Saturday, November 23, 2013

LJ - Chapter 3 - The Consonants of English



"Phonetics is concerned with describing speech."


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.
What is the importance of a glottal stop?
  • 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.
    • [ˈm̩hm̩]
    • [ˈʔm̩ʔm̩]
What is a nasal plosion?
  • 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.
What is a lateral plosion?
  • 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?
  1. They influence  vowel length in similar ways.
    • Vowels are shorter before voiceless consonants.
    • Vowels are longer before voiced consonants.
  2. Final voiceless consonants are longer than final voiced consonants.
  3. Voiced consonants are not actually voiced throughout the articulation unless adjacent sounds are also voiced.
    • 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.
What is a secondary articulation?
  • 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]).
What are special affricates?
  • 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.
When are nasals syllabic?
  • 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.
What is special about [ŋ] 
  • 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?
  • /l/
What is velarization?
  • 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.
What is the status of [h]?
  • /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.
 Lip rounding
  • An essential part of /w/.
    • There is a tendency for gestures to overlap with those for adjacent sounds.
  • Sometimes occurs with /ɹ/.
 What is anticipatory coarticulation?
  • 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.
What is a target?
  • 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.
How is [y] called?
  • "umlaut u"
What are the 2 types of allophones?
  • Because phonemes are composed of these two types of allophones, they cannot be equated with gestures.
  1. Intrinsic Allophones
    • The difference between allophones are the result of overlapping gestures.
  2. Extrinsic Allophones
    • The difference between allophones involving different gestures.
  1.  Consonants are longer when at the end of a phrase.
  2. Voiceless stops are aspirated when they are syllable initial.
  3. 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.
  4. So-called voiced stops and affricates are voiceless when syllable initial, except when immediately preceded by a voiced sound.
  5. Voiceless stops are unaspirated after s in words.
  6. Voiceless obstruents are longer than the corresponding voiced obstruents when at the end of a syllable.
  7. Approximants are at least partially voiceless when they occur after initial voiceless stops.
  8. The gestures for consecutive stops overlap, so that stops are unexploded when they occur before another stop.
  9. In many accents of English, syllable final voiceless stops are accompanied by an overlapping glottal stop gesture.
  10. In many accents of English, /t/ is replaced by a glottal stop when it occurs before an alveolar nasal in the same word.
  11. Nasals are syllabic at the end of a word when immediately after an obstruent.
  12. 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.
  13. Alveolar stops become voiced taps when they occur between two vowels the second of which is unstressed.
    • Alveolar stops and alveolar nasal plus stop sequence become voiced taps when they occur between two vowels the second of which is unstressed.
  14. Alveolar consonants become dentals before dental consonants.
  15. Alveolar stops are reduced or omitted when between two consonants.
  16. A homorganic voiceless stop may occur after a nasal before a voiceless fricative followed by an unstressed vowel in the same word.
  17. A consonant is shortened when it is before an identical consonant.
  18. Velar stops become more front before more front vowels.
  19. An alveolar lateral approximant is velarized when after a vowel or before a consonant at the end of a word.

Some diacritics that modify the value of a symbol


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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

LJ - Chapter 1 - Articulation and Acoustics



"Phonetics is concerned with describing speech."


 How are speech sounds made?
  • Audible tongue and lip gestures that involve pushing air out of the lungs while producing noise in the throat or mouth.
  • Producing any sound requires energy.
    • The basic source of power is the respiratory system. 
What are articulators?
  • Parts of the vocal tract that can be used to form sounds.
  1.  Tongue
  2.  Lips
Where does air travel?
  1. Respiratory system pushes air out of lungs.
  2. Trachea
  3. Larynx
  4. Vocal folds
  5. Pharynx
  6. Mouth
 What happens in the vocal folds?
  • Voiced sound: The vocal folds are adjusted so that there is only a narrow passage between them, the airstream from the lungs cause them to vibrate. (i.e., [v])
  • Voiceless sound: The vocal folds are apart. (i.e., [f])
What is the vocal tract? 
  • The air passage above the larynx.
  • Its shape is an important factor in speech production.
  • Drawing
    • Air passages that make up the vocal tract may be divided into the oral tract, within the mouth and pharynx, and the nasal tract, within the nose.
  • Air goes in and out through the nose when the flap at the back of the mouth is lowered.
What are the 4 main components of speech production mechanisms?
  1. Airstream process
  2. Phonation process  
    • The name given to the actions of the vocal folds. 
    • The two possible sounds produces are voiced and voiceless.
  3. Oro-nasal process
    • Airstream going out through the nose.
  4. Articulatory process
    • The movements of the tongue and lips interacting with the roof of the mouth and the pharynx.

