Phonetics II

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					    Chapter 6: Phonetics

        Instructor: Yuda Lai
Department of Applied English Studies

•   Identity of speech sounds
•   Articulatory phonetics
•   Major Phonetic Classes
•   Phonetic symbols and spelling

• It is very difficult to segment a speech sound into
  individual parts if that is not a familiar language,
  e.g. the comics on p 221 and the phrases on p

• Yet, if you know a language, you have no
  difficulty segmenting the continuous sounds. It
  doesn‟t matter if the language is written or not or
  if the person perceiving the individual sounds
  can read or not.

•       The science of phonetics attempts to describe all the
        sounds used in human language –sounds that
        constitute a subset of the totality of sounds that
        humans can produce.

•       Three kinds of phonetics:
    –     Acoustic phonetics: the study of the physical properties of
          speech sounds, i.e., frequency, pitch, sound wave.
    –     Auditory phonetics: the study of the way listeners perceive
          speech sounds.
    –     Articulatory phonetics: the study of how the vocal tract
          produces the sounds of language.

 1. Identity of Speech Sounds
• Communication means that mental things
  in one brain (thoughts, semantics, syntax,
  morphology) are transferred through the
  physical world (by sound or light) to
  another brain.
  – Phonetics is the study of this physical part of
    language, specifically the study of speech
    sounds ("phone" = "sound").

 1. Identity of Speech Sounds
• Humans can ignore non-speech sounds, such
  as cough, laughter, etc and just “listen to”
  speech sounds.
• The speech sounds made by different genders
  or even different speakers have very different
  physical properties, e.g. fundamental frequency,
  formants, etc., and are registered differently on a
  spectrograph. However, humans who speak
  the same language can still understand each
  other, i.e., intelligibility.
  Acoustic Phonetics-Spectrograph

• Spectrograph of a two-second segment of speech, namely the
  phrase "I can see you." The dark areas show regions of strong
  intensity in the spectrum, such as FORMANTs and
Acoustic Phonetics-Spectrograph

 1. Identity of Speech Sounds
• This physical part of language is very hard
  for ordinary people to "hear": our brains
  are built to translate phonetics
  automatically into the mental structures of

    Auditory Phonetics-Categorical
• Categorical perception means that a change in some
  variable along a continuum is perceived, not as gradual
  but as instances of discrete categories. The test
  presented here is a classical demonstration of
  categorical perception for a certain type of speech-like
  stimuli. The stimuli in the experiment are synthetic
  syllables in which the second formant is varied in equal
  steps. Depending on the precise parameter values, the
  resulting sounds are perceived as `ba', `da' or 'ga'.
  Although the change is gradual, this is not the way it is
  perceived. Subjects regularly perceive the different
  stimuli as being instances of either of the three syllable
  types, `ba', `da' or `ga'.
Categorical Perception (cont.)

 1. Identity of Speech Sounds
• Thus ordinary writing systems
  “orthography”, like English spelling, don't
  really represent phonetics systematically:

Identity of Speech Sounds
– The symbols used in Pinyin and in 注音符號
  are also not true phonetic symbols. For
  example, both systems represent the vowels
  below with identical symbols. However, as
  your ears will tell you, the vowels are NOT
  phonetically the same!

Identity of Speech Sounds
– To describe real phonetics, linguists invented
  the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to
  represent sounds unambiguously to avoid the
  joke: fish can be spelled as ghoti.

  • IPA: a set of symbols to write all speech sounds
    found in all languages of the world (also see
  • You can access to this Web Page-- IPA Lab: the
    Interactive IPA Chart
  Identity of Speech Sounds
• See phonetic alphabet for English
  Pronunciation: Table 6.1 (p.225).
  – The IPA represents the real phonetic sounds
    of words:

  – Differences between IPA and US symbols:
    bottom, p 225

   Identity of Speech Sounds
• The KK (Kenyon and Knott) system used to
  teach English in Taiwan is based on the IPA, but
  there are some differences:

  – KK is not a truly phonetic writing system, since it also
    shows phonological (nonphysical, mental) patterns

