THE CONSONANTS OF ENGLISH
"Phonetics is concerned with describing speech."
Final voiceless consonants are longer than final voiced consonants.
Voiced consonants are not actually voiced throughout the articulation unless adjacent sounds are also voiced.
1. STOP CONSONANTS
What is aspiration?
- A period of voicelessness after the stop articulation and before the start of the voicing for the vowel.
- The burst of air that comes out during the period of voicelessness after the release of a stop.
- In narrow transcription, aspiration may be indicated by [ ʰ ].
/p, t, k/ VS. /b, d, g/
- The difference lies in vowel length, and not in the voicing of the final consonants.
- It is a general rule of English that syllable final voiceless consonants are longer than the corresponding voiced consonants after the same vowel.
- In narrow transcription, we can symbolize the fact that a consonant is unreleased by adding [ ̚ ] which stands for no audible release.
- It conveys meaning by the fact that one could be understood equally well by using a syllabic consonant instead of a vowel by adding [ ˌ ] under the consonant.
- As long as there is a glottal stop between two syllables, the utterance will mean no, irrespective of what vowel or nasal is used.
- The air pressure built up behind the stop closure is release through the nose by the lowering of the velum for the nasal consonant.
- Also occurs in the pronunciation of words with [t] followed by [n].
- Only occurs if there is no glottal stop, or if the glottal stop is released after an alveolar closure has been made and before the velum is lowered.
What is homorganic?
- When two sounds have the same place of articulations.
- When an alveolar stop occurs before a homorganic lateral.
- The air pressure built up during the stop can be released by lowering the sides of the tongue.
Stop consonant releases
- English fricatives vary less than stop consonants, yet major allophonic variations that do occur are in many ways similar to those of the stops.
- Stops and fricatives are the only English consonants that can be either voiced or voiceless.
How are stops and fricatives similar?
- They influence vowel length in similar ways.
- Vowels are shorter before voiceless consonants.
- Vowels are longer before voiced consonants.
- Voiced consonants at the end of a word are voiced throughout their articulation only when they are followed by another voiced sound.
How are stops and fricatives different?
- Fricatives sometimes involve actions of the lips that are not immediately obvious.
- A lesser degree of closure by two articulators not involved in the primary articulation.
What is labialization?
- The action of the lips is added to another articulation.
What is an obstruent?
- A natural class of sounds made up of stops and fricatives.
- A type of articulation that involves an obstruction of the airstream.
- A sequence of a stop followed by a homorganic fricative (e.g., Consonant clusters; Dental affricate [tθ] and alveolar affricate [ts]).
- Palato-alveolar affricates [tʃ] and [dʒ] are the only affricates in English that can occur at the end of words.
- English nasals vary even less than fricatives.
- Together with [r] and/or [l], nasals can be syllabic when they occur at the end of words.
- They are marked with [ ̩ ] under the syllabic consonant.
- Vowels are always syllabic and therefore need no special mark.
- No English word can begin with [ŋ].
- This sound can only occur within or at the end of a word, and even in these circumstances it does not behave like the other nasals.
- It can be preceded only by the vowels /ɪ, ɛ, æ, ʌ, ɑ/ in American English.
- It cannot be syllabic.
- Approximant articulation vary slightly depending on the articulation of the following vowel.
- The tongue will be in a different position.
- May occur in consonant clusters with stop consonants.
- They are largely voiceless when they follow voiceless stops /p, t, k/.
- This voicelessness is a manifestation of the aspiration that occurs after voiceless stops.
- [ ʰ ] can be used to show that the first part of the vowel is voiceless.
- [ ̥ ] can be used to indicate a voiceless sound when there is no immediately following vowel.
What are central approximants in English?
- /w, r, j/
What are lateral approximants in English?
- The second articulation when pronouncing /l/.
- Primary articulation: The center of the tongue is pulled does (there is contact on the alveolar ridge)
- Secondary articulation: The back is arched upward as in a back vowel.
- In most forms of American English, all examples of /l/ is velarized.
- In British English;
- /l/ is no velarized when it is before a vowel.
- /l/ is velarized when it is in word final position or before a consonant.
