Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

(2) The Basic Structural Units and Concepts Relevant in the Description on the Level of Sound.

(Phoneme, Allophone, Feature, Contrast, Complementary Distribution, Neutralisation of Contrast; Phonological Rules; Vowel and Consonant Inventories of English [RP, GA] and Czech)

(2.1) Phonetics and Phonology

[see (1.3)]

(2.2) Articulatory Phonetics

(2.2.1) The Vocal Organs

- the respiratory system pushes air out of the lungs > the windpipe (= trachea) > the larynx > the vocal tract

- the vocal tract: the vocal cords > the oral tract within the mouth and pharynx > the nasal tract within the nose

Articulators = the parts of the vocal tract used to form sounds

- the upper lip and the upper teeth

- the alveolar ridge

- the hard palate

- the soft palate (= velum)

- the uvula

- the tongue: the tip, the blade, the front (beneath the hard palate), the centre, the back (beneath the soft palate), the root (opposite the back wall of the pharynx; the epiglottis attached to its lower part)

- two-dimensional diagrams of the vocal organs (= a mid-sagittal view)

(2.2.2) The Phonetic Description of Speech

- the stages of a speech sound: the production stage, the transmission s., the reception s.

- consonant sounds: most easily described mainly in terms of their articulation

- vowel sounds: described mainly in terms of their auditory impressions

- phonological definition: consonants as those segments occurring at the edges of syllables, vowels as segments occurring at the centre of syllables

- x /j, w, r/: consonants phonologically, vowels phonetically (the approximants [j, w] pronounced as short versions of vowels in the [i, u] regions) => semi-vowels

(2.2.3) The Articulation of Consonants

- factors describing the articulation of consonant sounds

(a) source of the airstream (lungs for pulmonic articulation x elsewhere for non-pulmonic a.)

(b) direction of the airstream (outwards for egressive articulation [all E sounds] x inwards for ingressive a.)

(c) state of the vocal cords (close together and vibrating for voiced sounds x apart for voiceless s.)

(d) state of the soft palate (raised for oral sounds x lowered for nasal s.)

(e) place of articulation

(f) manner of a.

(g) + central or lateral a.

- [z] in ‘easy’: pulmonic, egressive, voiced, oral, alveolar, fricative, central (= ‘voiced alveolar fricative’, the oth. points assumed unless indicated otherwise)

- the oro-nasal process: the velum separates the nasal tract from the oral tract

(a) when raised against the back wall of the pharynx = a velic closure

(b) when lowered + an obstruction in the mouth created = a nasal consonant

- classification of speech sounds accord. to their noise component

(a) obstruents = their production causes noise (stops, fricatives, affricates)

(b) sonorants = no noise (voiced nasals, approximants, and vowels)

( Place of Articulation

(a) labial articulations (the lips)

- bilabial: the two lips ([p, b, m] in ‘pie, buy, my’)

- labiodental: the lower lip and the upper front teeth ([f, v] in ‘fee, vie’)

(b) coronal a. (the tongue tip or blade)

- dental: the tongue tip and the upper front teeth ([θ, ð] in ‘think, then’); + interdental: the tongue protrudes btw the teeth

- alveolar: the tongue tip or blade and the alveolar ridge ([t, d, n, s, z, l] in ‘tie, die, nigh, sigh, zeal, lie’)

- post-alveolar: the tongue tip and the back of the alveolar ridge ([ɹ] in ‘red’)

- retroflex: the tongue tip and the part of the hard palate immediately behind the alveolar ridge ([ɻ] in ‘rye, row, raw’), not used by many speakers at all

- palato-alveolar: the tongue blade and the back of the alveolar ridge ([ʃ, ʒ, tʃ, dʒ] in ‘sheep, measure, cheap, jump’)

(c) dorsal a. (the back of the tongue)

- palatal: the front of the tongue and the hard palate ([j] in ‘you’); coronal or dorsal a.

