3-4-5 linguistics

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The Sounds of Language,
The Sounds of Language (ch.5)
The organs of speech can be divided into the following
three groups :
1-The respiratory system :This comprises the lungs ,
the muscles of the chest and the wind pipe
2- The phonatory system : this comprises the larynx
.
3- The articulatory system : this comprises the nose
, teeth , tongue , roof of the mouth and the lips .
Epiglottis
, Vocal cords and , Glottis
The phonatory system :
The Larynx : it is commonly called the Adam's apple , situated at
the top of the wind pip .The air from the lungs has to come out
through the windpipe and the larynx. In the larynx are situated a
pair of lip-like structures. These are called the vocal cords
and these are placed horizontally from _ front to back. They are
attached in front and can be separated at the back. The opening
between the cords is called the glottis
The vocal cords can be opened and closed (because they can be
separated at the back) and when the two cords come very close
to each other, the glottis will be shut completely. In fact when we
swallow food or water, the vocal cords shut the glottis and thus
prevent the food or water from entering the windpipe.
When we breathe in and out, the vocal cords are drawn
wide apart and 'thus the glottis is open. The-air enters the
lungs or gets out of the lungs through the wide open
glottis-:
When we produce some speech sounds, the vocal cords
are wide apart and the glottis is open.
Such sounds produced with a wide – open glottis are
called voiceless sounds or breathed sounds (the latter term is
used because this is the position of the glottis for
breathing). The first sounds in the English words peel,
ten, keen, chin , fine, thin, seen, shine and hat are voiceless sounds
.
( During the production of certain speech sounds, the
vocal cords are loosely held together and the pressure of the
air from the lungs makes them open and close rapidly.
This is called the vibration of the vocal cords and the
sounds produced when the vocal cords vibrate are called
voiced sounds. All the sounds in the English words bead,
deed, girl, judge, vine, then ,zoo, measure, need, wing, red, yard
and well are voiced sounds. )
The vibration of the vocal cords is important for
another factor, too. The rate at which the vocal cords
vibrate is called the frequency
The production of speech sounds (P. 40-41)
Articulators above the larynx
All the sounds we make when we speak are the result of muscles
contracting. The muscles in the chest that we use for breathing
produce the flow of air that is needed for almost all speech
sounds; muscles in the larynx produce many different
modifications in the flow of air from the chest to the mouth.
After passing through the larynx, the air goes through what we
call the vocal tract, which ends at the mouth and nostrils. Here
the air from the lungs escapes into the atmosphere. We have a
large and complex set of muscles that can produce changes in
the shape of the vocal tract, and in order to learn how the
sounds of speech are produced it is necessary to become familiar
with the different parts of the vocal tract. These different parts
are called articulators, and the study of them is called
articulatory phonetics.
Fig. 1 is a diagram that is used frequently in the study of phonetics.
It represents the human head, seen from the side, displayed as though it
had been cut in half. You will need to look at it carefully as the
articulators are described, and you will often find it useful to have a
mirror and a good light placed so that you can look at the inside of your
mouth.
Fig. 1 The articulators
i) The pharynx is a tube which begins just above the
larynx. It is about 7 cm long in women and about 8 cm in men,
and at its top end it is divided into two, one part being the back
of the mouth and the other being the beginning of the way
through the nasal cavity. If you look in your mirror with your
mouth open, you can see the back of the pharynx.
ii) The velum or soft palate is seen in the diagram in a
position that allows air to pass through the nose and through the
mouth. Yours is probably in that position now, but often in
speech it is raised so that air cannot escape through the nose.
The other important thing about the velum is that it is one of
the articulators that
can be touched by the tongue. When we make the sounds 
and  the tongue is in contact with the lower side of the
velum, and we call these velar consonants.
iii) The hard palate is often called the "roof of the mouth".