- [ ̴ ] is the symbol for velarization placed through the middle of the symbol.
- /h/ is the voiceless counterpart of surrounding sounds.
- At the beginning of a sentence, /h/ is like a voiceless vowel.
- /h/ can also occur between vowels in words.
- The articulatory movement is continuous as you move from one vowel through /h/ to another.
- /h/ is signaled by a weakening of the voicing, but does not result in a completely voiceless sound.
- /h/ can usually only occur before stressed vowels or before the approximant /j/.
- Sometimes, speakers sound /h/ before /w/.
- [ʍ] sometimes used for this voiceless approximant.
- More likely to be found only in the less common words such as whether rather than in frequently used words such as what.
- There is no simple relationship between the description of a language in terms of phonemes and the description of utterances in terms of gestural targets.
- A phoneme is an abstract unit that may be realized in several different ways.
- Used in descriptions of languages to show how words contrast with one another.
- Sometimes, the difference between the different allophones of a phoneme can be explained in terms of targets and overlapping gestures.
- Virtually all gestures for neigboring sounds overlap.
- Differences in the timing of one gesture with respect to another account for a wide range of the phenomena that we observe in speech.
- An essential part of /w/.
- There is a tendency for gestures to overlap with those for adjacent sounds.
- Sometimes occurs with /ɹ/.
- When a second gesture starts during the first gesture.
- The gesture for the approximant is anticipated during the gesture for the stop.
- Stops are slightly rounded when they occur in clusters in which /w/ is the second element.
- Coarticulation between sounds will always result in the positions of some parts of the vocal tract being influenced quite a lot.
- Whereas others will not be so much affected by neighboring targets.
- The extent to which anticipatory coarticulation occurs depends on the extent to which the position of that part of the vocal tract is specified in the two gestures.
- The degree of coarticulation also depends on the interval between them.
- We can often think of the gestures for different articulations as movements towards certain targets.
- A target is something that one aims at but does not necessarily hit.
- Perhaps because one is drawn off by having to aim at a second target.
- Gestural targets are units that can be used in descriptions of how a speaker produces an utterance.
- Ideally, the description of an utterance might consist of the specification of a string of target gestures that must be made one after another.
- "umlaut u"
- Because phonemes are composed of these two types of allophones, they cannot be equated with gestures.
- Intrinsic Allophones
- The difference between allophones are the result of overlapping gestures.
- The difference between allophones involving different gestures.
7. RULES FOR ENGLISH CONSONANT ALLOPHONES
Alveolar stops become voiced taps when they occur between two vowels the second of which is unstressed.
Alveolar consonants become dentals before dental consonants.
Alveolar stops are reduced or omitted when between two consonants.
A homorganic voiceless stop may occur after a nasal before a voiceless fricative followed by an unstressed vowel in the same word.
A consonant is shortened when it is before an identical consonant.
Velar stops become more front before more front vowels.
An alveolar lateral approximant is velarized when after a vowel or before a consonant at the end of a word.
- Consonants are longer when at the end of a phrase.
- Voiceless stops are aspirated when they are syllable initial.
- Obstruents are classified as voiced are voiced through only a small part of the articulation when they occur at the end of an utterance or before a voiceless sound.
- So-called voiced stops and affricates are voiceless when syllable initial, except when immediately preceded by a voiced sound.
- Voiceless stops are unaspirated after s in words.
- Voiceless obstruents are longer than the corresponding voiced obstruents when at the end of a syllable.
- Approximants are at least partially voiceless when they occur after initial voiceless stops.
- The gestures for consecutive stops overlap, so that stops are unexploded when they occur before another stop.
- In many accents of English, syllable final voiceless stops are accompanied by an overlapping glottal stop gesture.
- In many accents of English, /t/ is replaced by a glottal stop when it occurs before an alveolar nasal in the same word.
- Nasals are syllabic at the end of a word when immediately after an obstruent.
- An alveolar lateral approximant is a syllabic at the end of a word when immediately after a consonant.
- Liquids are syllabic at the end of a word when immediately after a consonant.
- Alveolar stops and alveolar nasal plus stop sequence become voiced taps when they occur between two vowels the second of which is unstressed.