- velar: the back of the tongue and the soft palate ([k, g, ŋ] in ‘hack, hag, hang’)

- glottal: an obstruction or a narrowing causing friction but not vibration ([h] in ‘house’)

- a secondary place of articulation in addition to the primary: e.g. the raising of the back of the tongue twd the velum in addition to the alveolar contact in the velarized [ł]

( Manner of Articulation

(a) complete closure

- stop, or, plosive [p, b, t, d, k, g, m, n, ŋ]

= complete closure of the articulators preventing the airflow to escape through the mouth

- oral stop = ‘stop’: the velum raised, the nasal tract blocked off (‘pie, buy’ [bilabial closure]; ‘tie, dye’ [alveolar c.]; ‘key, guy’ [velar c.])

- nasal s. = ‘nasal’: the velum lowered, the nasal tract free (‘my’ [bilabial closure], ‘nigh’ [alveolar c.], ‘sang’ [velar c.])

- affricate [tʃ, dʒ]

= a stop immediately followed by a fricative (‘cheap, judge’)

(b) intermittent closure

- trill, or, roll [r]

= a series of rapid intermittent closures made by a flexible organ on a firmer surface

- e.g. the trill of the tongue tip against the alveolar ridge (Scott. E: ‘rye, raw’)

- tap, or, flap [ɾ]

= a single tap of made by a flexible organ on a firmer surface

- e.g. the tap of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (GA: ‘letter’)

(c) partial closure

- lateral (= lateral approximant) [l]

= incomplete closure btw one or both sides of the tongue and the roof of the mouth (‘lie’ [alveolar lateral])

(d) narrowing

- fricative [f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ʃ, ʒ, x, h]

= close approximation producing a turbulent airflow (‘fee, vie’ [labiodental]; ‘thigh, thy’ [dental]; ‘sigh, zoo’ [alveolar]; ‘shy’ [palato-alveolar])

- sibilants: the higher-pitched fricatives with a more obvious hiss (‘sigh, shy’)

(e) narrowing without friction

- approximant [j, w]

= approximation producing no turbulent airflow (‘yacht’ [the front of the tongue + the palatal area], ‘we’ [lips + the velar area])

(2.2.4) The Articulation of Vowels

- factors describing the articulation of vowel sounds

(a) the position of the soft palate

- raised for oral vowels x lowered for nasalized v.

(b) the degree of spreading or rounding of the lips

- rounded vowels [æ, o, ɒ, ɔ, u, ʊ] x unrounded v. [i, ɪ, e, ε, з, a, ʌ, ɑ, ə]

(c) the height of the body of the tongue

- high vowels [i, u] in ‘heed, food’ x mid-high v. [ɪ, ʊ] in ‘hid, good’ x mid-low v. [ε] in ‘head’ x low v. [æ, ɑ] in ‘had, father’

(d) the front-back position of the tongue

- front vowels [i, ɪ, e, ε, a, æ] x back v. [ɔ, ʊ, o, u]

(e) relatively pure vs. gliding vowels

- relatively pure vowels: unchanging, e.g. the vowel in ‘learn’

- gliding vowels: diphthongal, e.g. the vowel in ‘line’

(2.3) Phonetic Features

- statements conc. phonemic categories and allophonic variants made wrt only one variety of one language

- the features stated mainly in articulatory terms, only some of them in auditory or acoustic

- binary feature = a feature with 2 classificatory possibilities (Voice)

- multivalued f. = a feature with more than 2 classificatory possibilities (Stricture)

(2.3.1) Contrast versus Neutralisation

- distinctive feature = a phonetic property used to classify sounds

- minimal pairs = pairs of words differing in respect of only one sound segment; the distinctive sound segments stand in contrast (or, opposition)

- complementary distribution = the predictable occurrence of a specific allophone of a phoneme in a particular context or situation (the aspiration of stops when initial in accented syllables, etc.)

- free variation = the occurrence of variant realisations of the same phoneme in the same situation (depends on the speaker)

- neutralisation = the lack of contrast or opposition, the sound may be assigned to either of 2 phonemes with equal validity

- the contrast btw the voiceless /p, t, k/ x the voiced /b, d, g/ > neutralised after /s/ in word-initial position => no contrast btw /sp-, st-, sk-/ x /sb-, sd-, sg-/

- also the neutralisation of the allophones of /m/ and /n/ before /f/ or /v/ > the nasalized [m] in both ‘symphony, infant’; etc.