  Identity of Speech Sounds
• The IPA can also be used for Mandarin:

• Some symbols in KK really represent two

Identity of Speech Sounds
– Several symbols in 注音符號 really represent
  two segments:

– But it's sometimes hard to decide how many
  segments there are:

   2. Articulatory phonetics
• Some jargons
  – Glottis: the opening between the vocal cords
  – Larynx: where the vocal cords are located
  – Pharynx: the tubular part of the throat above
    the larynx
  – Oral cavity: the mouth
  – Nasal cavity: the nose and the plumping that
    connects it to the throat, plus your sinuses
  – Vocal tract: all of the above together, Figure
    6.1 on p 227.
• Like a car, the vocal tract is a complex machine,
  and every part and every action has a name.
  – Larynx: The "voice box" contains vocal folds which
    can vibrate at different frequencies. The glottis is the
    opening between the vocal folds. Tone is produced
    by the larynx.
  – Nose: Nasal sounds are produced by lowering the
    velum to allow airflow through the nose. The inside
    shape of the nose can't be changed, though.
  – Mouth: Lips and tongue. When these move, they
    cause great changes in the oral cavity, which causes
    great changes in the sound that comes out.
         Airstream mechanisms:
        (Supplementary materials)
•    Pulmonic: airflow used in speech usually comes from the lungs,
     of course. All English sounds belong to this category.

However, sometimes airflow is produced other ways:
•   Glottalic egressive: the air is pushed out, instead of being
    sucked in, e.g., ejectives, made when air in the mouth is
    pressurized by an upward movement of the closed glottis, and
    then released suddenly, producing a sharp sound called ejective,
    found in many American Indian languages and African languages.

•    Glottalic ingressive: the air is sucked into the mouth, such as
     Xhosa and Zulu and the languages spoken by the Bushmen and
     Khoikhoi, implosives (drawing air from the mouth into the throat),
     which can be found in American Indians languages and African

•    Velaric ingressive: e.g. clicks (such as tsk), which can be found
     in the Southern Bantu languages.                                23
How speech sounds are described:
• Place of Articulation: the positions of one‟s
  „articulators‟ when pronouncing a
• Manner of Articulation: the way air stream
  is affected when it flows from the lungs up
  and out of the mouth and nose
• Voicing: whether the vocal vibrates (closed)
  or not (open)
           Place of articulation
•       Place of articulation: where the sound
        is made.
    –    Articulators: tongues and lips
    –    Movement of the articulators causes the
         restriction, reshaping the oral cavity in
         various ways to produce the various

Parts of the vocal tract (1)
                     (1) Bilabial: both
                     (2) Labio-dental :
                     with the lower lip
                     and upper teeth
                     (3) Interdental:
                     sounds pronounced
                     by putting the
                     tongue between the
                     (4) Alveolar:
                     tongue tip on
                     alveolar ridge

Parts of the vocal tract (2)
                      (5) (Alveo)Palatal:
                           tongue blade
                         near palate
                      (6) Velar: tongue
                         body near velum.
                      (7): Uvulars sounds
                         produced by
                         raising the back of
                         the tongue to the
                         uvula, e.g. [r] in
                         French is a uvular
                         trill, symbolized as
                         [R]. Arabic has two
                         uvular sounds
                         symbolized as [q]
                         and [G].
Parts of the vocal tract (3)
                    (8) Glottal: uses
                       the larynx only:
                       [h], [?] as in 晚
                       安 [uan21?an55]
                       / uh-oh
                    -- Summary of
                       the sounds:
                       see Table 6.2

      Manner of articulation
• Manner of articulation: how the sound is
  made. There are two major features:
  – voiced vs. voiceless sounds (p.229)
  – nasal vs. oral sounds

      Manner of articulation
• Voicing
  – Voiced = vocal cords vibrate: [b], [d], [g]
  – Voiceless = no vibration:      [p], [t], [k]

Manner of articulation- Aspiration

        Manner of articulation
• Nasal and Oral Sounds
   – Oral sounds: sounds produced with the velum up, blocking the
     air from escaping through the nose.
   – Nasal sounds: sounds produced with the velum down, and with
     air escaping through both the nose and the mouth. For example,
     both [b] and [m] are bilabial. They differ in that [b] is an oral
     sound and [m] a nasal sound.

