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Problems of phonostylistics

Function of stylistic that investigates speech on the level of phonetics is called phonostylistics. It studies the functional differentiation of pronunciation.

It studies the way phonetic means function in various in extra-linguistic situations. Extra-linguistic situation determines the functional differentiation of pronunciation.

The extra-linguistic situation includes all the factors that form and modify phonetic styles. It can be defined by 3 components purpose, participants and setting. The purpose directs the activity of the participants. Ex.: Any talk is motivated by the purpose of talking, so it has the topic of communication and happens in a particular setting and is reproduced by participants.

We never fail to guess what the person is doing instructing us or amusing. Each of these variations makes a speaker select a number of functional phonetic means to make the realization of the aim more objective. Analysing the purpose we should mention the general activity type and the subject matter. The subject matter may be the same. Ex.: Literature. Usual talk. But the general activity type is different.

Speaking about the participants we should take into account following: 1. Age, 2. Sex, 3. Emotional state. Speaking about setting it is important to take into consideration: 1). The number of the participants involved into communication. The speech may be public or private, impersonal or personal, high-cultured or low-cultured. As for the form of communication it may be a monologue or a dialogue.

The degree of formality should also be mentioned. Speech may be formal or informal, prepared or half-prepared, spontaneous.

2. The Classification of Phonetic Styles:

1. Gaiduchic(correlates with functional styles of language)

1) solemn (торжественный)

2) scientific business (научно-деловой)

3) official business (официально-деловой)

4) everyday (бытовой)

5) familiar (непринуждённый)

2. Dubovsky (degrees of formality)

1) informal ordinary

2) formal neutral

3) formal official

4) informal familiar

5) declamatory

3. Ours (the purpose of communication)

1) informational

2) academic

3) publicistic

4) declamatory

5) conversational


3.The phoneme is a minimal abstract language unit realized in speech in the ofrm of speech sounds opposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words (by Shcerba + Vasiliev). 3 aspects of the phoneme:1) material;2) abstract (generalized);3)function

The material aspect.

Each phoneme is realized in speech as a set of predictable (=depended on the context) speech sounds which are called allophones. E.g. phoneme [t]: [to:k] apical alveolar [t],[tip] slightly palatalized [t] ,[not there] dental [t], [not kwait] loss of plosion | allophones

The Abstract aspect

The phoneme is a minimal language unit.

The phoneme belongs to the language, the allophone – to the speech.

Language is an abstract category, it’s an abstraction from speech. Speech is the reality of a language, thus the phoneme as a language unit is materialized in speech sound. The phoneme is a sort of generalization (abstraction).The process of generalization.

The native speaker doesn’t pay attention to the allophones which don’t change the meaning. But every native speaker has a generalized idea of a complex of distinctive features that can’t be changed without changing the meaning.

The functional aspect.. to dinstinguish the meanings. Phonemes are capable of distinguishing the meaning of words and morphemes: seemed [d] ó seems [z]

and changing the meanings of whole sentences:Ex: He was heard badly. – He was hurt badly.

This function is performed when the phoneme is opposed to another phoneme in the same phonetic context: [ka:t] – [pa:t] backlingual bilabial (relevant features)

The features that do not effect the meaning are called irrelevant features (non-distinctive). Ex: aspiration.



4.The phoneme and its allophones/

In a language or dialect, a phoneme (from the Greek: φώνημα, phōnēma, "a sound uttered") is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances[1].

Allophones are the linguistically non-significant variants of each phoneme. In other words a phoneme may be realised by more than one speech sound and the selection of each variant is usually conditioned by the phonetic environment of the phoneme. Occasionally allophone selection is not conditioned but may vary form person to person and occasion to occasion (ie. free variation).

A phoneme is a set of allophones or individual non-contrastive speech segments. Allophones are sounds, whilst a phoneme is a set of such sounds.

e.g. Pit[phit] spit[spit] In English, [p] and [ph] are allophones of the /p/ phoneme.

2 types of allophones: principal and subsidiary

Principal are the allophones which don’t undergo any changes in the flow of speech => they are the closest to the phoneme) Ex: [t] -> [to:k]

In the articulation of a subsidiary allophone we observe predictable changes under the influence of the phonetic context.

Ex: [d] – occlusive plosive stop, forelingual, apical-alveolar, voiced lenis (the phoneme)

[do:], [dog] – the principal allophones

- [d] is slightly palatalized before front vowels and [j]: [ded], [did ju:]

- without plosion before another stop: [gud dei], [bad pain]

- with nasal plosion before nasal sonorants [m], [n]: [‘s^nd]

- before [l] a literal plosion: [midl]

- followed by “r” – [pst alveolar [d]: [dr^m]

- before interdental sounds it becomes dental: [bredth]

- when followed by [w] it becomes labialized: [dwel]

- in word final position it’s partly devoiced: [ded]

They are all fore-lingual lenis stops, but they show some differences. The allophones of the same phoneme never occur in the same phonetic context.

We can’t pronounce a phoneme, we pronounce allophones, which are accompanied by several social and personal characteristics. The actual pronounced sounds which we hear are formed with stylistic, situational, personal and etc. characteristics. They are called phones.



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