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Classification of English Consonants

Major characteristics the particular quality of a consonant. Principles of classification of english consonants according to the type of obstruction, the manner of noise production, active organ of speech and to the position of the soft palate.

Рубрика: Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык: английский
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Contents

Introduction

1. The classification of English consonant sounds

2. Principles of Classification of English Consonants

2.1 According to the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production

2.2 According to the active organ of speech and the place of obstruction

2.3 According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of Articulation

2.4 According to the position of the soft palate

3. Rules

Coclusion

Literature

Introduction

Humans produce sounds by pushing air from the lungs through the oral cavity. If there is an obstruction, complete or partial, in the mouth, the sound is called a consonant. We classify the consonants by 1) where the obstruction occurs, 2) the degree of closure produced by the obstruction, 3) whether the nasal passages are open or closed, 4) the contrast between voicing and nonvoicing, and 5) other factors. What follows is a detailed description of the consonant system of Esperanto. In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a sound in spoken language that is characterized by complete or partial closure of the upper vocal tract, the upper vocal tract being defined as that part of the vocal tract that lies above the larynx.

The word consonant comes from Latin and means "sounding with" or "sounding together," the idea being that consonants don't sound on their own, but occur only with a nearby vowel, which is the case in Latin. However, this conception is not adequate, since in languages such as Nuxalk, consonants may occur without any vowels.

Since the number of consonants in the world's languages is much greater than the number of consonant letters in any one alphabet, linguists have devised systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to assign a unique symbol to each possible consonant. In fact, the Latin alphabet, which is used to write English, has fewer consonant letters than English has consonant sounds, so some letters represent more than one consonant, and digraphs like "sh" and "th" are used to represent some sounds. Many speakers aren't even aware that the "th" sound in "this" is a different consonant from the "th" sound in "thing". (In the IPA they're [?] and [и], respectively.)

1. The classification of English consonant sounds

There are two major classes of sounds traditionally distinguished by phoneticians in any language. They are termed consonants and vowels. The distinction is based mainly on auditory effect. Consonants are known to have voice and noise combined, while vowels are sounds consisting of voice only. From the articulatory point of view the difference is due to the work of speech organs. In case of vowels no obstruction is made. In case of consonants various obstructions are made. So consonants are characterized by so-called close articulation that is by a complete, partial or intermittent blockage of the air-passage by an organ or organs. The closure is formed in such a way that the air-stream is blocked or hindered or otherwise gives rise to audible friction. As a result consonants are sounds which have noise as their indispensable and most defining characteristic. On the articulatory level each consonant may be identified by stating two general facts about it:

1) What sort of articulatory posture it is formed by; 2) whereabouts in the mouth (or pharynx) it is produced.

Besides these major characteristics the particular quality of a consonant may depend on a lot of other factors that is by what articulatory organ (or organs) an obstruction is made, how vocal cords work at the moment of production, what cavity is used as a resonator what is the force of articulatory effect and many others. According to V.A.Vassilyev primary importance should be given to the type of obstruction and the manner of production of noise. On this ground he distinguishes two large classes of consonants:

a) Occlusive, in the production of which a complete obstruction is formed; b) constrictive, in the production of which an incomplete obstruction is formed. The phonological relevance of this feature could be exampled in the following oppositions:

[ti:] - [si:] - tea - sea (occlusive - constructive) [si:d] - [si:z] - seed - seas (occlusive - constructive) [pul] - [ful] - pull - full (occlusive - constructive) [bзut] - [vзut] - boat - vote (occlusive - constructive) Each of two classes is subdivided into noise consonants and sonorants. The division is based on the factor of prevailing either noise or tone component in the auditory characteristic of a sound. In their turn noise consonants are divided into plosive consonants (or stops) and affricates.

Another point of is that the first and basic principle of classification should be the degree noise. Such consideration leads to dividing English consonants into two general kinds: A - noise consonants, B - sonorants in production of sonorants 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 - [r], [j], [w], for example. They are also characterized by sharply defined formant structure and the total energy of most of them is very high. The phonological relevance of the degree of noise could be proved by the following oppositions:

[beik] -- [meik] bake -- make (noise consonant -- sonorant) [vi:l] - [wi:l] veal -- wheel (noise consonant -- sonorant) The place of articulation is determined by the active organ of speech against the point of articulation. According to this principle the English consonants are classed into:

1)labial, 2)lingual, 3)glottal.