       *The positions of the velum for [m] and [b]: Figure 6.3, p 231

• Consonants can be categorized into four classes in
  terms of the phonetic features discussed above: voicing,
  place of articulation, and oral/nasals (see summary in
  Table 6.3 on p.232).
         Classifying Consonants
• Stops: airflow through mouth is stopped
  (= complete closure, resulting in stoppage
  of the airflow)
  – Nasal Stops: airflow only through nose: [m],
    [n], [N]
  – Oral Stops (Plosives): airflow through mouth:
     •   Bilabial stops:
     •   Alveolar stops:
     •   Velar stops:
     •   Glottal stop:

Classifying Consonants

         Classifying Consonants
• Continuants: airflow through mouth not
  – Fricatives: airflow has friction (narrow opening, air
    forced through):
     •   Labiodental fricatives:
     •   Interdental fricatives:
     •   Alveolar fricatives:
     •   Palatal fricatives:
     •   Velar fricatives:
     •   Glottal fricatives:

*Except stops and affricates, other consonants are
  called continuants:                            35
        Classifying Consonants
• Affricates: closure followed by frication = stop +
• Approximants

* Retroflex vs. Flap vs. Trill
  > Flaps: the tongue briefly taps the ridge behind the
  teeth, as in the standard American pronunciation of "tt" in
  butter. (See Trill)
           Important notes!
– NOTE 1: sonorants = nasals, liquids, glides, vowels
  (they have a "smooth", less "noisy" sound)
    obstruents = the rest (plosives, fricatives, affricates)

 – Note 2: stridents = “noisier” fricatives and affricates.
    sibilants = stridents that are relatively higher in pitch
than others have hissing quality.

– NOTE 3: If you want to report the phonetic
  descriptions of each “sound”, follow the sequence:
  [ Voicing ] [Place ] [Aspiration ] [Manner]. E.g.,
  [ð] voiced interdental fricative

       Important notes!
– NOTE 4: See summary for American English
  Consonants in Table 6.4.

Exercise for Consonants

            Why bother???
• The patterning of sounds in languages
  generally depends on the "natural
  classes" of sounds defined by these
  articulatory labels.
  For example, in English, the plural suffix
  spelled "(e)s" is realized in three different
  ways, depending on the preceding sound.

                 Why bother???
• voiceless fricative [s] following another voiceless sound,
  e.g., p, t, k, f, θ. caps, hats, rocks, reefs, births.
• voiced fricative [z] following another voiced sound
  (including vowels), e.g., b, d, g, v, ð, m, n, ŋ, l, r, w, y
  tabs, rods, dogs, caves, lathes, drums, pins, songs, pills,
  cars, cows, eyes.
• voiced, but with a vowel inserted before it when it follows
  a "sibilant", i.e. an alveolar or palatal fricative or affricate,
  e.g., s, z, č, , š, ž, kisses, gazes, churches, judges,
  wishes, rouges.

the rule determining how you pronounce the plural suffix
 makes reference to the classes voiced, voiceless and
 sibilant, not to specific sounds like [b], [p] and [s]  42
How speech sounds are described:
•       Vowels: four kinds of phonetic
        properties: (p.237)
    –    Height
    –    Backness
    –    Roundness
    –    Tenseness

• In English, all back vowels except for [a]
  are rounded. But, in other languages,
  there are unrounded back vowels, e.g. the
  vowel in 四 (compare the vowel in 速).
iv Tenseness: how far the tongue body is
   from the "lazy center" of the mouth:

   Diphthong vs. monophthong

* Vowel chart: Fig. 6.5 (p.239) / & IPA vowel chart.
          Important notes!
• If you want to report the phonetic
  descriptions of the vowels, follow the rule:
[Height ] [Position ] [Tenseness] [Round ]
• Exercise for Vowels + Q 6 & 9

