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Phonetic Processes
Presented by:
Asma Abas
Tone: Tone is the overall behaviour of
Pitch: Pitch is frequency of vibration of
vocal cords.
Tone unit: For the purpose of analyzing
intonation, a unit greater than syllable one
syllable. Usually tone – unit is always
composed of more than one syllable.
Phonetic Processes
Campbell, L. (2004) and Hock, H. H. (1991)
state that:
Phonetic processes are the guidelines which lead
to the sound changes .’’ Sound change can
consist of the replacement of one speech sound
(or, more generally, one phonetic feature) by
another, the complete loss of the affected sound,
or even the introduction of a new sound in a
place where there previously was none. Sound
changes can be environmentally
Terms for changes in pronunciation
Assimilation: a phonological process in which a
speech sound changes and become more like
or identical to another sound that precede or
follow it . (Richard and Schmid.2003:35)
Roach (2002:139) mentions three types of
Assimilation of place.
Assimilation of manner.
Assimilation of voice .
Terms for changes in pronunciation
Dissimilation: The opposite of
assimilation. One sound becomes less
like another.
Terms for changes in pronunciation
Elision is the loss of unstressed sounds. There are
3 types:
Aphaeresis the loss of initial sounds.
In the southeastern United States,
unstressed schwas tend to drop, so "American"
is not /əˈmɛɹəkən/ but /ˈmɚkən/.
Standard English is possum < opossum.
Terms for changes in pronunciation
2- Syncope is the loss of medial sounds .The Old
French word for "state" is estat, but then the s
dropped, yielding, état. Similarly the loss of /t/
in English soften, hasten, castle, etc..
3- Apocope is the loss of final sounds. Elision
examples: Apocope examples: the final -e [ə]
in Middle English words was pronounced, but
is only retained in spelling as silent E. In
English /b/ and /ɡ/ were apocopated in final
position after nasals: lamb, long /læm/ /loŋ/.
Metathesis: Two sounds switch places. Example:
Old English thridda became Middle English
third; English comfortable pronounced as if
spelled comfterble .
Haplology: The loss of a syllable when an
adjacent syllable is similar or (rarely) identical.
Example: Old English Englaland became Modern
English England, or the common pronunciation
of probably as [ˈprɒbli]. This change usually
affects commonly used words. The word
haplology itself is sometimes jokingly
pronounced "haplogy".
Liking : linking words together in a special
ways .The most familiar case is the use of
intrusive r , which is a case of juncture.
‘media event ‘ =mediar event
To Better understanding
All the languages in the world use
consonants and vowels to build
morphemes, which in turn join together
to form words.
We may pronounce a word with various
pitch patterns, depending on the
occasion. We may pronounce it with high
pitch if we are emphatic, we may say it
with a rising pitch in a question etc.
But these different pitch patterns do not alter
the word in the way that changing a consonant
or changing a vowel does.
These different pitch patterns that do not
change but merely add to the basic meaning of
words are called intonation.
Yet there are some languages in the world that
use pitch patterns to build morphemes in the
same way consonant and vowels are used. The
best known such language is Chinese .
English is not tone language because
different tones make no difference in
However, it certainly gives different
meanings when different parts/syllables of
the same words are stressed.
Marriam – Webester (2003):
“Stress : intensity of utterances given to a
speech sound , syllable , or word
producing relative loudness “
 Thornbury (2006 :213) :
“Stress is the effect of emphasizing certain
syllables by increasing their loudness,
length or pitch “
Kinds of stress
One of the noticeable features of English
is that some of its syllables are strong and
others are weak .
The strong syllables are stressed while the
weak ones are not , so we have :
Strong stress
Weak =
Stress on the First Syllable
Most 2-syllable nouns
PRESent, EXport, CHIna, TAble
Most 2-syllable adjectives
PRESent, SLENder, CLEVer,
Stress on the Last Syllable
Most 2-syllable verbs
to preSENT, to exPORT, to deCIDE, to
Stress on the Last Syllable
• There are many two-syllable words in English
whose meaning and class change with a
change in stress. ( English phonetics and phonology:110)
Stress on the Penultimate Syllable
Words ending in –ic
GRAPHic, geoGRAPHic, geoLOGic
Words ending in -sion and - teleVIsion, reveLAtion
On ante-penultimate syllable
third form end
Words ending in -cy, -ty, phy and -gy
deMOcracy, dependaBIlity, phoTOgraphy,
Words ending in -al
CRItical, geoLOGical
Compound words
For compound nouns, the
stress is on the first part
BLACKbird, GREENhouse
For compound adjectives,
the stress is on the second
bad-TEMpered, old-FASHioned
For compound verbs, the
to underSTAND, to overFLOW
stress is on the second part
Please note
For a few words, native English speakers don't
always"agree" on where to put the stress.
