Chapter 4: The Sounds of American English

Chapter 4: The Sounds of American English

Whip Around If you were stranded on an island, what two things would you like to have with you? Think about this question and be prepared to share aloud with the class. Speech Comes First Language is speech, and writing is only its reflection. Writing attempts to do what the tape recorder does, to capture and make available something that has been said (or thought) in another place and at another time.

Chapter 4: The Sounds of American English We grew up in a system that favors writing over speech Speech and Writing Confusion Synesthesia (confusion of the senses) affects people beliefs of language Sound comes out of mouth Writing are marks made with hand

Did anyone teach you to speak? We depend on letters instead of sound The Problem with Letters Writing is a passive medium Affects what we say in a subtle way Example: cat lots of movement in the head, throat, and chest but is not reflected in the spelling of the word English spelling does not accurately reflect English speech sounds Speech is dynamic, personal, and transitory Writing is static, institutionalized, and permanent How many English languages are there?

IPA International Phonetic Alphabet Designed 100 years ago Writing down sounds of a language International phonetic alphabet Benefits to us: 1. You will learn all of the distinguished sounds of the English language. 2. You will begin to associate the symbols with actual movements of the speech mechanisms which will reinforce the sounds as you learn them. 3. It provides us with a common framework for understanding speech sound variations.

IPA Transcription When you write something in IPA, you TRANSCRIBE it. Use IPA symbols only to record speech; it is not for writing! IPA transcription is always enclosed in brackets. [k] The Phoneme Each IPA symbol represents one phoneme of

American English. Think of a phoneme as a family of sound The Allophone An allophone is a variation of a phoneme that is spelled the same but sounds different depending on the context. I can open a can of beans. Say it again and listen to the two utterances of can Phonetics and Phonemics Difference is like the difference between a

musical performance and its underlying musical score. Sounds we utter (phonetics) are realizations of underlying sound categories (phonemics) that exist in the minds of speakers and listeners who share a common language. Dialects and Standard Speech A dialect is a variation of language, spoken by a subgroup of speakers

Group differs geographically, socially, or ethnically Regional Dialects Eastern New York Metropolitan Southern New England General American

Standard and Non-Standard Speech & Foreign Accents Standard speech describes the language of the majority of the educated people in the region. Non-standard speech is considered to be significantly different from the speech generally accepted as standard. Foreign Accents There are phonemic differences in language. Key Definitions

Dialects: a variation of a language. Regional Dialects: a specified area of the country which reflects the variation of language. The USA has 4 major regional dialects: Eastern, New England, Southern, and General American. Within each region there are subregions Standard Speech: the language of the majority of the educated people in the region. Nonstandard Speech: significantly different from

the speech generally accepted as standard. Foreign Accents: phonetic differences in language. Classification of Sounds Consonants Produced when the articulators obstruct the breath stream either completely or partially. Three Factors: Voicing, Place of Articulation, Method of Articulation Voicing Voiced: If you produce voice at the same time that you produce a consonant sound, the consonant is voiced.

Voiceless: If there is no voice with the consonant. Cognates: sounds produced in the same place, in the same way, using the same articulators: the only difference is one sound is voiced and the other is voiceless. *paired consonant sounds Example: Gently place your fingers on either side of you thyroid cartilage (Adams Apple) and hum. Say the first sound in the word vat. Voiced Now, say fat. Voiceless

Place of Articulation The point at which we obstruct the breath stream is the place of articulation. To identify the physical place of articulation, we use the names of articulators involved. Look at page 52 Articulators: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Bilabial=both lips Labio-dental=lip-teeth Lingua-dental=tongue-teeth Lingua-alveolar=tongue-gum ridge Lingua-alveolo/palatal=tongue-gum ridge/palate Lingua-palatal=tongue-palate Lingua-velar=tongue-soft palate Glottal=the space between the vocal folds Method of Articulation The physical process used to produce the sound. Page 52, table 4-2 1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. Plosives=sounds you make by blocking off the breath stream entirely for a short period of time, just long enough to build up some air pressure behind your articulators. You then explode this air to produce the sound. E.g. pet Fricatives=a narrow opening through which you can squeeze some air. E.g. see Nasals=you produce the nasals by lowering the soft palate and blocking the oral cavity with the lips or the tongue. You then let the

air go out the nostrils. E.g. the first and last sounds in the word man are nasals. Glides=consonant sounds you make while youre moving your articulators from one position to another. You can hear and feel the motion. E.g. the first sound in yes Lateral=produced by dropping the sides of the tongue and allowing the air to leave by the sides of the mouth. E.g. the first and last sounds of lull Affricates=consonant combinations. The two English affricates are Vowels Vowels What are the vowels of spoken English?

For the purpose of this class, vowels are speech sounds produced without obstruction of the breath stream by the articulators. Example: ahhh Classification Height of the tongue, place of production, muscle tension Height of the Tongue The location of where your tongue falls when you say a word. E.g. See and Saw Place of Production

Place refers to the PART of the TONGUE primarily responsible for producing a particular vowel the front, middle, or back. E.g. see the vowel is at the front E.g. saw the vowel is at the back Muscle Tension When you speak, the tongue creates tension in different places or not at all. E.g. place the thumb and forefinger of one hand lightly on your neck above the larynx. Swallow. You should be able to feel muscle contractions. Keeping your fingers in the same place, say

the words see and sit. The vowel in see is tense so you probably felt the tongue muscles contracting. The vowel in sit is lax so you wont feel the muscles contracting as much. Classification of Sounds Diphthongs A diphthong is a vowel bend

Two vowels are bended together and said in such a way that the sound begins with one vowel and ends with the other. Smooth, gliding motion is used Although two vowels are used, the diphthong is perceived as one sound E.g. the word time Lets Practice! Turn to page 56 Answer questions 1-25 with a partner One person will read aloud questions 2-13 while the other person writes down their

answers. Then switch roles. The person who read last time will now write down the sounds and the other person will read aloud the words from questions 14-25. Be prepared to share aloud with the class Do not look at the answers! Practice on Your Own Now on your own, answer questions 26-30. We will go over the answers aloud in class so be prepared to share aloud.

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