• In real speech, the articulators are all
  moving around at the same time, very
  quickly. Thus even IPA segments are not
  truly phonetic, since real speech shows
  coartication: articulations that overlap
  in time (e.g. the tongue moves to make a
  vowel while the lips are still producing a

For example,
• Nasalization of Vowels (p.239): vowels that are
  pronounced with a lowered velum that permits
  air to pass through the nasal passage, e.g. bean,
  bin, bane, ban, bun, etc.
  *Nasal vowels are marked with a diacritic mark
  [~] (tilde) on the top of the vowels.
  * Diacritic marks: they are used to show crucial
  differences between speech sounds.

  3. Major Classes (p.240-241)
• Features for Consonants

Major Classes

Major Classes

          Major Classes
• Features for Vowels

        Prosodic Features
• Segments are not the only part of
  phonetics. There are also phonetic
  properties "above" (bigger than) segments,
  called suprasegmentals (prosodic)
  (p.242): tone, stress, vowel length, and
  intonation. They are features over and
  above the segmental values such as
  voicing or place of articulation, thus the
  “supra” in suprasegmental.
        Prosodic Features
– Length: in some languages a longer vowel is
  considered a different vowel from the „normal‟
  „shorter‟ one, e.g. bi:ru „beer‟ vs. biru „building‟.
– Pitch: The pitch depends on how fast the
  vocal cords vibrate: the faster they vibrate, the
  higher the pitch.
– Stress is marked in IPA basically as in KK,
  putting stress on different examples can
  change the syntactic category of the word, e.g.
  „increase’, or make a word meaningless, e.g.
  „nephew‟ vs. *ne‟phew
                Prosodic Features
•       Tone languages: languages that use the pitch
        of individual vowels or syllables to contrast
        meanings of words are called tone languages,
        e.g. Mandarin, Hakka, South Min, Cantonese,
    –        Tone types:
         •     Contour tones: tones that glide
         •     Level/register tones: tones that do not glide.
    –        Tone functions:
         •     Lexical tone is pitch used to distinguish words.
         •     Grammatical tone is pitch used to mark grammatical
               functions such as tense, transitivity of the verb as in Edo
               sin Nigeria (see examples on p.244).
Lexical tone

          Grammatical Tone
• Grammatical tone is pitch used to mark
  grammatical functions such as tense, transitivity
  of the verb as in Edo sin Nigeria (see examples
  on p.244).

  * Downdrifting: A high tone that occurs after a
  low tone, or a low tone after a high tone, is lower
  in pitch than the preceding similarly marked tone.
  For example, in a sentence, the first high tone is
  given the pitch value 7, and the second high
  tone 6, which is lower than the first high tone
          Tone and Intonation
• Intonation languages: languages that use the pitch to
  contrast the meanings of sentences
   – Intonation is the changing pitch of a whole sentence. The way
     it interacts with syntax and pragmatics is complex!

  (1) a. Do you like to eat candy?    [rising intonation]
      b. What do you like to eat?     [falling intonation]
  [Does Mandarin have intonation????]

   – The pitch contour of the utterance varies, but in an intonation
     language as opposed to a tone language, pitch is not used to
     distinguish words from each other.

          4. Phonetic Symbols and
         Spelling Correspondences
•       Spelling originally was attempted to represent
        pronunciation. However, for two main reasons,
        spelling does not always correspond to pronunciation.
    –     First, the same alphabet was adopted by different languages
          which use different speech sounds and it is highly possible
          that the same sequence of alphabetic letters are used in
          different languages to represent different speech sounds, e.g.
          bleu „blue‟ in French and Deutsch in German.
    –     Secondly, pronunciation of a language changes along the
          time progresses. For example, English had a vowel shift that
          affected the tensed vowels, which can be observed in
          evolution vs. evolve.

    * See Table 6.6 on p. 246 for the sound/spelling correspondences
         for American English consonants and vowels.



Q9, Q11, Q12


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