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"caret" but cup double

The vowels of English differ considerably between dialects. Because of this, corresponding vowels may be transcribed with various symbols depending on the dialect under consideration. When considering English as a whole, no specific phonemic symbols are chosen over others; instead, lexical sets are used, each named by a word containing the vowel in question. For example, the vowel of the LOT set ("short o") is transcribed // in Received Pronunciation, // in Australian English, and // in General American. For an overview of these diaphonemic correspondences, see IPA chart for English dialects. Monophthongs of Received Pronunciation[3] Monophthongs of Australian English Front Central Back Front Central Back
long short long short long short long short long short long short

Close Mid Open

Close i Mid e Open

^* The vowel of STRUT is closer to a Near-open central vowel ([]) in RP, though is still used for tradition (it was historically a back vowel) and because it is still back in other varieties.[4] The monophthong phonemes of General American differ in a number of ways from Received Pronunciation: 1. The central vowel of nurse is rhotic [] (also transcribed as a s llabic [ ]. 2. Speakers make a phonemic distinction between rhotic // and non-rhotic //. 3. No distinction is made between // and //, nor for some speakers between these vowels and //. Reduced vowels occur in some unstressed syllables. (Other unstressed syllables may have full vowels, which some dictionaries mark as secondary stress.) The number of distinctions made among reduced vowels varies by dialect. In some dialects vowels are centralized but otherwise kept mostly distinct, while in Australia, New Zealand and some US dialects[citation


all reduced vowels collapse to a schwa []. In Received Pronunciation, there is a distinct high reduced vowel, which the OED writes .

[]: roses (merged with [] in Australian and New Zealand English) []: Rosas, runner [l]: bottle [n]: button [m]: rh thm

English diphthongs RP Australian American low // // /o/ loud /a/ // /a/ lied /a/ /e/ /a/ lane /e/ // /e/ loin // /o/ // leer // // //[d 1] lair //[d 2] /e/ //[d 1] lure //[d 2] (//)[d 3] //[d 1]
1. ^ a b c In rhotic dialects, words like pair, poor, and peer can be analyzed as diphthongs, although other descriptions analyze them as vowels with /r/ in the coda.[5] 2. ^ a b In Received Pronunciation, the vowels in lair and lure ma be monophthongized to [] and [o] respectivel .[6] 3. ^ In Australian English, the vowel // is often omitted from descriptions as for most speakers it has split into the long monophthong /o/ (e.g. poor, sure) or the sequence /./ (e.g. cure, lure).[7]

[edit] Reduced vowels Main article: Vowel reduction in English Vowel reduction refers to the weakening of a vowel sound in certain situations. In English this typically involves decreasing its volume, decreasing its duration, and pronouncing it more like a schwa, as in the vowel sound in the second syllable of "typically". Linguists such as Ladefoged[8] and Bolinger[9] argue that vowel reduction is phonemic in English (that is, that it allows otherwise identical words to be distinguished from each other), and that there are two "tiers" of vowels in English, full and reduced; traditionally many English dictionaries have attempted to mark the distinction by transcribing unstressed full vowels as having "secondary" stress, though this was later abandoned by the Oxford English Dictionary. Though full unstressed vowels may derive historically from stressed vowels, either because stress shifted over time (such as stress shifting away from the final syllable of French loan words in British English) or because of loss or shift of stress in compound words or phrases (verseas vyage from oversas or versas plus vyage), the

