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ARTICULATORY AND PHYSIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION OF ENGLISH VOWELS
Draw the following table: classification of English and Russian consonants according to the voice or noise prevalence.
Read these Russian and English words. Avoid palatalization of English initial consonants before the front vowels /h, t, e, ei/.
пей—pay бил —bill Вил —veal сед —said
Пит—pit сил —sill Фили—feeling лес —less
кит—kit ■ зил —zeal бел —bell бег —beg
гей —gay сел —sell тип —tip нет —net
тик—tik мил—meal бед —bed Вена—when
тел —tell мел —mell лет —let рек —reck
дел —dell Нил—nil
1. Draw the following table: classification of English and Russian consonants
3. Draw the following table: classification of English and Russian consonants
The first linguist who tried to describe and classify vowel sounds for all languages was D. Jones. He devised the system of 8 Cardinal Vowels. The basis of the system is physiological. Cardinal vowel No, 1 corresponds to the position of the front part of the tongue raised as close as possible to the palate. The gradual lowering of the tongue to the back lowest position gives another point for cardinal vowel No. 5. The lowest front position of the tongue gives the point for cardinal No. 4. The upper back limit for the tongue position gives the point for cardinal No. 8. These positions for cardinal vowels No. 1, 4, 5 and 8 were copied from X-ray photographs. The tongue positions и
between these points were X-rayed*and the JV V~
qdtt pit f N 2, 3, 6, 7 \ \
found. The IPA symbols for the 8 Cardinal
of the primary cardinal vowel qualities, _
using for comparison French, German and a a
Russian languages. Fts' '
No. 1 is the equivalent of the German ie in Biene. This position is higher than for the Russian accented /и/ in the word пили.
No, 2 is pronounced with the position of the tongue narrower than for the Russian _/e/ in the word тесть.
No. 3 is similar to the Russian /э/ in the word эта.
N.o. 4 is similar to the French sound /a/ in la.
No. 5 is nearly what is obtained by taking away the lip rounding from the English sound h! in hot.
No,' 6 is. similar to the German sound of /o/ in Sonne, so.
No. 7 is similar to the French sound of /o/ in Rose.
No. 8 is. similar to the German sound of /u/ in gut.
See Fig. 7. /и, ы, у, о, а, э/ are Russian vowels, given for corapari-son.
The system of Cardinal Vowels is an international standard.
Table 2 English and Russian Vowel Phonemes
"The Cardinal Vowel scale is a Sine and independent system needed on the auditory and articulatory levels."г
In spite of the theoretical significance of the Cardinal Vowel System its practical application is limited to the field where no comparison is needed, in purely scientific work. In language teaching this system can be learned only by oral instruction from a teacher who knows how to pronounce the Cardinal Vowels. "Those who have access nei-
* Glmson A.C. An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English, 1964.-P. 36.
ther to a qualified teacher, nor to a ... record cannot expect to learn the values of these or any other cardinal vowels with accuracy." *
Acoustically vowels are musical tones (not noises): the word "vowel" is a derivative of "voice". But vowels are not necessarily connected with voice. Prof. L.R. Zinder states that if the organs of speech are adjusted for the articulation of a vowel, it can be pronounced without voice, breathing the air out through the mouth cavity, then a voiceless vowel is produced. Such voiceless vowels exist in all languages as a "schwa" in a terminal position after voiceless (especially occlusive) consonants. E.g. in the Russian language /ъ/ is heard in the words: суд, /com, убит, кит, хлеб, etc. When people pronounce vowels in whisper, they also articulate "voiceless vowels".
Acoustically vowels differ due to their tembral colouring, each vowel is characterized by its own formants (that is concentrations of energy in certain frequency regions on the spectrogram).
Soviet phoneticians suggest a classification of vowels according to the following principles:
I. Position of the lips.
II. Position of the tongue.
III. Degree of tenseness and the character of the end.
V. Stability of articulation.
I. The main effects of lip rounding on the shape of the mouth are:
II. According to the position of the tongue jt is the bulk of the
L. V. Shcherba did not separate vowels according to the vertical and horizontal movements of the tongue with definite lines, considering such subdivision to be conventional (Fig. 8).
Soviet scientists divide vowels according to the (a) horizontal and (b) vertical movements of the tongue (Table 2).
(a) When the bulk of the tongue moves backwards, it is usually the back part of the tongue which is raised highest towards the soft palate. Vowels produced with the tongue in this position are called back. They are subdivided into:
i Vassttyev V.A. Op. cit-J>. 92.
fully back: h, э:, u:/, the nucleus of the diphthong hi!, and the Russian /о, у/;
back-advanced: /u, at.
