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III. Manner of noise production and the type of obstruction


Within this principle of consonant classification there are the following subdivisions according to:

(1) voice or noise prevalence,

(2) number of noise producing foci [`fousai],

(3) shape of the narrowing.

Many phoneticians consider the principle of consonant classification according to the manner of noise production and the type of obstruction to be one of the most important and classify consonants according to this principle very accurately, logically and thoroughly. First of all, they suggest classifying consonants according to the manner of noise production from the viewpoint of the closure, which is formed in their articulation. It may be:

(1) complete closure (to organs of speech come in contact with each other and the air passage through the mouth is blocked); then occlusive (змичні) (stop, or plosive, and nasal) consonants are produced: /p, b, t, d, k, g, m, n, η/;

(2) incomplete closure (an articulating organ is held so close to the point of articulation as to narrow, or constrict, the air passage without blocking it); then constrictive (щілинні) consonants are produced: /f, v, θ, ð, h, s, z, ∫, 3, w, j, l, r/;

(3) the combination of the two closures, then occlusive-constrictive, or affricates, are produced: /t∫, d3/;

(4) intermittent closure, then rolled (дрижачий / вібруючий), or trilled consonants, are produced: Ukrainian /p, p'/.

According to the principle of voice or noise prevalence, phoneticians suggest subdividing the group of occlusives and the group of constrictives into noise consonants and sonorants.

The group of occlusive-constrictive consonants consists of noise sounds /t∫, 3/. The group of rolled or trilled is represented by two Ukrainian sonorants /p, p'/.

Noise constrictive consonants are called fricatives.

Noise occlusive consonants are also called stops, or plosives. Occlusive sonorants are also called sonorants, or nasals.

Our phoneticians subdivide the rolled, occlusive, constrictive, occlusive-constrictive consonants into unicentral (pronounced with one focus) and bicentral (pronounced with two foci), according to the number of noise producing centres, or foci. This subdivision is not included into the classifications of foreign phoneticians, so we’ll skip it.

According to the shape of the narrowing, constrictive consonants and affricates are subdivided into sounds with flat narrowing and round narrowing.

The consonants /f, v, θ, ð, ∫, 3, t∫, d3/ are pronounced with the flat narrowing; the consonants /s, z/ are pronounced with the round narrowing.

There are different opinions on the nature of English affricates. Some extreme views state that affricates are biphonemic sequences. The other extreme point of view is that there are six affricates in the system of English consonants, or even eight: /t∫, d3, ts, dz, tr, dr, tθ, dð/.

However, affricates are the units which are articulatorily and acoustically indivisible (this can be proved by instrumental techniques), and the units which are morphologically unique. For instance, no morpheme boundary can pass within /t∫, d3/ which is not the case that can be found in /tθ/, for example: eight —eighth /eit – eit-θ/, and /dz/, for example: bed – beds /bed — bed-z/.

Since only the sounds /t∫, d3/ in the system of English consonants and /ц, ч, дз, дж/ in the system of Ukrainian consonants are articulatorily and acoustically indivisible and morphologically unique, they are the only occlusive-constrictive or affricated sounds.


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