distinction is not one of stress but of vowel quality (Bolinger 1989:351), and over time, if the word is frequent enough, the vowel tends to reduce. English has up to five reduced vowels, though this varies with dialect and speaker. chwa // is found in all dialects, and a rhotic schwa ("schwer") // is found in rhotic dialects. ess common is a high reduced vowel ("schwi") // (also "//"); the two are distinguished by many people in Rosa's /rozz/ vs roses /rozz/. ore unstable is a rounded schwa, / / (also //); this contrasts for some speakers in a mission /mn/, emission /mn/, and omission /mn/. In words like following, the following vowel is preceded b a [w] even in dialects that otherwise don t have a rounded schwa: [flw , flw ]. A high rounded schwa // (also "//") may be found in words such as into /nt/, though in man dialects this is not distinguished from //. Though speakers vary, full and reduced unstressed vowels may contrast in pairs of words like Shogun /on/ and slogan /slon/, chickaree /tkri/ and chicor /tkr/, Pharaoh /fro/ and farrow /fro/ (Bolinger 1989:348), Bantu /bntu/ and into /nt/ ( ED). [edit] Allophones

A distinction is made between tense and lax vowels in pairs like beet/bit and bait/bet, although the exact phonetic implementation of the distinction varies from accent to accent. However, this distinction collapses before [ ]. Wherever /r/ originally followed a tense vowel or diphthong (in Early Modern English) a schwa offglide was inserted, resulting in centering diphthongs like [i] in beer [bi ], [u] in poor [pu ], [a] in fire [fa ], [a] in sour [sa ], and so forth. This phenomenon is known as breaking. The subsequent history depends on whether the accent in question is rhotic or not: In non-rhotic accents like RP the postvocalic [ ] was dropped, leaving [bi, pu, fa, sa] and the like (now usuall transcribed [b, p] and so forth). In rhotic accents like General American, on the other hand, the [ ] sequence was coalesced into a single sound, a non-syllabic [], giving [bi, pu, fa, sa] and the like (now usuall transcribed [b , p , fa , sa ] and so forth). As a result, originally monosyllabic words like those just mentioned came to rhyme with originally disyllabic words like seer, doer, higher, power. In many (but not all) accents of English, a similar breaking happens to tense vowels before /l/, resulting in pronunciations like [pi] for peel, [pu] for pool, [pe] for pail, and [po] for pole. /h/ becomes [] before [j] and [i], as in human [jumn] or [umn] where it is not dropped. The qualit of the vowel /a/ is influenced b a following unvoiced stop, fricative, or affricate, which makes the vowel less open.[2]:p.66 Thus, for example, writer is distinguished from rider even though the /t/ and /d/ are pronounced essentially identically in this environment; and the vowel quality in fife differs from that in five.

[edit] Transcription variants

The choice of which symbols to use for phonemic transcriptions may reveal theoretical assumptions or claims on the part of the transcriber. English "lax" and "tense" vowels are distinguished by a synergy of features, such as height, length, and contour (monophthong vs. diphthong); different traditions in the linguistic literature emphasize different features. For example, if the primary feature is thought to be vowel height, then the non-reduced vowels of General American English may be represented according to the table to the left and below. If, on the other hand, vowel length is considered to be the deciding factor, the symbols in the table to the below and center may be chosen (this convention has sometimes been used because the publisher did not have IPA fonts available, though that is seldom an issue any longer.) The rightmost table lists the corresponding lexical sets. General American full vowels, vowel height distinctive i u e o General American full vowels, vowel length distinctive i u i u e o e o a a Lexical sets representing General American full vowels FLEECE GOOSE KIT FOOT FACE NURSE GOAT DRESS STRUT THOUGHT TRAP PALM

If vowel transition is taken to be paramount, then the chart may look like one of these: General American full vowels, vowel contour distinctive ij uw i u ej r ow e o