When the bulk of the tongue moves forward, it is usually the front part of the tongue which is raised highest towards the hard palate. Vowels produced with this position of the tongue are called front. They are subdivided into:
fully front: /i:, e, зе/, the nuclei of the diphthongs /ei, еэ/ and the Russian /u, э/;
front-retracted: /i/ and the nuclei of the diphthongs /au, ai/. In the production of central vowels the tongue is almost flat. Its central
part is raised towards the juncture between the hard and soft palate. Central vowels are /з:, э, л/ and the nucleus of the diphthong /au/.
Some phoneticians considered that /з:, э/ are mixed not central vowels (G.P. Torsuyev, A.L. Trakhterov, H. Sweet). G.P. Torsuyev referred to the group of central vowels the Russian /a/ and /ы/. L.V. Shcherba does not
, ., , mention central vowels at all,
he considers the vowels of the lul type and the English /з:, з/ mixed, (b) According to the vertical movements of the tongue vowels are subdivided into:
high: /i:, i, u, u:/, Russian /и, у, ы/;
mid-, half-open /e, г., a(u), е(э), a/, Russian /э, о/;
n I °?^: /A\ *?' ak u>' cü' v> °W/. Russian /a/. t,acn ot the subclasses is subdivided into vowels of narrow variation and vowels of broad variation:
narrow variation: /i:, u:/, Russian /и, ы, у/
broad variation: /i, u/
narrow variation: /e, з:, e(u)/, Russian /э/
■ broad variation: /ф), э:, 9/, Russian /o/ narrow variation: /л, o(i)/
broad variation: /tt| v, эе, a(i, u)/, Russian /a/
The Russian /э/ is on the borderline between "narrow" and "broad" mid vowels, /o/ is on the borderline between "mid-open" and "open", i ^cfc.ordJne i0 the degree of tenseness traditionally long vow-
L ь и iS Ч"56^ short as Iax- The te"n "tense" was ind by H. Sweet, who stated that the tongue is tense when vow-
els of narrow variety are articulated. This statement is a confusion of two problems: acoustic and articulatory because "tenseness" is an acoustic notion and should be treated in terms of acoustic data. However, this phenomenon is connected with the articulation of vowels in unaccented syllables (unstressed vocal ism). The decrease of tenseness results in the reduction of vowels, that is in an unstressed position they may lose their qualitative characteristics.
When the muscles of the lips, tongue, cheeks and the back walls of the pharynx are tense, the vowels produced can be characterized as "tense". When these organs are relatively relaxed, lax vowels are produced. There are different opinions in referring English vowels to the first or to the second group. D. Jones * considers only the long /i:/ and /u:/ to be tense. Q.P. Torsuyev ä defines all long English vowels as tense as well as /ae/, all short vowels are considered by him as lax.
This problem can be solved accurately only with the help of elec-tromyography. The Russian vowels are not differentiated according to their tenseness but one and the same vowel is tense in a stressed syllable compared with its tenseness in an unstressed one.
English vowels can be checked and unchecked. Checked vowels are those which occur in stressed closed syllables, ending in a fortis voiceless consonant, e.g. /e/ in /bet/, /'leb/; fa./ in /kat/, /Jeep/, The checked vowels are pronounced without any lessening in the force of utterance towards their end. They are abruptly interrupted by the following voiceless consonant. Unchecked vowels are those which occur terminally, or are followed by a lenis voiced consonant, e.g. I'v.l in /bi:/, la.1 in /ka:d/. There are no checked vowels in Russian. All of them are unchecked.
The English vowel /э/ does not occur in a stressed context. It must be regarded outside the free/checked classes.
IV. According to the length English vowels are subdivided into: (historically) long and (historically) short.»
Vowel length may depend on a number of linguistic factors:
(1) position of the vowel in a word,
(2) word stress,
(3) the number of syllables in a word,
(4) the character of the syllabic structure,
(1) Positional dependence of length can be illustrated by the following example:
be — bead — beat we ~- weed — wheat tie — tied — tight
1 Jones D. An Outline of English Phonetics,— 9th ed.— Cambridge, 1960. a Торсуев Г. П. Строение слога и аллофоны в английском языке — AI.,
3 Length is marked with a macron (—), shortness with a breve (~).
In the terminal position a vowel is the longest, it shortens before a voiced consonant, it is the shortest before a voiceless consonant.