Labials are consonants articulated either with both lips (bilabial articulation) or with the lower lip and the upper teeth (labiodental articulation). English [m] is a bilabial nasal sonorant, [b] and [p] are bilabial stops (plosives), [v] and [f] are labiodental fricatives.

Bilabial fricatives and the bilabial approximant do not exist in Standard English, but do occur in many languages. For example, the Spanish consonant spelt b or v is pronounced as a voiced bilabial approximant between vowels.

Lip rounding, or labialization can also accompany other articulations. English /w/ is a labialized velar approximant.

The class of labial consonants is subdivided into: a) bilabial; b) labio-dental; and among the class of lingual consonants three subclasses are distinguished; they are: a) forelingual, b) mediolngual and c) backlingual. Very few languages, however, make a distinction on purely this basis. One example is Ewe, with both kinds of fricatives. For by far the most other languages in the world, labial by itself is a sufficient phonemic specification. Whether the sounds will actually be bilabial or labiodental depends on the language, but the most common pattern is that exhibited in English: bilabial stops and nasals, labiodental fricatives.

[wai] - [lai] why -- lie (bilabial -- forelingual) [weil] - [jeil] weil -- Yale (bilabial - mediolingual) [pik] - [kik] pick -- kick (bilabial - backlingual) [les] -- [jes] less -- yes (forelingual-- mediolingual) [dei] -- [gei] day -- gay (forelingual -- backlingual) [sai] - [hai] sigh -- high (forelingual -- glottal) [fi:t] - [si:t] feet -- seat (labio-dental -- forelingual) Another sound property is voiced -- voiceless characteristic which depends on the work of the vocal cords. [p, b], [t, d], [k, g], [s, z], [f, v]. All voiced consonants are weak (lenis) and all voiceless consonants are strong. Thus it may be said that the oppositions [p -- b], [t -- d], [k -- g], [f -- v], [s -- z], [f -- 3], [tf -- dj] are primarily based on energy difference, that is on fortis -- lenis articulation, which are their phonologically relevant features. It is for this reason that such characteristics as voiceless -- voiced have given place to "fortis" -- "lenis" terms. There is one more articulatory characteristic which is usually included into the set of principles on the basis of which the English consonants are classified that is the position of the soft palate. According to this principle consonants can be oral and nasal. There are relatively few consonantal types in English which require the lowered position of the soft palate. They are the nasal occlusive sonorants [m], [n]. They differ from oral plosives in that the soft palate is lowered allowing the escape of air into the nasal cavity.

2. Principles of Classification of English Consonants

The particular quality of a consonant depends on the work of the vocal cords, the position of the soft palate and the kind of noise that results when the tongue or the lips obstruct the airflow.

Linguists distinguish two types of articulatory obstruction that are formed when pronouncing consonants: complete and incomplete.

A complete obstruction is formed when organs of speech come into contact with each other and the air-passage is blocked.

An incomplete obstruction is formed when articulating organs (articulators) are held so close to a point of articulation as to narrow, or constrict, the air-passage without blocking it.

There are all in all 24 consonants in the English language and they are usually classified according to the following four principles:

I. According to the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production.

II. According to the active organ of speech and the place of obstruction.

III. According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation.

IV. According to the position of the soft palate.

2.1 According to the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production

a) According to the type of obstruction, all English consonants are divided into occlusive and constrictive.

Occlusive consonants are produced with a complete obstruction formed by the articulating organs, when the airflow is blocked in the mouth cavity.

Constrictive consonants are produced with an incomplete or restricted obstruction that is by a narrowing of the airflow.

Occlusive consonants may be: (1) noise and (2) sonorants.

In the production of occlusive sonorants organs of speech form a complete obstruction in the mouth cavity, which is not released. The soft palate is lowered and the air escapes through the nasal cavity. In occlusive sonorants tone prevails over noise.

b) According to the manner of noise production, occlusive noise consonants are divided into plosive consonants (or stops) and affricates.

In the production of occlusive plosives (or stops) active organs of speech form a complete obstruction to the airflow, which is then released with a plosion.

In the English language voiceless occlusive plosives [p, t, k] are aspirated, with the exception of the case when they are preceded by [s], like in clusters [sp, st, sk].

In Russian occlusive plosives are: [p],[p'],[t],[t'],[k],[k'],[b],[b'],[d],[d'],[g],[g']. In Romanian occlusive plosives are: [p, b, t, d, k', k' g', g'].