General American full vowels, vowel contour distinctive or i u

(The transcriber at left assumes that there is no phonemic distinction between semivowels and approximants, so that /ej/ is equivalent to /e/.) Many linguists combine more than one of these features in their transcriptions, suggesting they consider the phonemic differences to be more complex than a single feature. General American full vowels, or General American full vowels,

height & length distinctive i u e o

height & contour distinctive ij uw ej r ow

[edit] Prosody
Prosody consists of stress, rhythm, and intonation, which occur in English as follows. [edit] Stress Stress is phonemic in English. For example, the words desert and dessert are distinguished in part by stress (and in part by vowel reduction in unstressed syllables), as are the noun a record and the verb to record. Stressed syllables in English are louder than non-stressed syllables, as well as being longer and having a higher pitch. They also tend to have a fuller realization[clarification needed] than unstressed syllables. Examples of stress in English words, using boldface to represent stressed syllables, are holiday, alone, admiration, confidential, degree, and weaker. Ordinarily, grammatical words (auxiliary verbs, prepositions, pronouns, and the like) do not receive stress, whereas lexical words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) must have at least one stressed syllable. Traditional approaches describe English as having three degrees of stress: Primary, secondary, and unstressed. However, if stress is defined as relative respiratory force (that is, it involves greater pressure from the lungs than unstressed syllables), as most phoneticians argue, and is inherent in the word rather than the sentence (that is, it is lexical rather than prosodic), then these traditional approaches conflate two distinct processes: stress, and vowel reduction. In this case, primary stress is actually prosodic stress, whereas secondary stress is simple stress in some positions, and an unstressed but not reduced vowel in others. Either way, there is a three-way phonemic distinction: either three degrees of stress, or else stressed, unstressed, and reduced. The two approaches are sometimes conflated into a four-way 'stress' classification: primary (tonic stress), secondary (lexical stress), tertiary (unstressed full vowel), and quaternary (reduced vowel). See secondary stress for details. Initial-stress-derived nouns are nouns that are derived from verbs by changing the position of their stress. For example, a rebel [ b.] (stress on the first s llable) is inclined to rebel [ .b] (stress on the second s llable) against the powers that be. The number of words using this pattern as opposed to only stressing the second syllable in all circumstances doubles every century or so, and includes words such as object, convict, and addict. Prosodic stress is extra stress given to words when they appear in certain positions in an utterance, or when they receive special emphasis. It normally appears on the final stressed

syllable in an intonation unit. So, for example, when the word admiration is said in isolation, or at the end of a sentence, the syllable ra is pronounced with greater force than the syllable ad. (This is traditionall transcribed as /dmren/.) This is the origin of the primary stress-secondary stress distinction. However, the difference disappears when the word is not pronounced with this final intonation. Prosodic stress can shift for various pragmatic functions, such as focus or contrast. For instance, consider the dialogue "Is it brunch tomorrow?" "No, it's dinner tomorrow." In this case, the extra stress shifts from the last stressed syllable of the sentence, tomorrow, to the last stressed syllable of the emphasized word, dinner. Compare "I'm going tomorrow." /am o tmro/ with "It's dinner tomorrow." /ts dn tmro/ Although grammatical words generally do not have lexical stress, they do acquire prosodic stress when emphasized. Compare ordinary "Come in"! /km n/ with more emphatic "Oh, do come in!" /o du km n/ [edit] Rhythm English is a stress-timed language. That is, stressed syllables appear at a roughly steady tempo, and non-stressed syllables are shortened to accommodate this. [edit] Intonation Main article: Intonation (linguistics)#Intonation in English English declarative sentences generally have a pattern of rising pitch on the final stressed syllable followed by falling pitch on the subsequent unstressed syllables (or on the last part of the final stressed syllable itself, if it is also the last syllable of the sentence). But if something is left unsaid, the final fall in pitch occurs only to

a lesser extent. Wh-questions, and tag questions with declarative intent, follow the same pattern as do declarative sentences. In contrast, yes-no questions show pitch rising on the last stressed syllable, and remaining high on any subsequent syllables.