You can feel its smooth curved surface with your tongue.
iv) The alveolar ridge is between the top front teeth and the
hard palate. You can feel its shape with your tongue. Its surface
is really much rougher than it feels, and is covered with little
ridges. You can only see these if you have a mirror small enough
to go inside your mouth (such as those used by dentists). Sounds
made with the tongue touching here (such as  and  ) are
called alveolar
v) The tongue is, of course, a very important articulator and it can
be moved into many different places and different shapes. It is
usual to divide the tongue into different parts, though there are no
clear dividing lines within the tongue. Fig. 2 shows the tongue on a
larger scale with these parts shown: tip, blade, front, back and
root. (This use of the word "front" often seems rather strange at
first.)
vi) The teeth (upper and lower) are usually shown in
diagrams like Fig. 1 only at the front of the mouth,
immediately behind the lips. This is for the sake of a
simple diagram, and you should remember that most
speakers have teeth to the sides of their mouths, back
almost to the soft palate. The tongue is in contact with
the upper side teeth for many speech sounds. Sounds
made with the tongue touching the front teeth are called
dental.
vii) The lips are important in speech. They can be
pressed together (when we produce the sounds  , 
), brought into contact with the teeth (as in  , ), or
rounded to produce the lip-shape for vowels like .
Sounds in which the lips are in contact with each other are called bilabial,
while those with lip-to-teeth contact are called labiodental.
The seven articulators described above are the main ones used in speech,
but there are three other things to remember. Firstly, the larynx could also
be described as an articulator - a very complex and independent one
.
Secondly, the jaws are sometimes called articulators; certainly we
move the lower jaw a lot in speaking. But the jaws are not
articulators in the same way as the others, because they cannot
themselves make contact with other articulators. Finally,
although there is practically nothing that we can do with the
nose and the nasal cavity, they are a very important part of our
equipment for making sounds (what is sometimes called our
vocal apparatus), particularly nasal consonants such as  ,  .
Again, we cannot really describe the nose and the nasal cavity as
articulators in the same sense as (i) to (vii) above.
Phonetics:
The general study of the characteristics of
speech sounds is called phonetics. Our basic
interest will be in articulatory phonetics,
which is the study of how speech sounds are
made, or articulated.
Articulation: voiced and voiceless
Place of articulation (P.41-45)
The active articulator usually moves in order to
make the constriction. The passive articulator
usually just sits there and gets approached.
A sound's place of articulation is usually named
by using the Latin ajective for the active articulator
(ending with an "o") followed by the Latin
adjective for the passive articulator. For example, a
sound where the tongue tip (the "apex")
approaches or touches the upper teeth is called an
"apico-dental".
Most of the common combinations of active and
passive articulator have abbreviated names (usually
leaving out the active half).
These are the abbreviated names for the places of
articulation used in English:
bilabial
The articulators are the two lips. (We could say that the lower lip
is the active articulator and the upper lip the passive articulator,
though the upper lip usually moves too, at least a little.) English
bilabial sounds include [p], [b], and [m].
labio-dental
The lower lip is the active articulator and the upper teeth are the
passive articulator. English labio-dental sounds include [f] and
[v].
dental
Dental sounds involve the upper teeth as the passive
articulator. The active articulator may be either the
tongue tip or (usually) the tongue blade -- diacritic
symbols can be used if it matters which. Extreme
lamino-dental sounds are often called interdental.
English interdental sounds include [
] and [
].
This , thank
alveolar
Alveolar sounds involve the alveolar
ridge as the passive articulator. The
active articulator may be either the
tongue blade or (usually) the tongue tip
-- diacritic symbols can be used if it
matters which. English alveolar sounds
include [t], [d], [n], [s], [z], [l].
Post alveolar
Post alveolar sounds involve the area just behind
the alveolar ridge as the passive articulator. The
active articulator may be either the tongue tip or
(usually) the tongue blade -- diacritic symbols can
be used if it matters which. English postalveolars
include [
].
]
and
[
Ch , sh ,
Linguists have traditionally used very inconsistent
terminology in referring to the post alveolar POA.
Some of the terms you may encounter for it
include:
Palato -alveolar, alveo-palatal, alveolo-palatal, and
even (especially among English-speakers) palatal.
Many insist that palato-alveolar and alveo (lo)palatal are two different things -- though they
don't agree which is which. "Post alveolar ", the
official term used by the International Phonetic
Association, is unambiguous, not to mention
easier to spell.
retroflex
In retroflex sounds, the tongue tip is curled up and
back. Retro flexes can be classed as apico-post
alveolar , though not all apico –post alveolars need to
be curled backward enough to count as retroflex.