For example,
some people say teleVIsion and others say
Another example is: CONtroversy and
What is it ?
What are the functions of intonation?
What is it?
Fromkin et al (2003)
► “ pitch counter of a phrase or sentence”
Merriam- Websters (2003)
► “ The rise and fall in pitch of the voice in speech
Thornbury (2006) stats that :
► “ Intonation is a suprasegmental feature of
pronunciation. It is the music of speech”
► Intonation helps create the music of a
language. (like notes in music)
► It is a part of communication.
* the rise and fall of pitch in our voice
plays a crucial role in how we express
► Intonation is the change of level of voice
Why do we need it?
Main Functions of Intonation
Roach mentions four functions :
Grammatical function
* Intonation is used to signal the syntactic
or grammatical structure.
Ex. She dressed and fed the baby.
( the baby was dressed and fed )
She dressed / and fed the baby.
( She dressed herself and then fed the baby)
2. Accentual information
Distributes accents among stressed
syllables to emphasize what need to be
perceived as significant word.
Ex. Paul is very tall.
Paul is very tall. (Paul and not another
3. Discourse Function
* The study of the intonation related to the
It means to convey what is new and what is old or
known. The main accent is in the last lexical word.
Ex. My name is Bond.
My name is Bond.
James Bond. (new is accented )
4. Attitudinal Function
* Intonation is used to convey attitude,
emotions or feelings. This adds a special
kind of meaning to spoken language.
a friend you meet regularly
a friend you haven’t seen for 10 years
a neighbor whom you don’t like
a 6 month old baby
someone doing what he shouldn’t
know if someone is listening (phone)
I did not say you stole my red hat.
I did not say you stole my red hat.
(the meaning contains the idea that someone else said it, not
I did not say you stole my red hat.
anger and denial of the fact.)
I did not say you stole my red hat.
(But I implied it that you did. Did you?)
I did not say you stole my red
hat. (I wasn't accusing you. I know it was
someone else)
Scot Thoronbury mentions three
functions : p.110
1. Grammatical function
2. Attitudinal
3. Discourse
are isolated sounds
( consonants, vowels, dipthongs)
of speech like stress, intonation
and rhythm
Word Stress vs. Intonation
Are they different?
- stress within a word
- a syllable is said
Louder, Longer at a
higher pitch
It goes beyond the
word level.
- it’s a change in pitch
within a group of
A long line of melody
Kinds of Tones
Fall – gives the impression of finality
 Rise- conveys an impression that
something more is to follow.
 Fall-Rise – shows limited agreement,
uncertainty and doubt.
 Rise-Fall – convey rather strong feelings of
approval, disapproval or surprise
 Level- tone is neutral and uninterested
(usually calls “flat”)
Intonation Pattern
Two Basic Patterns
1. Falling Intonation
2. Rising Intonation
What is falling intonation?
pattern in which your voice
falls to a low pitch by the end
of a thought group or
What does it communicate?
You are telling a fact and/or you
believe you are right.
Completion : You are done
speaking. Your listener can now
Falling intonation
■ Declarative sentences
■ W H – questions (routine)
■ Commands
Erik builds flutes.// He began
building flutes after college.//
He has one flute of his very
What is rising intonation?
conveys an impression that something
more is to follow
YES/ NO questions
Open- choice alternative questions
Rising Intonation
Is that Estelle with them?
(Rising Intonation)
He just won first place!
Thank you for
Campbell,L.(2004). Historical Linguistics :an introduction . The MIT Press.
Hock , H.H. (1991). Principles of Historical Linguistics. Mounton De Gayte.
Scott Thornbury.(2006).An A- Z of ELT.MACMILAN
Victoria Fromkin et al.(2003).An Introduction to Language.7th
edition.Thomson Heinle
Peter Roach .(2002).English Phonetics and Phonology.3rd edition.
Richards and Schmid.(2002).Dictionary of Language Teaching &Applied
Linguistics.3rd ed.Longman.
http://www.wikipedia/phonetic processes/html