In the production of occlusive affricates active organs of speech form a complete obstruction, which is then released so slowly that a considerable friction takes place at the point of articulation.

In Russian occlusive affricates are: [C'] and [ts], while in Romanian occlusive affricates are: [C], [G] and [ts].

Constrictive consonants may also be: (1) noise and (2) sonorants.

In the production of noise constrictives active organs of speech form an incomplete or restricted obstruction.In the production of constrictive sonorants the air-passage is fairly wide, so that the air passing through the mouth does not produce audible friction and tone prevails over noise.

b) According to the manner of noise production, constrictive sonorant consonants are divided into lateral consonants and media.

In the production of median sonorants the air escapes without audible friction over the central part of the tongue, the sides of the tongue being raised.

In English median constrictive sonorants are: [w, r, j].

In the production of lateral sonorants the tongue is pressed against the alveolar ridge or the teeth, and the sides of the tongue are lowered, leaving the air-passage flow along them.

In English lateral constrictive sonorants are: [l', l]; in Russian - [l', l]; and in Romanian - [l].

2.2 According to the active organ of speech and the place of obstruction

According to the active organ of speech, English consonants are divided into three groups: labial, lingual and glottal.

1. Labial consonants are articulated with one or both lips and, therefore, may be (A) bilabial and (B) labio-dental.

Bilabial consonants are articulated with both lips, upper and lower. The English bilabial consonants are: [m, p, b]; the Russian bilabial consonants are: [m, m', p, p', b', b]; the Romanian bilabial consonants are: [ m, p, b ].

(B) Labio-dental consonants are articulated with the lower lip against the upper teeth. The English labio-dental consonants are [f], [v], the Russian labio-dental consonants are [f ', f, v', v], and the Romanian labio-dental consonants are: [f, v].

2. Lingual consonants are articulated with the tongue and may be (A) forelingual, (B) mediolingual, and (C) backlingual.

Forelingual consonants are articulated with the tip or the blade of the tongue, they may fall into two subgroups: a) apical and b) cacuminal.

Apical consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against either the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge. The English apical consonants are: [T], [D], [t], [d], [I], [n], [s], [z], the Russian and the Romanian [ t, d, n, l, s, z ].

Cacuminal consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue raised against the back part of the alveolar ridge. The front of the tongue is lowered in a 'spoon-shaped' form; the English [r].

Note. The Russian [t', t, d', d, n', n, s', s, z', z] are dorsal, i. e. they are articulated by the blade of the tongue against either the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge, the tip being passive and lowered.

(B) Mediolingual consonants are articulated with the front of the tongue against the hard palate. For English, Russian and Romanian the mediolingual consonant is [j].

(C) Backlingual consonants are articulated by the back of the tongue against the soft palate. The English backlingual consonants are: [k], [g], [N], the Russian - [k], [k'], [g], [g'], [h], [h'], and the Romanian - [[k'], [k], [g'], [g].

b) According to the place of obstruction, English consonants are divided into (1) dental (interdental or post-dental), (2) alveolar, (3) palato-alveolar, (4) post-alveolar, (5) palatal, and (6) velar.

Dental consonants are articulated against the upper teeth either with the tip or with the blade of the tongue. The English [T], [D], the Russian [l], [1'], or with the blade of the tongue, the Russian [t], [t'].

Alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge: such English consonants as [t], [d], [n], [l], [s], [z], such Russian consonants as [r], [r'], and Romanian - [t, d, s, z, l, n, r, ts].

(3) Palato-alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip and blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge or the back part of the alveolar ridge, while the front of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate: the English [S], [Z], [C], [G], the Russian [S], [S':], [Z], [Z':], and the Romanian [ Z, S ] .

Post-alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against the back part of the alveolar ridge: the English [r].

Palatal consonants are articulated by the front of the tongue being raised in the direction of the hard palate: the English, Russian and Romanian [j].

Velar consonants are articulated by the back or root of the tongue raised in the direction of the velum, or against the uvula; the English [k, g, N], the Russian and the Romanian [k', k, g', g].

The correspondence between the active organ of speech and the place of obstruction for the English forelingual consonants see in Table 4.2 given below.

