The system of phonemes.
All English phonemes can be divided into consonants phonemes and vowels phonemes. The following 20 vowel phonemes are distinguished in BBC English (RP): [i:, a:, o:, u:, з:, i, e,; ei, ai, oi].
Principles of classification provide the basis for the establishment of the following distinctive oppositions:1. Stability of articulation1.1. monophthongs vs. diphthongsbit - bait, kit - kite, John - join, debt — doubt1.2. diphthongs vs. diphthongoids bile - bee, boat — boot, raid - rude
2. Position of the tongue 2.1. horizontal movement of the tongue a) front vs. Central cab — curb, bed — bird b) back vs. Central pull – pearl, cart - curl, call - curl 2.2. vertical movement of the tongue : -close (high) vs. Mid -open (mid)bid — bird, week - work open (low) vs. mid-open (mid) lark - lurk, call — curl, bard-bird
3. Position of the lips rounded vs. unrounded don — darn, pot - part
The phonological analysis of English consonant sounds helps to distinguish 24 phonemes.. Principles of classification suggested by Russian phoneticians provide the basis for establishing of the following distinctive oppositions in the system of English consonants:
1.Degree of noise: bake - make, veal - wheel
2. Place of articulation labial vs. lingual: pain — cane lingual vs. glottal: foam — home, care — hair, Tim - him
3.Manner of articulation 3.1 occlusive vs. constrictive pine -fine, bat - that, bee – thee 1.constrictive vs. affricates fare — chair, fail –jail 2. constrictive unicentral vs. constrictive bicentral same – shame
4. Work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation 4.1 voiceless fortis vs. voiced lenis pen — Ben, ten - den, coat - goal
5. Position of the soft palate 5.1 oral vs. nasal pit — pin, seek — seen
9.By the degree of noise English consonants are devided into two general kinds: a) noise consonants; b) sonorants. If it is sound in which noise prevails over tone it is noise consonant (ex. p, b, fv, s, z, ð, θ )
Sonorants are sounds that differ greatly from other consonants. This is due to the fact that in their production the air passage between the two organs of speech is fairly wide, that is much wider than in the production of noise consonants. As a result, the auditory effect is tone, not noise (m, n, w, r, ŋ, l).
Consonants and sonorants may be occlusive and constrictive.
According to the manner of articulation consonants may be of 3 groups:
Occlusive consonants are sounds in the production of which the air stream meets a complete obstruction in mouth.
Occlusive noise consonants ( stops ) – the breath is completely stopped at some point of articulation and then it is released with an explosion ( plosive ).
Occlusive sonorants ( nasal ) – made with a complete obstruction but the soft palate is lowered and the air stream escapes through the nose.
2. Constrictive consonants apw the air stream meets an incomplete obstruction in the resonator, so the air passage is constricted.
Constrictive noise consonants ( fricatives ) – apw the air passage is constricted and the air escapes through the narrowing with friction.
Constrictive sonorants ( oral ) – made with an incomplete obstruction but with a rather wide air passage; so tone prevails over noise.
3. Occlusive – constrictive consonants ( affricates ) – noise consonant sounds produced with a complete obstruction which is slowly released and the air escapes from the mouth with some friction.