(2.3.2) Distinctive Features

- the feature name conventionally spelled with a capital letter, the classificatory possibilities conventionally presented within square brackets

- the feature Coronal further splits into [+ anterior] = sounds made on or in front of the alveolar ridge x [– anterior] = sounds made behind the alveolar ridge

- the feature Sibilant differs in being an acoustic (as opposed to articulatory) property; [+ sibilant] also the affricates [tʃ, dʒ] if consid. single units

- the feature Syllabic separates vowels from consonants, classifies [i] and [u] as distinct from [j] and [w]

Features Required for Classifying English Segments


- [+ voice]: b, d, g, m, n, v, ð, z, 3, ɹ, l, j (and all vowels)

- [− voice]: p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ


- p, b, m, f, v


- [+ anterior]: θ, ð, t, d, n, s, z, l, ɹ

- [− anterior]: ʃ, ʒ, j (and front vowels)


- k, g, w (and back vowels)


- [stop]: p, t, k, b, d, g, m, n

- [fricative]: f, θ, s, ʃ, v, ð, z, ʒ

- [approximant]:w, ɹ , l, j (and all vowels)


- [+ nasal]: m, n

- [− nasal]: (all oth. segments)


- [+ lateral]: l

- [− lateral]: (all oth. segments)


- [+ sibilant]: s, ʃ, z, ʒ

- [− sibilant]: (all oth. segments)


- [maximum]: (all consonants except w, j)

- [4 height]: i, u, w, j

- [3 height]: e, ɪ, o, ʊ

- [2 height]: ε, ɔ

- [1 height]: æ, ɑ


- [+ back]: u, o, ʊ, ɔ, w, k, g

- [− back]: i, e, ɪ, ε, æ (and all oth. consonants)


- [+ syllabic]: (all vowels)

- [− syllabic]: (all consonants, incl. w, j)

(2.4) Prosodic Features

- vowels and consonants = segments

- together form the syllables

- features imposed on the syllables = suprasegmentals, or, prosodic features

- suprasegmentals infl. patterns extending over larger chunks of utterance than the single segment

(a) variations in stress

- grammatical function (distinguish btw a noun x a verb)

- contrastive emphasis (‘I want a red pen, not a black one.’)

(b) variations in pitch

- pitch pattern in a sentence = intonation

- pitch pattern of a syllable or word causing the change of meaning in tone languages (Chinese) = tone

- grammatical function (‘This is my father.’ [the highest pitch on the 1st syllable of ‘father’]; ‘Is this your father?’ [the highest pitch on the 2nd syllable])

(c) variations in length

(d) v. in loudness

- combinations of pitch, length and loudness produce accent

- oth. suprasegmentals: rhythm, tempo, voice quality

(2.4.1) Word Accent

- the word = a commutable entity with a separate linguistic identity, composed of one or more phonemes

- the word as a pattern formed by the qualitative and quantitative elements of its phonemes

- polysyllabic words: the word pattern determined also by the relationship of its parts

- varying prominence of the individual word parts gives rise to different word patterns

- the syllable of a word standing out from the remainder = the accented syllable

- accentual pattern of English words

(a) fixed = the main accent always falls on a particular syllable of any given word

(b) free = the main accent not tied to any particular situation in the word (x Czech: the main accent falls on first syllables)

(2.4.2) Prominence

- degrees of prominence of a syllable

(a) primary accent = the last major pitch change in a word/utterance

(b) secondary accent = a non-final pitch change in a word/utterance

(c) minor prominence = full vowel with no pitch change

(d) non-prominence = reduced vowel with no pitch change /ɪ, ʊ, ə/

- achieving the prominence

(a) pitch change

- the most prominent factor

- primary accent = the final pitch accent, the most prominent one

- secondary accent = a pitch accent on an earlier syllable, less prominent

- shift of accent in ‘'insult (n.) x in'sult (v.); 'import (n.) x im'port (v.); 'billow x be'low” x no shift of accent in ‘report, delay, select”

(b) loudness

- accented syllables louder than unaccented ones

(c) quantity and quality

- unaccented syllables: some more prominent than others due to the quality and quantity of the vowels at their centre

- long vowels and diphthongs more prominent than short vowels

- full vowels = vowels with minor prominence

- reduced vowels = non-prominent short vowels in unaccented syllables /ɪ, ʊ, ə/

(2.4.3) The Process of Elision

= a process of gradation, a loss of phonemes or obscuration of vowels in weakly accented syllables

