e], [E:];
  • Semi-open: [E], [C];
  • Open: [A], [B], [C], [B:], [Q];
according to the shape of the lips or the degree of lip rounding
According to the shape of the lips orthe degree of lip rounding
  • rounded: [u:], [u], [C:], [C];
  • unrounded: [I:], [I], [e], [Z], [A], [B], [E:], [E], [Q], [B:].
according to the length of the vowels
According to the length of the vowels
  • long:[I:], [E:], [u:], [C:], [B:]
  • short: [I], [e], [Z], [A], [E], [Q], [B], [u], [C].
diphthongs gliding vowels
Diphthongs/gliding vowels
  • [ei], [ai], [aU], [EU], [Ri], [iE], [ZE], [UE].
exercises underline the words that begin with a sound as required
Exercises: underline the words that begin with a sound as required.
  • A bilabial consonant: mad sad bad cad pad had lad
  • A velar consonant: nod god cod pod rod
  • Labiodental consonant: rat fat sat mat chat vat pat
  • An alveolar consonant: nick lick sick tick kick quick
  • A palato-alveolar consonant: sip ship tip chip lip zip
  • A dental consonant: lie buy thigh thy tie rye
  • A glide: one war yolk rush
underline the words that end with a sound as required
Underline the words that end with a sound as required:
  • A fricative

pay horse tough rice breath push sing wreathe hang cave message

  • A nasal

train bang leaf limb

  • A stop

drill pipe fit crab fog ride laugh rack through


  • An affricate: rack such ridge booze
underline the words that contain the sound as required
Underline the words that contain the sound as required:
  • A central vowel:

mad lot but boot word

  • A front vowel:

reed pad load fate bit bed cook

  • A rounded vowel:

who he bus her hit true boss bar walk

  • A back vowel:

paid reap fool top good father

describe the underlined consonants according to three dimensions
Describe the underlined consonants according to three dimensions:

vd/vl place manner













Warming Up

Why Vowels in English are not classified as consonants?

How English vowels are classified? Or What possible ways do we have to divide the English vowels into different classes?

Describe [u:] by means of the different ways of classification. If a vowel is described as back, rounded, open and short, what sound is it?

What is liaison, elision and assimilation? Illustrate them with examples.

2 3 phonology

2.3 Phonology

Phoneme: smallest phonological unit that distinguish meaning.

Form and meaning: signifier vs signified

Identifying the sounds:

sip zip alveolar/fricative/+-voicing

fine vine labiodental/fricative/+-voicing

chunk junk palatal/liquid/+-voicing

Phonemes involved: /s//z//f//v/t///

4. Testing: substitution (pen/ben; pen/pin)

2 3 phonology28

2.3 Phonology

Minimal pair: a pair of words identical in every way except for one sound segment in the same position.

Minimal set: a group of words differentiated by one sound segment in the same position.

2 3 phonology29

2.3 Phonology

Free variation:When the substitution of two or more sounds in the same position does not result in any change of meaning, they’re said to be in free variation. economics

You say [i]ther and I say [ai]ther,

You say [ni:]ther and I say [nai]ther,

[i:]ther [ai]ther [ni:]ther [nai]ther

Let’s call the whole thing off.

Distinctive features:features that distinguish one phoneme with another. Seal/zeal

2 3 phonology30

2.3 Phonology

Supresegmental features:distinctive features above the level of individual segments over a sequence of two or more phonemic segments such as syllable, word, phrase and sentence which may also distinguish meaning.

Syllable:longer than one sound and smaller than a word.

Phonetically: a unit consisting of a center which has little or no airflow and sounds comparatively loud.(sonority scale: klasp14521)



onset rhyme

nucleus coda

Phonologically:it concerns the way vowels and consonants combine to form various sequences. (sequential rule:CCCVCCCC)sixths

Terms:Close/open syllable; Initial cluster: splash; medial cluster: pastry; final cluster: test

Three-consonant cluster

i. [s] ii. [p] [t] [k] iii. [l] [r] [w] [j]

e.g. spring, scream, string, squeal, square, splendid, stew

2 3 phonology31

2.3 Phonology

Stress:intensity or prominence given to one syllable rather than another.

Word stress: import/import

Phrase stress: black bird; green house

Sentence stress: I love you.

Logical stress: I love YOU.

Tone: pitch variation(妈麻马骂 car)

Intonation: variation in stress, pitch or loudness (falling; rising; fall-rise; rise-fall)

That’s not the book he wants.

Tone group

John didn’t come because of Mary.

2 3 phonology32

2.3 Phonology



Difference between phonetics and phonology


Minimal pair/set

Free variation

Distinctive features

Suprasegmental features: syllable, stress, tone, intonation, tone group

Homework: exercise 5,6 and 7.