LECTURE 7 Syllabification

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LECTURE 7 Syllabification Powered By Docstoc
  Syllabification depends not on
mere force, but on discontinuity of
      Strong and weak syllables
   What is meant by ´strong´ and ´weak´?
   Phonetic characteristics of a weak syllable:
    vowel is shorter, of lower intensity and
    different in quality, e.g. /´fa:ðə/, /b‫פּ‬tl/
   The 2nd syllable in /´fa:ðə/ is weak,
    shorter than the 1st, less loud,with the
    vowel that cannot occur in strong syllables
   The 2nd syllable in /b‫פּ‬tl/ is weak, contains
    no vowel at all, consists only of syllabic
    consonant /l/.
   Stress is important in deciding whether a
    syllable is weak or strong: strong syllables
    – stressed, weak - unstressed
   Elision is a closely related subject (police)
   The difference is also important when
    considering intonation
   But, what we know so far : strong syllables have
    as its peak one of the vowel phonemes / a
    triphthong, but not /ə,ı,υ/
   If the vowel is short, there will always be a coda
   Weak syllables can have one of a small number
    of possible peaks. At the end of a word, there
    may be a weak syllable ending in a vowel (no
    coda or with coda):
-   the schwa vowel (e.g. /´betə/, /´əυpən/)
-   A close front unrounded vowel /i:/ or / ı / (e.g.
-   A close back rounded vowel /u:/ or / υ / (e.g.
             Inside the word

   The vowels mentioned can act as peaks
    without a coda in weak syllables:
-   e.g. /´fəυtəgra:f/
-        /´a:kıtekt/
                  The /ə/ vowel
   Always associated with weak syllables
   Quality: mid, central, lax
   Spelt as: - ´a´ (attend) – strong pron. /æ/
               - ´ar´(particular) – strong /a:/
               - ´ate´(intimate) – except ´private´
               - ´o´(potato)
               - ´or´(forget)
               - ´e´(violet)
               - ´er´(perhaps)
               - ´u´(support)
               - ´ough´(thorough)
               - ´ou´(gracious)
     Close front & close back vowels
   In strong syllables long and short vowels are
    easily distinguished, but in weak .. ???
   They are longer if they precede another vowel,
    less so if they precede a cons. or pause
   No possibility of phonemic cotrasts between
    long and short in these contexts; thus, the two
    distinctions which exist within strong syllables
    are neutralised in weak syllables of BBC/RP
    It is possible to symbolise the weak vowel by
    omitting the length mark
    Where are these vowels found?
   Word-final position: ´happy´
   Morpheme-final position: ´happier´
   Prefix ´re´,´pre´,´de´ + vowel: ´react´
   Suffix ´iate´,´ious´ when two-syllabic:
    ´appreciate´, ´hilarious´
   In ´he´,´she´,´we´,´me´,´be´ when
    unstressed, and in ´the´ preceding a vowel
   Otherwise, it is closer to and transcribed
           Syllabic consonants
   A syllabic consonant is a consonant
    which either forms a syllable of its own, or
    is the nucleus of a syllable. The diacritic
    for this in the International Phonetic
    Alphabet is the under-stroke, / ̩ /.
   A liquid /l,r/ or a nasal /m,n/ stands as the
    peak of a syllable instead of a vowel
                    Syllabic /l/
   Occurs after another consonant, usually
    alveolar (e.g. bottle, tunnel, muddle)
   There is a lateral release after the sides of the
    tongue are lowered to allow air to escape
   Where is it found in BBC accent?
-   One or more cons. + ´le´ (cattle, wrestle)
-   One or more cons. + ´al´, ´el´(panel, pedal)
                        Syllabic /n/
   A syllable: plosive + fricative + /ən/ are common in initial
    position only (canary)
   In final and medial positions → syllabic /n/ (threaten,
   In case /t,d/ + /n/ - plosive nasally released
   In case /l,t∫,dζ/ + /n/ - there is /ə/ in between (sullen)
   In case bilabial + /n/ - both acceptable (happen, ribbon)
   In case velar + /n/ - both acceptable (waken)
   In case /f,v/ + /n/ - syllabic /n/ more common than /ən/ except
    initially (often, seven)
   In case nasal + plosive+/n/ - normally /ə/ will be found in the
    last syllable (London, Camden,abandon)
                 Syllabic /m,ŋ/
   Due to processes such as assimilation and
    elision (happen, uppermost) both acceptable

   Syllabic velar nasal /ŋ/: thicken, but both are
    possible; ´broken key´- syllabic velar possible
    between two velar /k/, but /ən/ or /n/ are
    also welcome
                 Syllabic /r/
   Common in rhotic accents, e.g. American
    pronunciation of ´particular´
   Less common in the BBC accent, can be
    substituted by pronunciations without it
   A few minimal pairs:
              ´Hungary´and ´hungry´
   Still, there are no cases where it could not
    be substituted by non-syllabic /r/ or /ər/
    Combinations of syllabic cons.
   Not unusual to find two syllabic cons.
    together: national, literal, veteran,
   Usually a matter of arbitrary choice in

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