(a) established in the language for some time

(b) current only recently in colloquial speech

- vowels: initially (‘state, scholar, sample’), medially (‘forecastle’ /'fəʊksl/, ‘Salisbury’ /'sɔ:lzbrɪ/, ‘marriage’), finally (‘name, loved, cousin’)

- consonants: initial clusters /wr, kn, gn/ (‘write, know, gnaw’), medial /t/ + /n/ or /l/ (‘fasten, often, castle’), final /mb, mn/ (‘lamb, hymn’)

(2.4.4) Intonation

- intonational phrases = divisions of an utterance, signalled by pitch changes; their boundaries generally correspond syntactically with syntactic phrase/clause boundaries

- nucleus = the syllable with the final pitch accent, the starting point of one of the pitch patterns

- nuclear tone = a pitch pattern beginning at the primary accent and ending at the end of the intonational phrase

- types of nuclear tone:

(a) falling nuclear tones = start from the highest pitch of the speaking voice and fall to the lowest pitch (= high fall), or from the mid pitch to the lowest pitch (= low fall)

(b) rising nuclear tones = end at a high point (= high rise), or at a mid point (= low rise)

(c) falling-rising nuclear tones = fall-rise

(d) rising-falling nuclear tones = rise-fall

(e) level nuclear tones = mostly commonly a mid level

- the nucleus falls on the most prominent syllable, hence the most prominent word in an intonational phrase => the nucleus marks the end of the new information

- falling intonation: declaratives, yes/no-interrogatives, tag-interrogatives when expecting agreement, imperatives when abrupt, exclamatives

- rising intonation: wh-interrogatives, tag-interrogatives when leaving open the possibility of disagreement, imperatives when polite

(2.5) Allophones of English Consonants

(2.5.1) Stops

( Variations in the Manner

- aspiration, indicated by a small raised letter h [h] = a period of voicelessness after the stop articulation and before the start of the voicing for the vowel (‘pie, tie, kye’ [phaɪ, thaɪ, khaɪ])

- unexploded consonant, indicated by a small raised mark []: syllable- or word-final consonant unexploded when the next syllable or word begins a stop or nasal (‘the cat pushed [ðə 'khæt 'phʊʃt], ‘apt’ [æpt], ‘act’ [ækt])

- absence of this rule in oth. languages, a mark of foreign accent to explode all final stop consonants and add an extra vowel at the end (‘it’s a big day’ [ɪts ə 'bɪg 'deɪ] x *[ɪts ə 'bɪgə 'deɪ])

- a glottal stop, indicated by a question mark without the dot [ʔ] = the sound, or the lack of sound, produced with the vocal cords held tightly together (m̩ hm̩ ] for ‘yes’ x ['ʔm̩ʔm̩ ] for ‘no’)

- glottal stops frequently as allophones of /t/ (‘beaten’ ['biʔn̩ ], ‘kitten’ ['kɪʔn̩ ], ‘fatten’ ['fæʔn̩ ])

- a syllabic consonant, indicated by [ˌ]

- homorganic sounds = two sounds with the same place of articulation

(a) nasal plosion = the release through the nose of the air pressure built up in the mouth when a voiced stop and a homorganic nasal occur in the same word (‘sadden’ ['sædn̩ ], ‘sudden’ ['sʌdn̩ ], ‘leaden’ ['lεdn̩ ])

- a mark of foreign accent to add a vowel ['sædən, 'sʌdən, 'lεdən]

(b) lateral plosion = the release by lowering the sides of the tongue of the air pressure built up in the mouth when a stop and a homorganic lateral occur in the same word (‘little’ ['lɪtl̩ ], ‘ladle’ ['leɪdl̩ ])

- a flap [ɾ]: GA [t] changed into a voiced sound after a stressed vowel and before an unstressed syllable oth. than [n̩] (‘city’ ['sɪɾ i], ‘better, writer’)

( Variations in the Place

- coarticulations = the overlapping of adjacent articulations, present in all utterances

- anticipatory coarticulation = anticipation of the articulations of the sounds yet to come (a stop unexploded before another consonant in ‘apt’ [æpt], etc.)