[edit] Phonotactics
Most languages of the world syllabify CVCV and CVCCV sequences as /CV.CV/ and /CVC.CV/ or /CV.CCV/, with consonants preferentially acting as the onset of a syllable containing the following vowel. According to one view, English is unusual in this regard, in that stressed syllables attract following consonants, so that CVCV and CVCCV s llabif as /CVC.V/ and /CVCC.V/, as long as the consonant cluster CC is a possible syllable coda.[10] In addition, according to this view, /r/ preferentially syllabifies with the preceding vowel even when both syllables are unstressed, so that CVrV occurs as /CVr.V/.[10] However, many scholars do not agree with this view.[10]

[edit] Syllable structure

The syllable structure in English is (C)3V(C)5, with a near maximal example being strengths (/str ks/, although it can be pronounced /str s/).[11] Because of an extensive pattern of articulatory overlap, English speakers rarely produce an audible release in consonant clusters.[12] This can lead to cross-articulations that seem very much like deletions or complete assimilations. For example, hundred pounds ma sound like [hnd b pandz] but X-ray[13] and electropalatographic[14][15] studies demonstrate that inaudible and possibly weakened contacts may still be made so that the second /d/ in hundred pounds does not entirely assimilate a labial place of articulation, rather the labial co-occurs with the alveolar one. When a stressed syllable contains a pure vowel (rather than a diphthong), followed by a single consonant and then another vowel, as in holiday, many native speakers feel that the consonant belongs to the preceding stressed s llable, / However, when the stressed vowel is a long vowel or diphthong, as in admiration or pekoe, speakers agree that the consonant belongs to the following syllable: /, /pi.ko/. Wells (1990)[10] notes that consonants syllabify with the preceding rather than following vowel when the preceding vowel is the nucleus of a more salient syllable, with stressed syllables being the most salient, reduced

syllables the least, and secondary stress / full unstressed vowels intermediate. But there are lexical differences as well, frequently with compound words but not exclusively. For example, in dolphin and selfish, he argues that the stressed syllable ends in /lf/, but in shellfish, the /f/ belongs with the following s llable: /dlf.n/, /slf./ [dlfn], [slf] vs /l.f/ [lf], where the /l/ is a little longer and the // not reduced. Similarly, in toe-strap the /t/ is a full plosive, as usual in syllable onset, whereas in toast-rack the /t/ is in many dialects reduced to the unreleased allophone it takes in syllable codas, or even elided: /to.strp/, /tost.rk/ [tost p], [tos(t) k]; likewise nitrate /na.tret/ [nt et] with a voiceless /r/, vs night-rate /nat.ret/ [nt et] with a voiced /r/. Cues of s llable boundaries include aspiration of syllable onsets and (in the US) flapping of coda /t, d/ (a tease /.tiz/ [tiz] vs. at ease /t.iz/ [iz]), epenthetic plosives like [t] in s llable codas (fence /fns/ [fnts] but inside /n.sad/ [nsad]), and rcolored vowels when the /r/ is in the coda vs. labialization when it is in the onset (key-ring /ki.r / [ki ] but fearing /fir. / [f ]).

The English Alphabet

The English alphabet has 26 letters. Each letter has a lower and upper case form. The letters A, E, I, O, U are vowels. A B C D E F G H I J K L M a b c d e f g h i j k l m [ei] [bi:] [si:] [di:] [i:] [ef] [ i:] [ei ] [ai] [ ei] [kei] [el] [em] N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z n o p q r s t u v w x y z [en] [ou] [pi:] [kju:] [a:] [es] [ti:] [ju:] [vi:] [d blju:] [eks] [wai] [zed] or [AmE zi:]

Phonetics and Phonology

Phonetics (from the Greek word phone = sound/voice) is a fundamental branch of Linguistics and itself has three different aspects:

Articulatory Phonetics - describes how vowels and consonants are produced or articulated in various parts of the mouth and throat; Acoustic Phonetics - a study of how speech sounds are transmitted: when sound travels through the air from the speaker's mouth to the hearer's ear it does so in the form of vibrations in the air; Auditory Phonetics - a study of how speech sounds are perceived: looks at the way in which the hearers brain decodes the sound waves back into the vowels and consonants originally intended by the speaker.