How do we hear sounds?
  • Depends on acoustic structure.
How do we describe speech sounds?
  1. Pitch
  2. Loudness
  3. Quality
 What are the common characteristics of sound waves?
  • Voiced sound: Vibrating vocal folds have comparatively large regular pulses of air pressure.
  • Voiceless sound: Sounds without vocal fold vibration have a smaller amplitude and irregular variations in air pressure.

What do articulators do?
  • Lower surface of the vocal tract make the gestures required for speech by moving toward the articulators that form the upper surface.
 What are the principal parts of the upper surface of the vocal tract?
  1. Alveolar ridge
    • Small protuberance just behind the upper teeth.
  2. Hard palate
    • Bony structure in the front part of the roof of the mouth.
  3. Soft palate (Velum)
    • A muscular flap that can be raised to press against the back wall of the pharynx and shut off the nasal tract. 
  4. Uvula
    • A small appendage hanging down at the lower end of the soft palate.
  5. Pharynx
    • The part of the vocal tract between the uvula and the larynx.
    • The back wall of the pharynx may be considered as one of the articulators on the upper surface of the vocal tract.
  6. Larynx

What is a velic closure?
  • It's when the velum is press against the back wall of the pharynx and shuts off the nasal tract, preventing air from going out through the nose.
  • This action separates the nasal tract from the oral tract so that the air can only go out through the mouth.
What are the principal parts of the lower surface of the vocal tract?
  1. Lower lip
  2. Tip of the tongue
  3. Blade
  4. Front of the tongue: Located behind the blade, It is the forward part of the body of the tongue that lies underneath the hard palate when the tongue is at rest.
  5. Center of the tongue: Partly beneath the hard palate and velum.
  6. Back of the tongue: Beneath the soft palate.
  7. Root of the tongue: Opposite the back wall of the pharynx.
  8. Epiglottis: Attached to the lower part of the root of the tongue.
What are the most mobile parts of the tongue?
  1. Tip of the tongue
  2. Blade of the tongue
How are the speech articulators categorized?
  1. Labial: Uses the lips.
  2. Coronal: Uses the tip/blade of the tongue.
  3. Dorsal: Uses the back of the tongue.
What are the principal terms for the particular types of obstruction required in the description of English?

  1. Bilabial: Upper and lower lip.
    • (i.e., pie, buy, my)
  2. Labiodental: Lower lip and upper front teeth.
    • (i.e., fie, vie)
  1. Dental: Tongue tip and upper front teeth.
    • (i.e.,thing, there)
    • Interdental: Tip of the tongue protruding between the upper and lower front teeth.
  2. Alveolar: Tongue tip or blade and the alveolar ridge.
    • (i.e., tie, die, nigh, sigh, zeal, lie)
  3. Retroflex: Tongue tip and the back of the alveolar ridge.
    • (i.e., rye, row, ray, ire, hour, air)
  4. Palato-Alveolar: Tongue blade and the back of the alveolar ridge.
    • (i.e., shy, she, show)
    • Post-alveolar: Blade of the tongue is close to the back part of the alveolar ridge and sounds are produced farther back in the mouth.
  5. Palatal: Front of the tongue and hard palate.
    • (i.e., you)
  1. Velar: Back of the tongue and velum.
    • (i.e., hack, hag, hang)
    • (i.e., Velar: rang, Alveolar: ran, Bilabial: ram)
    • Air comes out through the nose because air is prevented from going out through the mouth because the velum is lowered.