- perseverative coarticulation = the actions involved in making one sound continue into the next (‘it is’ [ɪt ɪz] > ‘it’s’ [ɪts])

- E = an anticipatory language

- the feature that two consecutive sounds have in common will be retained throughout the transition btw them

- articulators not involved in the primary articulation will take up twd the articulation of the following item

- a general tendency in E to equalise the lengths of syllables differing in the number of segments x but: stressed syllables longer than the corresponding unstressed ones

- target positions = the positions of the vocal organs specified for a given sound; remain always the same x but: the resulting articulation may be changed by the neighbouring sounds

- targets = units used in describing how a speaker produces utterances

- x phonemes = more abstract units used in describing languages to show how one word contrasts with another

(2.5.2) Fricatives

- fricatives resemble stops

- both groups the only E consonants to contrast by being voiced x voiceless

- both infl. vowel length: vowels shorter before voiceless consonants than before voiced ones

- syllable- or word-final voiceless consonants longer than voiced ones in the same position

- syllable- or word-final voiced consonants fully voiced throughout the articulation only before another voiced sound

- obstruents = a natural class of sounds incl. both fricatives and stops /p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ʃ, ʒ/ [+ obstruent] x all oth. E sounds [– obstruent]

(2.5.3) Affricates

- [tʃ] and [dʒ] = sequences of a stop followed by a homorganic fricative

- from a phonological POV and wrt the sound pattern of E consid. single units

(2.5.4) Nasals

- [ŋ] = a sequence of the phonemes /n/ + /g/

- phonemically: ‘sing’ /sɪng/ x but: [sɪŋg] accord. to the phonological rule of /n/ before /g/ and /k/ > the allophone [ŋ]

- the status of [ŋ] different from the oth. nasals

- cannot be syllabic at the end of word like the oth. nasals together with [ɹ, l]

- cannot occur at the beginning of word

(2.5.5) Approximants

- devoicing of a vowel, indicated by [h]: a vowel after the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ partially voiceless (‘pie’ [phaɪ], ‘tie’ [thaɪ], ‘kye’ [khaɪ])

- devoicing of a consonant, indicated by [ ۪ ]: an approximant after the voiceless stops /p, t, k/ voiceless (‘play’ [pl̥eɪ], ‘twice’ [tw̥aɪs], ‘clay’ [kl̥eɪ], ‘cue’ [kj̥u])

- velarization, indicated by [~] = the arching upwards of the back of the tongue

- GA: all examples of /l/ > [ł]

- RP: only word-final or before a consonant (‘feel’ [fił], ‘ball’, ‘filled’)

(2.6) Allophones of English Vowels

- vowel sounds form a continuum, no distinct boundaries btw one type of vowel and another

- x unlike consonant sounds (a consonant may be e.g. a stop or a fricative, not halfway btw the two)

- the traditional terms high, low, back, and front:

- labels for the auditory qualities of the different vowels

- descriptions of vowels how they sound in relation to one another

- no absolute descriptions of the position of the tongue

(2.6.1) Cardinal Vowels

- the cardinal vowel system devised by Daniel Jones = two scales per 8 vowels denoted by the following numbers and symbols:

(a) primary Cardinal Vowels: 1, [i]; 2, [e]; 3, [ε]; 4, [a]; 5, [ɒ]; 6, [ɔ]; 7, [o]; 8, [u]

(b) secondary Cardinal Vowels: 11, [æ]; 14, [ʌ]

(2.6.2) Tense vs. Lax Vowels

- tense vs. lax vowels: differ in distribution

- lax vowels [ɪ, ε, æ, ʊ, ʌ, ɒ] = appear in closed syllables only

- tense vowels [all the oth. vowels] = appear in both closed and open syllables

- closed syllables = have a consonant at the end x open syllables = no consonant at the end

- pairs of a tense vowel + the lax vowel nearest to it in quality:

- [i] in ‘beat’ and [ɪ] in ‘bit’

- [eɪ] in ‘bait’ and [ε] in ‘bet’

- [u] in ‘boot’ and [ʊ] in ‘foot’

- the lax vowel: shorter, lower, and more centralised than the corresponding tense vowel