The actual sound produced, such as a simple vowel or consonant sound is called phone. Closely associated with Phonetics is another branch of Linguistics known as Phonology. Phonology deals with the way speech sounds behave in particular languages or in languages generally. This focuses on the way languages use differences between sounds in order to convey differences of meaning between words. All theories of phonology hold that spoken language can be broken down into a string of sound units (phonemes). A phoneme is the smallest distinctive unit sound of a language. It distinguishes one word from another in a given language. This means changing a phoneme in a word, produces another word, that has a different meaning. In the pair of words (minimal pairs) 'cat' and 'bat', the distinguishing sounds /c/ and /b/ are both phonemes. The phoneme is an abstract term (a speech sound as it exists in the mind of the speaker) and it is specific to a particular language. A phoneme may have several allophones, related sounds that are distinct but do not change the meaning of a word when they are interchanged. The sounds corresponding to the letter "t" in the English words 'tea' and 'trip' are not in fact quite the same. The position of the tongue is slightly different, which causes a difference in sound detectable by an instrument such as a speech spectrograph. Thus the [t] in 'tea' and the [t] in 'trip' are allophones of the phoneme /t/. Phonology is the link between Phonetics and the rest of Linguistics. Only by studying both the phonetics and the phonology of English is it possible to acquire a full understanding of the use of sounds in English speech.

English Pronunciation

We use the term accents to refer to differences in pronunciations. Pronunciation can vary with cultures, regions and speakers, but there are two major standard varieties in English pronunciation: British English and American English. Within British English and American English there are also a variety of accents. Some of them have received more attention than others from phoneticians and phonologists. These are Received pronunciation (RP)* and General American (GA). Received pronunciation is a form of pronunciation of the English language, sometimes defined as the "educated spoken English of southeastern England". RP is close to BBC English (the kind spoken by British newscasters) and it is represented in the pronunciation schemes of most British dictionaries. RP is rather a social accent than regional, associated with the educated upper classes (and/or people who have attended public schools) in Britain. English pronunciation is also divided into two main accent groups, the rhotic and the nonrhotic, depending on when the phoneme /r/ is pronounced. Rhotic speakers pronounce written "r" in all positions. They will pronounce the "r" in stork, whereas non-rhotic speakers won't, making no distinction between stork and stalk. Non-rhotic speakers pronounce "r" only if it is followed by a vowel - right, rain, room, Robert, far awey, etc. Non-rhotic accents are British Received Pronunciation and some other types of British English, Australian, New Zealand and South African English. American English is rhotic (the "r" is always pronounced), with the notable exception of the Boston area and New York City. Rhotic accents can be found also in most of Canada. SE Britain is apparently the source of non-rhotic. England is non-rhotic, apart from the south-western England and some ever-diminishing northern areas. Scotland and Ireland are rhotic. * "Received" here is used in its older sense to mean "generally accepted".

The Sounds of English and Their Representation

In English, there is no one-to-one relation between the system of writing and the system of pronunciation. The alphabet which we use to write English has 26 letters but in (Standard British) English there are approximately 44 speach sounds. The number of speech sounds in English varies from dialect to dialect, and any actual tally depends greatly on the interpretation of the researcher doing the counting. To represent the basic sound of spoken languages linguists use a set of phonetic symbols called the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The chart below contains all of the IPA symbols used to represent the sounds of the English language. This is the standard set of phonemic symbols for English (RP and similar accents).

[ ] - small capital letter I [ [ p f m b v n h t d s l z r w j k g [ ] - 'ash'; digraph a-e -usually just "digraph" [ [ [ ] - 'caret' ] - script A ] - open O ] - 'epsilon' -- a Greek letter ] - sometimes called 'upsilon'

[ ] - 'eng' (right-tail n) [ ] - 'eth' [ ] - 'theta' [ ] - 'schwa'

The colon / : / represents longer duration in pronunciation and is found in long vowels such as / i: /, / a: /, / u: /, etc.