(2) A vowel is longer in a stressed syllable than in an unstressed
forecast n /ifo:kast/ прогноз—forecast v /b;ikast/ предсказывать погоду
In the verb /o:/ is shorter than in the noun, though it may be pronounced with /o:/ equally long.
(3) If we compare a one-syllable word and a word consisting of
(4) In words with V, CV, CCV x type of syllable the vowel length
(5) Vowels of low sonority are longer than vowels of greater sonor
Besides vowel length depends on the tempo of speech: the higher the rate of speech the shorter the vowels.
D. Jones % treats quantity independently of the vowel sounds themselves. Thus he treats Гг., i/ as positional allophones of one phoneme.
Length is a non-pnonemic feature in English but it may serve to differentiate the meaning of a word. This can be proved by minimal pairs, e.g.
beat /bi:t/ бить—bit /on/ кусочек
deed /di:d/ дело (деяние)—did /did/ делал, сделал
The English long'vowels are /i:, u:, а, о:, э:/.
G.P. Torsuyev considers /ае/tobea long vowel, but he admits that in certain positions /se/ can be a short phoneme. English phoneticians state that it is a short one, though in some words it may be long.3
The English short vowels are /i, e, ю, as, u, л, э/.
V. The stability of articulation is the principle of vowel classification which is not singled out by Britisn and American phoneticians. In fact, it is the principle of the stability of the shape, volume and the size of the mouth resonator.
) 2 V is the Initial letter of the word "vowel"; С is the Initial letter of the word consonant"; V, CV, CCV are open types of syllables; VC, CVC, CCVC are closed types of syllables.
г Jones O, Op. cit.—P. 70,
8 Ward I. The Phonetics of English,— Cambridge, 1948.— P. 76.
We can speak only of relative stability of the organs of speech, because pronunciation of a sound is a process, and its stability should be treated conventionally.
According to this principle vowels are subdivided into:
(a) monophthongs, or simple vowels,
(b) diphthongs, or complex vowels.
(a) English monophthongs are pronounced with more or less
(b) Diphthongs are defined differently by different authors. One
Another definition of a diphthong as a single sound is based on the instability of the second element. The third group of scientists define a diphthong from the accentual point of view: since only one element is accented and the other is unaccented, a diphthong is a single sound.
D. Jones defines diphthongs as unisyllabic gliding sounds in the articulation of which the organs of speech start from one position and then glide to another position,
N.S, Trubetskoy states that a diphthong should be (a) unisyllabic, that is the parts of a diphthong cannot belong to two syllables, (b) monophonemic with gliding articulation, (c) its length should not exceed the length of a single phoneme.
L.R. Zinder adds that phonemically diphthongs are sounds that cannot be divided morphologically. E,g. the Russian /аи, ой/ in чай, стой can be separated: ча-ю, сто-to,
L. L. Bulanin calls combinations like Russian /аи, ей, ой/ phonetic diphthongs and English inseparable units like /ai, ei. .../-^ phonemic diphthongs.x
The first element of a diphthong is the nucleus, the second is the glide, A diphthong can be falling — when the nucleus is stronger than the glide, and rising — when the glide is stronger than the nucleus. When both elements are equal such diphthongs are called level,
English diphthongs are falling with the glide toward:
i—/ei, ai, oi/, u—/au, эй/, a—/19, еэ, иэ/.8
Diphthongs /ei, эй, vx, au, ai/ are called closing, diphthongs /еэ» ,13, иэ/ are called centring, according to the articulatory char? acter of the second element.
1 Вуланин JI.JI. Фонетика современного оусского языка.— M., 1970.— С. 85.
. - а D. Jones treats the diphthongs /ia, ua/£in some positions as rising, e.g. /'hK/ /'/
There are two vowels in English—/i:, u:/—that may have a diphthongal glide where they have full length, e.g. in open syllables and before lenis or nasal consonants: /bi:, bi:d, bi:n/, /du:,
In allophonic transcription they can be represented as [iiJ, uuw]. Before fortis consonants it is more usual to hear steady-state /i:, u:/, e.g. /bi:t, bu:t/. Russian vowels /э, о/ are diphthongoids of the widening type, Russian /a/ between soft consonants is a diph-thongoid, it begins and ends with /и/, e.g. сядь /c'äY/, /ä/ = [*aHI.
If we compare classifications of vowels suggested by Soviet and foreign authors, we may state that the classification of vowels suggested by Soviet authors is more exact from the articulatory point of view and more simple for teaching purposes. It reflects more exactly distinctively relevant differences between the English^ vowel phonemes.
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