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LECTURE UNSTRESSED VOCALISM

Brainstorming questions

 


1Can you name three ways of

The English vowels occurring in unstressed syllables form a definite system. They may be pronounced in three different ways:

(1)A vowel of full formation may be used in an unstressed syllable;

(2)A semi-weak vowel may be used in an unstressed syllable;

(3)An unstressed vowel may undergo different types of reduction.

The English language is characterized by a specific way of uttering unstressed syllables which is not typical of Russian. Practically any vowel of full formation may be used in unstressed. syllables, as in the case of:

/ ni:s - 'grænnit:s / (niece - grand-niece);

/ fit - 'benifit/ (fit - benefit);

/ sekt - 'insekt / (sect - insect);

/ græm - ' kilәgræm / (gramme - kilogramme);

/a:t - as'tistik / (art - artistic);

/ pot - 'ti:pt/ (pot - teapot);

/ b:d - 'b1æb:d / (board - blackboard);

/ ful - 'spu:nful / (full - spoonful);

/ kju: - kju:teinjәs / (queue - cutaneous);

/ naun - 'prounaun / (noun - pronoun);

/ fould - 'siksfould / (fold - sixfold); etc.

Such vowels of full formation are used in all styles of pronunciation. Their substitution by a reduced vowel is incorrect.

A semi-weak vowel may be used in an unstressed syllable as well.

I.Ward defines a semi-weak vowel as "a vowel that lies in an intermediate position between the strong vowels and the neutral ә ". [3]) She gives / / as an example for it, as in:

/ ou'bei - obei - әbei / (obey);

/ nouvembә- no'vembә- nә'vembә / (November);

/ proutest - pro'test prәtest / (protest).

The unstressed vowels in the first column are of full formation; in the second the vowels are semi-weak; in the third are reduced to the neutral vowel /ә/.

I.Ward's definition of a semi-weak vowel seems to be incomplete. Prof.V.A.Vassilyev's definition of a semi-weak vowel runs as follows: " ... a semi-weak vowel may, therefore, be defined as a partially reduced vowel which is used in a more careful style of pronunciation instead of the neutral vowel used in the rapid colloquial style and instead of the corresponding vowel of full formation used in the full style". ^

G.P.Toreuyev regards semi-weak vowels as products of partial reduction. Here are some more examples of semi-weak vowels:

/ ou'mi∫әn - o'mi∫n - әmi∫n / (omission)

/ 'inouveit - 'inoveit - 'inәveit / (innovate);

/ interou'gei∫әn - lntero'gei∫n interә'gel∫n / (interrogation)

/ voukælik - vo'kælik vәkælik / (vocalic);

/ mein'tein - mentein mәn'tein / (maintain);

/ (hmoud|i:njәs - (hmo'di:njәs hmә'di:mjәs/ (homogeneous); etc.

A vowel in an unstressed syllable is most commonly reduced. Vowel reduction is a characteristic feature of English, Russian and some other languages. A vowel in an unstressed syllable becomes shorter, weaker and less distinct.

There are three degrees of reduction in English:

quantitative,

qualitative, and

zero.

In quantitative reduction it is the length of a vowel which is reduced, as in:

 

Strong forms Quantitatively reduced forms

Were

Your

Me

For

to
In qualitative reduction the quality of a sound is changed, as in the following:

Strong forms Qualitatively reduced forms

Were

Me

For

To

And

Them

Zero reduction consists in dropping out a vowel or a consonant, as in the case of:

Strong forms Reduced forms with zero reduction

Shall

Am

Him

And

From

would

Reduction la one of the phonetic changes taking place inthe historical development of a language.

The moat important role in the system of unstressedvocalism in English is played by the neutral vowel phoneme / ә /, which has a number of allophones.

Vowels in stressed position usually alternate with vowels in unstressed position. Such alternation between stressed and un-streesed vowels is called vowel gradation. There are several types of vowel gradation in English. They are:

(1)Any English vowel of full formation in a stressed position may alternate with the neutral vowel:

/ 3i: - / (-;he);

/ - 6am / (them);

/ aend ■ . / (and);

I J1rd " Jad/ sho..ld);

/ - a'pon / up - upon);

/ tui - ta / ( o)i

/ "prougres - iiri'gieslv / tpvogreae - prcisseiv>.);

/ ta'woid - "fo wad / (toward - forward), etc.

(2)The stressed /is/ alternates with the unstressed /i/i

/ ripiit - ^epi'tijn / (repeat - repetition)!

/ kam'pitt - jk.impi'tijn / (compete - competition)j

/ is'titm "essimabl / (esteem - estimable)} etc.

(3)The stressed // alternates with the unstressed /1/t

/ ik'sel - 'eke slant / (excel - excellent))

/ ri'visl - reviieijn / (reveal - revelation)}

/ invelap - enviloup / (envelop - envelope)}

/ pripa - ^rops'reijn / (prepare - preparation))

/ ri'sait - ^eui'teijn / (recite - recitation);

/ dl'faln - 'definit / (define - definite); etc.

(4) The stressed /ei/ sometimes alternates with the unstressed /i/:

/ 1 -'fraidl / (cay - ?riday);

/ del - 'halsdi / (t.ay - holiday);

/ del - 'wenzdi / (day - Wednesday); etc.

Though the neutral vowel sound is short and indistinct it is capable of forming minimal pairs thus differentia'.in^ one word from another. The most ommon opposition is / ә - i /, though ./ә - ou / is also possible. For instance:

/ 'houlә - 'houli / (holer - holey);

/ әk'sept - iksept / (accept - ex pt);

/ sli:pә - 'slis:pi / (sleeper - sleepy);

/ "a:mә - ':mi / (armour - army);

/ 'smoukә - 'smouki / (smoker - smoky);

/ 'ofisәz - 'fisiz / (officers - offices);

/ ' dri:mә - dri:mi / (dreamer - dreamy);

/ ' tempә - 'tempou / (temper - tempo);

/ 'soulә - 'soulou / (solar - solo);

/ 'a:t∫әz - "a:t∫iz / (archers - arches);

/ 'ti:t∫әz - ' t:t∫iz / (teachers - teaches);

/ 1 bent∫әz - 'bent∫iz / (benchers - benches);

/ vәkei∫n voukei∫n / (vacation - vocation);

/ ә'fekt - f'fekt / {affect - effect); etc.

 

 


:

  1. A MOST UNUSUAL COLLEGE: NO TEXTBOOKS AND NO LECTURES
  2. Act as a teacher in class, using the material from the lectures above.
  3. BASIC NOTIONS OF THE LECTURE.
  4. BASIC NOTIONS OF THE LECTURE.
  5. Changes of Unstressed Vowels in Early Old English
  6. LECTURE 1. Contrastive Stylistic as a Linguistic Discipline
  7. Lecture 11
  8. Lecture 12. Evolution of the ME Lexical System.
  9. LECTURE 13
  10. Lecture 14. Evolution of the ME Nominal Morphology.
  11. Lecture 16
  12. Lecture 16




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Syllables(syllobographs) | THE PHONETIC STRUCTURE OP THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

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