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The system of consonant phonemes. Problem of affricates

The system of vowel phonemes. Problems of diphthongs and vowel length

The system of consonant phonemes. Problem of affricates

Outline

The system of the English phonemes

Lecture 5

The phonological analysis of English consonant sounds helps to distinguish 24 phonemes: [p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ∫, ж(не нашла ничего лучше J), h, t∫, dж, m, n, ŋ, w, r, 1, j]. Principles of classification suggested by Russian phoneticians provide the basis for establishing of the following distinctive oppositions in the system of English consonants:

1. Degree of noise

bake - make, veal - wheel

2. Place of articulation

a. labial vs. lingual

pain cane

b. lingual vs. glottal

foam — home, care — hair, Tim - him

3. Manner of articulation

3.1 occlusive vs. constrictive pine -fine, bat - that, bee - thee

3.2 constrictive vs. affricates fare — chair, fail -jail

3.3 constrictive unicentral vs. constrictive bicentral

same – shame

4. Work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation

4.1 voiceless fortis vs. voiced lenis

pen Ben, ten - den, coat - goal

5. Position of the soft palate

5.1 oral vs. nasal

pit — pin, seek — seen

There are some problems of phonological character in the English consonantal system; it is the problem of affricates - their phonological status and their number. The question is: what kind of facts a phonological theory has to explain.

1) Are the English [t∫, dж]sounds monophonemic entities or biphonemic combinations (sequences, clusters)?

2) If they are monophonemic, how many phonemes of the same kind exist in English, or, in other words, can such clusters as [tr, dr] and [tθ, dð] be considered affricates?

To define it is not an easy matter. One thing is clear: these sounds are complexes because articulatory we can distinguish two elements. Considering phonemic duality of affricates, it is necessary to analyze the relation of affricates to other consonant phonemes to be able to define their status in the system.



Интернет реклама УБС

The problem of affricates is a point of considerable controversy among phoneticians. According to Russian specialists in English phonetics, there are two affricates in English: [t∫, dж]. D. Jones points out there are six of them: [t∫, dж], [ts, dz], and [tr, dr]. A.C. Gimson increases their number adding two more affricates: [tθ, tð]. Russian phoneticians look at English affricates through the eyes of a phoneme theory, according to which a phoneme has three aspects: articulatory, acoustic and functional, the latter being the most significant one. As to British phoneticians, their primary concern is the articulatory-acoustic unity of these complexes.

Before looking at these complexes from a functional point of view it is necessary to define their articulatory indivisibility.

According to N.S. Trubetzkoy's point of view a sound complex may be considered monophonemic if: a) its elements belong to the same syllable; b) it is produced by one articulatory effort; c) its duration should not exceed normal duration of elements. Let us apply these criteria to the sound complexes.

1. Syllabic indivisibility

butcher [but∫ -ə] lightship [lait-∫ip]

mattress [mætr-is] footrest [fut-rest]

curtsey [kз:-tsi] out-set [aut-set]

eighth [eitθ] whitethorn [wait-θo:n]

In the words in the left column the sounds [t∫], [tr], [ts], [tθ] belong to one syllable and cannot be divided into two elements by a syllable dividing line.

2. Articulatory indivisibility. Special instrumental analysis shows that all the sound complexes are homogeneous and produced by one articulatory effort.

3. Duration. With G.P. Torsuyev we could state that length of sounds depends on the position in the phonetic context, therefore it cannot serve a reliable basis in phonological analysis. He writes that the length of English [t∫] in the words chair and match is different; [t∫] in match is considerably longer than |t| in mat and may be even longer than [∫] in mash. This does not prove, however, that [t∫] is biphonemic.

According to morphological criterion a sound complex is considered to be monophonemic if a morpheme boundary cannot pass within it because it is generally assumed that a phoneme is morphologically indivisible. If we consider [t∫], [dж] from this point of view we could be secure to grant them a monophonemic status, since they are indispensable. As to [ts], [dz] and [tθ], [dð] complexes their last elements are separate morphemes [s], [z], [θ], [ð] so these elements are easily singled out by the native speaker in any kind of phonetic context. These complexes do not correspond to the phonological models of the English language and cannot exist in the system of phonemes. The case with [tr], [dr] complexes is still more difficult.

By way of conclusion we could say that the two approaches have been adopted towards this phenomenon are as follows: the finding that there are eight affricates in English [t∫], [dж], [tr], [dr], [ts], [dz], [tð], [dθ] is consistent with articulatory and acoustic point of view, because in this respect the entities are indivisible. This is the way the British phoneticians see the situation. On the other hand, Russian phoneticians are consistent in looking at the phenomenon from the morphological and the phonological point of view which allows them to define [t∫], [dж] as monophonemic units and [tr], [dr], [ts], [dz], [tð], [dθ] as biphonemic complexes. However, this point of view reveals the possibility of ignoring the articulatory and acoustic indivisibility.


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