The closest sound to a retroflex that English has is [
]. For most North Americans,
the tongue tip is curled back
in [
]
, though not as much as it is in languages that have true retro
flexes . Many other North Americans use what is called a
"bunched r" -- instead of curling their tongues back, they bunch
the front up and push it forward to form an approximant behind
the alveolar ridge.
r,
palatal
The active articulator is the tongue
body and the passive articulator is the
hard palate. The English glide [j] is a
palatal.
Velar
The active articulator is the tongue
body and the passive articulator is the
soft palate. English velars include [k],
[g], and [
glottal
This isn't strictly a place of articulation, but they had to
put it in the chart somewhere. Glottal sounds are made
in the larynx. For the glottal stop, the vocal cords close
momentarily and cut off all airflow through the vocal
tract. English uses the glottal stop in the interjection
uh-uh
(meaning 'no'). In [h], the vocal cords are
open, but close enough together that air
passing between them creates friction
noise.
Note:
[w] is often called a "labio-velar". This
doesn't follow the POA naming convention - it does not mean that the active articulator
is the lower lip and you try to touch your soft
palate with it! A [w] is made up of two
different approximants: a bilabial
approximant and a (dorso-)velar approximant
pronounced simultaneously
Consonant parameters (continued)
Manners of articulation (P.45-52)
Constriction degree
Place of articulation refers to where the narrowing occurs -which active articulator gets close to which passive articulator.
Constriction degree refers to how close they get. The main
constriction degrees are:
*Complete closure and sudden release(
plosive ) : the active articulator touches the passive articulator
and completely cuts off the airflow through the mouth.
Simultaneously there is a velic closure , that is the soft palate is
raised , thereby shutting off the nasal passage of air . When the
active articulator is suddenly remove from passive articulator ,
the air escapes with small explosive noise .
Sounds produced with complete closure
and sudden release are called plosive : [p],
[p], [t], [d] ,[k ] , [ g ] .
*Complete closure and slow release : (
affricates )
If after blocking the oral and the nasal passages
of air , the oral closure is removed slowly .
Sounds produced with complete closure
and slow release are called affricates
Chin and jam
*Complete oral closure : ( nasal )
the active articulator touches the passive
articulator and completely cuts off the
airflow through the mouth .But the soft
palate is lowered thereby opening the nasal
passage of air .The lung air will escape
through the nose freely . Sounds produced
with complete oral closure are called
Nasals .
Sum , sun , sung
* Intermittent closure ( trill , rolled)
the soft palate is raised , thereby
shutting off the nasal passage of air .
the active articulator strikes against the
passive articulator several times with the
result that the air escapes between the
active and the passive articulators
Intermittently .
Sounds that are produced with a stricture of
Intermittent closure are called trill or rolled .
red , ran
* Just once and then quickly flaps
forward .
For some consonants the active articulator
strikes against the passive articulator just
once and then quickly flaps forward .Such
consonants are called taps or flaps .
Very
* Close approximation (fricative )
the active articulator is brought so closer to
the passive articulator that there is a very
narrow gap between them . the soft palate is
raised , thereby shutting off the nasal passage
of air . the result that the air escapes through
the narrow space between the active and the
passive articulators .
Five , vine , thin , sip , zip , sheep and hat
•Partial closure : The active and the passive articulators
are in firm contact with each other . the soft palate is
raised , thereby shutting off the nasal passage of air . if
the sides of the tongue are lowered so that there is
plenty of gap between the sides of the tongue and the
upper molar teeth , the air will escape along the sides of
the tongue without friction .
Sounds produced with complete closure in the
center of the vocal tract but with the air escaping
along the sides of the tongue without any frication
are called lateral .
The initial sound in the word love is lateral .
Open approximation : the soft palate is raised ,
thereby shutting off the nasal passage of air . If
the active articulator is brought close to the
passive articulator so that there is a wide gap
between them , the air will escape through this
gap without any frication .
Sounds that are produced with a stricture
of open approximation
Are called frictionless continuants and semi –
vowels
fricative: the active articulator doesn't touch the passive
articulator, but gets close enough that the airflow through the
opening becomes turbulent. English fricatives include [f], [
], [z].
approximant: the active articulator approaches the passive
articulator, but doesn't even get close enough for the airflow to
become turbulent. English approximants include [j], [w],
[
]
]
, and [l].
affricate: Affricates can be seen as a sequence of a stop and a
fricative which have the same or similar places of articulation.