Active organ of speech vs. place of obstruction

Active org./ place of obstruction

Forelingual

Mediolingual

Backlingual

Dental/Interdental

D, T

Alveolar

t, d, n, l, s, z

Alveolar-palatal

C, G, S, Z

Post-alveolar

r

Palatal

j

Velar

k, g, N

2.3 According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation

According to the work of the vocal cords, consonants are divided into voiced and voiceless.

b) According to the force of articulation, consonants are divided into fortis (or relatively strong), and lenis (or relatively weak).

All English voiced consonants are lenis (relatively weak). The following English consonants are voiced and lenis: [b], [d], [g], [G], [v], [D], [z], [Z], [m], [n], [N], [w], [I], [r], [j]. consonant

All English voiceless consonants are fortis (relatively strong). They are pronounced with greater muscular tension and a stronger breath force than the voiced ones. The English voiceless consonants are: [p, t, k, f, T, s, C, S, h].

2.4 According to the position of the soft palate

According to the position of the soft palate, all English consonants are divided into two groups: nasal and sonorants.

Nasal consonants are produced when the soft palate is lowered down and the air-passage goes through the nasal cavity, and the access to the mouth cavity is blocked.

The English nasal consonants are [m], [n], [N]. The Russian - [m], [m'], [n], [n'], and the Romanian - [m], [n].

Oral consonants are produced when the soft palate is raised up and the air passage goes through the mouth cavity, and the access to the nasal cavity is blocked.

The following English consonants are oral [p], [b], [t], [d], [k], [g], [f], [v], [T], [D ], [s], [z], [S], [Z ], [h], [C], [G], [w], [I], [r], [j].

3. Rules

Rule 1. The “s /es" ending of nouns and verbs

After a voiceless consonant - [s] After a voiced consonant or vowel - [z] After "s", "z" or after "x", "ch" /tch", "ge /dge", "sh" - [iz]

[s]

[z]

[iz]

parks, streets, lamps, cuffs, cloths

pegs, kids, ribs, leaves, clothes, girls, rooms, tons, chairs, pies, cows, toes, boys, buddies

classes, roses, quizzes, prizes, boxes, matches, oranges, bridges, dishes, garages

(he) jumps, lacks, sits, puffs

(he) robs, lags, reads, saves, falls, plans, hums, refers, ties, goes, plays, studies

(he) kisses, releases, loses, rises, quizzes, relaxes, catches, judges, flashes, rouges

Mike's, Jeff's, Pat's

Ben's, Fred's, Annie's

Chris's, Liz's, Max's

Rule 2. The "ed" ending of verbs

After a voiceless consonant - [t] After a voiced consonant or vowel - [d] After "t" or "d" - [id]

[t]

[d]

[id]

stopped, looked, laughed, passed, hatched, flashed

robbed, lagged, saved, seized,

called, learned, boomed, occurred, bathed, judged, played, toed, studied

wanted, started, hated, counted, needed, added,folded

Rule 3. Consonant combinations

Letters

Sound

Examples

sh (ch, ti, ci, si)

[sh]

she, shoe, fish, machine, chef, nation, patient, special, pension

su, si

[zh]

usual, measure, vision, Asia

ch, tch, tu

[ch]

check, lunch, kitchen, picture

j, g, dge

[j]

just, joke, geology, large, bridge

ck, ch

[k]

black, pocket, mechanic, Chris

wh

[w], [h]

what, when, why, where, white, who, whom, whole

wr, rh

[r]

write, wrong, rhythm

sc

[s], [sk]

science, scent, scissors, scene, scan, scare, scandal, Scotch

sch

[sk]

school, scholar, schedule

ph, gh

[f]

phone, graphic, laugh, enough

qu

[kw], [k]

quick, equal, question, quiet, unique, technique

gu

[g], gw]

guide, guess, guard, guitar, language, linguistics

kn, gn, pn

[n]

knife, know, gnome, sign, pneumonia, pneumatic

mb, lm

[m]

climb, bomb, calm, salmon

bt, pt

[t]

doubt, debt, receipt, pterodacty

ps

[s]

psychologist, psychiatrist

ft

[f]

often, soften

st

[s]

castle, fasten, hasten, hustle

x, xh

[ks], gz]

explain, expect, exercise, fix, relax, example, exist, exhibit, exhaust

NOTE1. The letter "c" The letter "c" is [s]Before "e": celebrate, center, certainlyBefore "i": cigarette, civil, circus Before "y": cycle, cylinder, Cyprus The letter "c" is [k]: Before "a": cat, cabin, cake, call, care, carry Before "o": cord, come, cost, incomplete, account, acousticBefore "u": cut, custom, cute, current, curious, cucumberBefore consonants: clean, cloud, credit, crystal The same rule with "sc": [s]: scent, science, scythe[sk]: scan, scare, scorch, Scotch, scuba The same rule with "cc": [ks]: accent, accept, accelerate, eccentric, accident

