Saturday, November 23, 2013

LJ - Chapter 2 - Phonology and Phonetic Transcription



"Phonetics is concerned with describing speech."

What can a phonetician do?
  • Describe speech.
  • Understand the mechanism of speech production and speech perception.
    • Knows how language use these mechanisms.
What is a phonetic transcription?
  •  No more than a useful tool that phoneticians use in the description of speech.
What is a phonemic transcription?
  • Recording all the variations between sounds that can cause a difference in meaning.
  • Transcribing a word in a way that shows none of the details of the the pronunciation that are predictable by phonological rules.
What is a phoneme?
  • Two sounds that can be used to differentiate words.
  • We cannot rely in the spelling to tell us whether two sounds are members of different phonemes.
  • A phoneme is not a single sound, but a name for a group of sounds.
  • They are abstract units that form the basis for writing down a language systematically and unambiguously.
What is the citation style of speech?
  • The style of speech you use to show someone how to pronounce a word. 
  • Transcriptions of citation style are particularly useful in language documentation and lexicography.
  • It serves as the basic phonetic transcription of connected speech.
What is connected speech?
  • The style that is used in normal conversation.
What do phoneticians transcribe?
  • When they transcribe a citation speech utterance, they are concerned with how the sounds convey differences in meaning.
  • Describe the significant articulations rather than the details of the sounds (i.e., Broad transcription).
What is phonology?
  • The description of the systems and patterns of sounds that occur in a language.
  • Involves studying a language to determine its distinctive sounds, that is, those sounds that convey a difference in meaning.
  • The set of rules or constraints that describe the relation between the underlying sounds.
    • Its abstract units are called phonemes.
    • Its observable units are called phonetic form.

  •  Begin by searching for phonemes, consider contrasting consonants that differ by only one sound (i.e., minimal pairs/sets).
What is a minimal set?
  • A set of words in which each differs from all the others by only one sound.
What are the symbols used for transcribing English consonants?

  • Ascenders
    • [θ] "theta"
    • [ð] "eth"
  • [ʒ] "ezh" or "long z"
    • May also be written as [ž].
  • Affricates & Digraphs
    • [tʃ]
      • May also be written as [č].
    • [dʒ] 
      • May also be written as [ǰ].
  • [ ͡   ] Ligature symbol
    • Used to make explicit that we are writing an affricate and not a consonant cluster.
      • [tʃ] (e.g., white shoes)
      • [t͡ʃ] (e.g., why choose)
  • [ʔ]
    • The glottal stop that begins words that are spelled with an initial vowel.
    • Dialectal difference
      • In American English, [ʔ] may only occurs word initially before vowels.
      • In London Cockney or other dialects that have a variant of [t], [ʔ] may appear between vowels in words and is usually pronounced with simultaneous glottal stop [t͡ʔ].
  • [w]
    • Some speakers contrast which and witch. These words are transcribed with [hw].


What are the challenges in English vowel transcription?
  • Accents differ more in their use of vowels than in consonants.
  • Authorities differ in their views of what constitutes an appropriate description of vowels.
What is a diphthong?
  • Movements from one vowel to another within a single syllable.
What are the symbols used to transcribe English vowels?

  • [ə] "schwa"
    • Most common unstressed vowel.
  • [ʌ] "wedge"
  • [ks]
    • Often represents x.
  • [ɹ]
    • Often represents the unusual English r sound.
  • [ː]
    • Add this diacritic to distinguish sounds that differ in length.
    • Never used when making phonemic transcriptions.
  • [˞]
    • Add this diacritic to indicate the r-coloring of a vowel.
    • Rhotacized.
  • [ˈ]
    • A stress mark that has been placed before the syllable carrying the main stress.
    • Stress must always be marked in words of more than one syllable.
  • [  ̪  ]
    • Added under a symbol to indicate that it represents a dental articulation.
  • [  ̥  ]
    • Used to indicate that the symbol representing a voiceless sound.



What is the difference between slashes and square brackets?
  • /phonemes/ = /phonemic transcriptions/ = /underlying form/
  • [allophones] = [phonetic transcriptions] = [surface form]
What are diacritics?
  • Small marks that can be added to a symbol to modify its value. 
  • Increases the phonetic precision of a transcription.
What are allophones?
  • The variants of the phonemes that occur in detailed phonetic transcriptions.
  • They can be described as a result of applying the phonological rules to the underlying phonemes. 
What is broad transcription?
  •  Often used to designate a transcription that uses the simplest possible set of symbols.
What is narrow transcription? 
  • Often used to designate a transcription that shows more phonetic detail, either by using more specific symbols or by representing some allophonic differences.
What are the types of transcriptions?
  1. Systematic phonetic transcription
    •  A narrow transcription so detailed that is shoes the allophones with all the rule-governed alternations among the sounds.
    • In practice, this is difficult.
  2. Impressionistic transcription 
    • A transcription that may not imply the existence of rules accounting for allophones.
    • In these circumstances, the symbols indicate only the phonetic value of sounds.

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