Vowels and Consonants (en/bg)

Classifying the Vowels Sounds of English

The classifcation of vowels is based on four major aspects: 1. Tongue height - according to the vertical position of the tongue (high vowels, also referred to as close; low vowels, also referred to as open; intermediate - close-mid and open-mid) 2. Frontness vs. backness of the tongue - according to the horizontal position of the highest part of the tongue. 3. Lip rounding - whether the lips are rounded (O-shape) or spread (no rounding) when the sound is being made. 4. Tenseness of the articulators - refers to the amount of muscular tension around the mouth when creating vowel sounds. Tense and lax are used to describe muscular tension.

Front vowels (tongue body is pushed forward) High/close vowels (tongue body is raised) Mid vowels (tongue body is intermediate) Low/open vowels (tongue body is lowered)

Central vowels (tongue body is neutral)

Back vowels (tongue body is pulled back)

/ see / / sit

/ /

/ boot / book

/e/ bait* / / bet

/ sofa**, / bird

/o/ boat* / / bought***

/ bat

/ under**

/ father, / sock(BrE)

*In some American accents (especially Californian English), vowel sounds in words such as bait, gate, pane and boat, coat, note are not consider diphthongs. American phonologists often class them as tense monophthongs (/e/ and /o/). **/ / is used in unstressed syllables, while / / is in stressed syllables. The vowel / / used to be a back vowel, and the symbol was chosen for this reason. This is no longer a back vowel, but a central one. ***A considerable amount of Americans don't have the deep / / in their vocabulary, they pronouce bought, ball, law with the deep / / sound. See also: IPA vowels chart According to the position of the lips:

English front and central vowels are always unrounded. English back vowels / /, / , /o/, / / are rounded (/ / vowel is unrounded).

Vowel Tenseness:

Tense vowels (produced with a great amount of muscular tension): / /, / /, / /, / /, / /. Tense vowels are variable in length, and often longer than lax vowels.

Lax vowels (produced with very little muscular tension): / /, / /, / / /, / /, / /. Lax vowels are always short.

/, /


Classifying the Consonants Sounds of English According to the Manner and Place of Articulation
According to the manner of articulation (how the breath is used) the consonants are: stops, also known as plosives, fricatives, affricates, nasals, laterals, and approximants. Nasals, laterals and approximants are always voiced; stops, fricatives and affricates can be voiced or unvoiced. Stops /Plosives/ During production of these sounds, the airflow from the lungs is completely blocked at some point, then released. In English, they are /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, and /g/. The flow of air is constricted, but not totally stopped or blocked. In Fricatives English, /s/, /z/, / these include /f/, /v/, / /, / /, /, / /, and /h/.

These sounds begin like stops, with a complete blockage of air/closure of the vocal tract, and end with a restricted flow of air Affricates like fricatives. English has two affricates - the / "church" and the / Nasals / of "judge". / sounds of

Nasals are sounds made with air passing through the nose. In English, these are /m/, /n/, and / /. Lateral consonants allow the air to escape at the sides of the tongue. In English there is only one such sound - /l/


In the production of an approximant, one articulator is close to another, but the vocal tract is not narrowed to such an extent that a Approximants turbulent airstream is produced. In English, these are /j/, /w/ and /r/. Approximants /j/ and /w/ are also referred to as semi-vowels.

According to the place of articulation (where in the mouth or throat the sound is produced) the consonants are:

Bilabial: with both lips

/p/, /b/, /m/

Labiodental: between lower lip and /f/, /v/ upper teeth Dental/Interdental: between the teeth / /, / /

Alveolar: the ridge behind the upper front /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, teeth /n/, /l/, /r/ Alveo-palatal (or post-alveolar): it is the / area between / the alveolar ridge and the hard palate Palatal: hard palate, or 'roof' of the /j/ mouth' Velar: the soft palate or velum /k/, /g/, / / /, / /, / / /,

Glottal (laryngeal): space between the /h/ vocal cords