    What can articulators do?
    • Close off the oral tract for an instant or relatively long period.
    • Narrow the space considerably.
    • Modify the shape of the tract by approaching each other.
    6. STOP
    • Term commonly used to imply a complete stoppage of the airflow through both the nose and the mouth. 
    • Complete closure of the articulators involved so that the airstream cannot escape through the mouth.
    • Velic opening differentiates the types of stops.
    What are the possible types of stops?
    1. Oral stop
    2. Nasal stop
    6.1 ORAL STOP
    • Known as plosives in the IPA chart.
    • Pressure builds up inside the mouth when the mouth is closed and the velum is raised so that the nasal tract is blocked off, and the airstream is thus completely obstructed. 
    • The airstream releases a small burst of sound when the articulators come apart. 
    • (i.e. Bilabial closure: pie, buy, Alveolar closure: tie, dye, Velar closure: kye, guy)
    6.2 NASAL STOP
    • Air is stopped in the oral cavity but the velum is lowered so the air can go out through the nose.
    • (i.e., Bilabial closure: my, Alveolar closure: nigh, Velar closure: sang)
    • Close approximation of two articulators so that the airstream is partially obstructed and turbulent airflow is produced.
    • There is a narrowing of the vocal tract between the blade of the tongue and the back part of the alveolar ridge.
    • (i.e., Labiodental: fie, vie, Dental: thigh, thy, Alveolar: sign, zoo, Palato-alveolar: shy)
    What are sibilants?
    • Higher-pitched sounds with a more obvious hiss.
    • (i.e., sigh, shy)
    • A gesture in which one articulator is close to another, but without the vocal tract being narrowed to such an extent that a turbulent airstream is produced.
    • (i.e., yacht, we, raw)
    • Obstruction of the airstream at a point along the center of the oral tract, with incomplete closure between one or both sides of the tongue and the roof of the mouth.
    • No stoppage of air.
    • No fricative noises.
    • (i.e., Alveolar laterals: lie, laugh)
    • Sucking test: The tongue will feel colder on the side that is not in contact with the roof of the mouth.
    1. Trill (Roll)
    2. Tap (flap)
      • Tongue makes a single tap against the alveolar ridge.
    3. Affricate
      • Some type of articulation combined with a fricative.
    4. Glottal stop
      • In English, words that start with a vowel.
    What are the five factors used to describe consonants?
    1. State of the vocal folds (voiced or voiceless)
    2. Place of articulation
    3. Central or lateral articulation
    4. Soft palate raised to form a velic closure (oral sounds) or lowered (nasal sounds)
    5. Manner of articulatory action
    • Amplitude gets larger for vowels.
    • Articulators don't come very close together, and the passage of the airstream is relatively unobstructed.
    Vowel classification
    1. Front
    2. Back
    Lip movement
    1. Rounded
    2. Unrounded 
    • There is (voice) pitch at which the vowel is actually spoken. This depends on the pulses being produced by the vibrating vocal folds.
    • There are overtone pitches (vocal tract pitches) that depend on the shape of the resonating cavities of the vocal tract.
      • Gives the vowel its distinctive quality.
    • We normally cannot hear the separate overtones of a vowel as distinguishable pitches.
      • The only sensation of pitch is the note on which the vowel is said. This depends on the rate of vibration of the vocal folds.
      • But we hear it when we whisper.
    • Summary: Vowel sounds may be said on a variety of notes (voice pitches), but they are distinguished from one another by two characteristic vocal tract pitches associates with their overtones.
    What is a formant?
    1. F1: Lower pitch that is distinguishable in creaky voice.
    2. F2: Higher pitch that is heard when whispering.
    • Vowels and consonants can be thought of as segments of which speech is composed and they form syllables to make up utterances. 
    • Characterized by the fact that they must be described in relation to other items in the same utterance.
      • It is the relative values of pitch, length, or degree of stress of an item that are significant. But the absolute values are never linguistically important.
    What are the features of suprasegmentals?
    1. Stress
      • In English, stress distinguishes nouns from verbs.
    2. Pitch
      • An auditory property that enables a listener to place it on a scale going from low to high, without considering its acoustic properties.
      • ↑ Frequency = ↑ Pitch
      • Equated with a sounds' fundamental frequency.
      • Pitch changes due to variations in laryngeal activity can occur independently of stress change.
      • Associated with the rate of vibration in the vocal folds.
      • Voice pitch is altered to produce different notes measurable by frequency.
    What is frequency?
    • A technical term for an acoustic property of sound.
    • The number of complete repetitions (cycles) of a pattern of air pressure variation occurring in a second. 
    • Unit: Hertz (Hz)
    What is intonation?
    • The pitch pattern in a sentence.