[k]: accommodate, account, accuse, occur, acclaim

The letter "c" is always [k] in the suffix "ic": [k]: panic, traffic, economic, systematicThe letter "c" is always [s] in the suffix "ice":[s]: notice, practice, service

2. The combination "ch" The combination "ch" is [ch] in typically English words: [ch]: chess, cheese, chair, chase, charm, chief, child, achieve, beach, roach, which

The combination "ch" is [k] in the words of Greek or Latin origin: [k]: chemistry, chaos, charisma, chlorine, Christian, archeology, archive, mechanic, school, scholar The combination "ch" is [sh] (as in "she") in the words of French origin: [sh]: champagne, chandelier, charlatan, chef, chevron, chic, chiffon, cache, machine

3. The letter "g" can be [j] as in "just" or [g] as in "go"The letter “g” is [g]: Before “a”: game, gate, Gary, gaunt Before “o”: go, goal, gold, goodBefore “u”: gull, gum, gush, gust, gut, argueBefore consonants: glare, global, glow, glean, grand, grim, grip, grossThe letter "g" before "e" can be:[j]: gentle, gender, gene, general, geology, gesture, gel, German, change, marriage[g]: get, geyser, gear The letter "g" before "i" can be:[j]: giant, gigantic, gin, gist, gigolo, giraffe

[g]: give, gimmick, girl, girdle, giggle, gilded, begin The letter "g" before "y" is [j]: [j]: gypsy, Egypt, gyro, energy

4. The combination "gh" "gh" at the beginning of the word is always [g]:[g]: ghost, ghastly, Ghana, ghetto, ghoul"gh" at the end of the word can be [f]: [f]: enough, rough, tough, laugh"gh" can be silent: though [thou], through [thru:], bough [bau], weigh [wei], neighbor

"gh" before "t" is usually silent: bought [bo: t], caught [ko: t], night [nait], height [hait], straight [streit], drought [draut], daughter"gh" as [f] before "t": draught, laughter

5. The combination "gu" The combination "gu" is [g] in most English words:[g]: guard, guardian, guarantee, guess, guest, guide, guilt, guitarThe combination "gu" is [gw] in the words of Latin and Spanish origin:[gw]: language, lingua, linguistics, guava, Guatemala, Nicaragua

Conclusion

All sounds are divided into three major categories: vowels, consonants and glides. A consonant is a speech sound while pronouncing which the organs of speech forms a restricted obstruction or no obstruction to the airflow.

Most consonants are articulated with greater constriction, usually creating more acoustic noise than vowels.

In the English language there are 24 consonants and they are classified according to 4 principles.

I. According to the type of obstruction and the manner of noise production.

II. According to the active organ of speech and the place of obstruction.

III. According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation.

IV. According to the position of the soft palate.

They are usually classified by the manner of articulation, place of articulation and voicing.

Consonants may be voiced and voiceless, and oral or nasal. They are produced at various places of articulation: labial, dental, alveolar, alvelarpalatal, palatal, velar, and glottal. At the place of articulation, the airstream is modified by different manners of articulation and the resulting sounds are plosives, fricatives, median, lateral or affricates.

Literature

1. Зиндер Л.Р. Общая фонетика /Л.Р. Зиндер. - М., 1979. - 312 c.. Леонтьева С.Ф. Теоретическая фонетика современного английского языка (на англ. яз.) /С.Ф. Леонтьева.- М., 2002. - 336 с.

2. Соколова М.А. Практическая фонетика английского языка /М.А. Соколова. - М.: Гуманит. изд. центр ВЛАДОС, 1997. - 384 с.

3. O'Connor L.D. Phonetics /L.D. O'Connor. Penguin, 1977.

4. Sokolova M.A. English Phonetics. A theoretical course /M.A. Sokolova. M., 1996. - 286 p.

5. Vassiliev V.A. English Phonetics: A theoretical Course /V.A. Vassilyev. M., 1980. - 323 p.

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