They are transcribed using the symbols for the stop and the
fricative. If one wants to emphasize the affricate as a "single"
sound, a tie symbol can be used to join the stop and the fricative
(sometimes the fricative is written as a superscript).
Notes:
A stop cuts off airflow through the mouth. Airflow through the
nose does not matter -- you can have both oral and nasal stops.
Oral stops are often called plosives, including in the IPA chart.
Nasal stops are usually just call ed nasals.
Approximants that are apical or laminal are often called liquids
(e.g.,
[
], [l]).
Approximants that correspond to vowels are
often called glides (e.g., [j] corresponds to
[i], [w] to [u]).
English has the
affricates
[t
] and [d ].
The stop and the fricative halves of these affricates are
at the same place of articulation: the stop is in fact
postalveolar rather than alveolar. We could be explicit
about this and underline the [t] and [d] (in IPA, a minus
sign under a symbol is a diacritic meaning "pronounced
further back in the mouth"), but most phoneticians
believe this difference in the place of articulation is so
predictable that it doesn't have to be marked.
State of the glottis
For now, we can simply use the terms
"voiced" and "voiceless" to answer the
question of what the vocal cords are doing:
In voiced sounds, the vocal cords are vibrating.
In voiceless sounds, the vocal cords are not
vibrating.
Ultimately, we will see there are different
ways of being voiced or voiceless.
The vocal cords can do a number of things. They can:
be held so wide apart that the air makes no sound
passing through them. (This is nice when you have to
breathe 24 hours a day, but not as useful for speaking.)
be held closer together, so that the air passing through
them becomes turbulent. This quality of sound is called
breathiness. It is what is happening in aspiration and in
the sound [h].
be held together so that the air passing through them
causes them to vibrate. This is called voicing.
be held together so tightly that no air can pass through
at all, as in a glottal stop.
(By varying their tension and position, the vocal cords can also
produce many other effects like breathy voicing, creaky voicing,
and falsetto.)
What the vocal cords are doing is independent of what the
higher parts of the vocal tract are doing. For any place of
articulation and any degree of stricture, you can get two different
sounds: voiced and voiceless.
For example, [t] and [d] are formed identically in the mouth; the difference
is that the vocal cords vibrate during a [d] but not during a [t]. (The obvious
exception is the glottal place of articulation -- you can't vibrate your vocal
cords while making a glottal stop.)
In each cell of the IPA chart, the symbol for the voiceless sound is shown
to the left and that for the voiced sound to the right. Some rows only have
voiced symbols (e.g., nasals and approximants). You can write the
corresponding voiceless sound using the voiceless diacritic (a circle under
Nasality
The soft palate can be lowered, allowing air
to flow out through the nose, or it can be
raised to block nasal airflow. As was the case
with the vocal cords, what the soft palate is
doing is independent the other articulators.
For almost any place of articulation, there
are pairs of stops that differ only in whether
the soft palate is raised, as in the oral stop
[d], or lowered, as in the nasal stop [n].
Laterality
When you form an [l], your tongue tip
touches your alveolar ridge (or maybe your
upper teeth) but it doesn't create a stop
because one or both sides of the tongue are
lowered so that air can flow out along the
side. Sounds like this with airflow along the
sides of the tongue are called lateral, all
others are called central (though we usually
just assume that
The side of the tongue can lower to different
degrees. It can lower so little that the air passing
through becomes turbulent (giving a lateral
fricative like
[
] or [ ])
or it can lower enough for there to be no
turbulence (a lateral approximant). The [l]
of English is a lateral approximant.
Air stream mechanism
Speech sounds need air to move. Most sounds
(including all the sounds of English) are created
by modifying a stream of air that is pushed
outward from the lungs. But it's possible for the
air to be set in motion in other ways.
Sounds which use one of the other three most
common airstream mechanisms are called
ejectives, implosives, and clicks. We'll discuss
these possibilities later in the course.
Describing consonant segments
A consonant sound can be described completely by specifying
each of the parameters for place and manner of articulation. For
example, [k] has the following properties:
active articulator
passive articulator
constriction degree
state of glottis
nasal
lateral
airstream mechanism
tongue body (dorsum)
soft palate (velum)
stop
voiceless
no
no
normal
So [k] is a voiceless oral central dorso-velar stop.
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