- the lax vowels [æ] in ‘hat’ and [ʌ] in ‘hut’ fall in no pair x but: both shorter than the low tense vowel [ɑ] in ‘spa’

(2.6.3) Stressed vs. Unstressed Syllables

- [ə] used to designate a wide range of mid-central vowels with a reduced vowel quality; occurs only in unaccented syllables

- stressed syllables: full forms of vowels

- unstressed syllables: reduced form

(2.6.4) Vowel Length

- the phonetic opposition btw short x long vowels = a complex of quality and quantity

- /ɪ/ in ‘bid’ x /i:/ in ‘bead’

- /ʊ/ in ‘good’ x /u:/ in ‘food’

- /æ/ in ‘cad’ x /ɑ:/ in ‘card’

- /ɒ/ in ‘cod’ x /ɔ:/ in ‘cord’

- /ə/ in ‘(for)ward’ x /з:/ in ‘word’

- morphophonemic alternation = relationship btw the vowels in the root morpheme of cognate words (the long vowel /aɪ/ in ‘divine’ x the short vowel /ɪ/ in ‘divinity’)

- orig.: an alternation btw a long x a short vowel of the same quality (the long vowel [i:] x the short vowel [i] > Great Vowel Shift > no longer vowels of the same quality)

- /aɪ/ in ‘wise’ x /ɪ/ in ‘wisdom’

- /i:/ in ‘hero’ x /e/ in ‘heroine’

- /eɪ/ in ‘sane’ x /æ/ in ‘sanity’

- /əʊ/ in ‘mediocre’ x /ɒ/ in ‘mediocrity’

- /aʊ/ in ‘pronounce’ x /ʌ/ in ‘pronunciation’

(2.7) The Consonant Inventory of English

- the consonant inventory of E: 24 phonemes

- 6 of them with restricted occurrence /h, r, ʒ, ŋ; w, j/

(2.7.1) The Distinctive Consonants

- a process of commutation = the discovery of minimal pairs

- 24 distinctive units consonantal both wrt: their position in syllables + their phonetic nature

(a) obstruents

- a total closure or stricture causing friction

- a noise component

- a distinctive opposition btw voiceless x voiced types

- incl. plosives, affricates, fricatives

(b) sonorants

- a partial closure or an unimpeded oral or nasal escape of air

- no noise component

- typically voiced, sharing many phonetic characteristics with vowels

- incl. nasals, approximants

+ glottal stop [ʔ]: not phonemically distinctive in RP => excluded from the chart below

(2.7.2) Plosives (or, Stops)

( Articulatory Phonetics

- place of articulation: /p, b/ bilabial; /t, k/ alveolar; /k, g/ velar

Articulation stages:

- the closing stage = the articulating organs move together to form the obstruction

- the compression stage = lung action compresses the air behind the closure

- the release stage = the organs forming the obstruction part rapidly to allow the compressed air to escape abruptly

The release stage:

(a) no audible release in stop clusters

- a cluster of two stops = plosive + plosive, plosive + affricate

- the 1st stop with no audible release (/p/ + /t/ in ‘dropped’, /b/ + /d/ in ‘rubbed’, /b/ + /dʒ/ in ‘object’)

- NO intervening [h] with voiceless plosives, NO obscure vowel of the [ə] type with voiced plosives

- gemination = a sequence of identical stops > one closing stage and one release stage involved together with about a double-length compression stage (‘top post, good deal, big girl’)

(b) nasal release

- a plosive before the homorganic nasal consonant > the escape of the compressed air through the nasal passage (/p/ + syllabic /m̩ / in ‘topmost’, /p/ + syllabic /m̩ / in ‘happen’, /d/ + syllabic /ŋ̩/ in ‘sudden’)

(c) lateral release:

- a plosive before by the homorganic lateral consonant > one or both sides of the tongue lowered to allow the air to escape (/t/ + /l/ in ‘cattle’, /d/ + /t/ in ‘regardless’)

- NO aspiration, NO obscure vowel (‘little’ *[lɪthł], ‘middle’ *[mɪdəł])

( Auditory Phonetics

- aspiration = a voiceless interval consisting of strongly expelled breath btw the release of the plosive and the onset of the following vowel

- aspiration of /p, t, k/ initial in an accented syllable (‘pip’ [phɪp], ‘test’ [thεst], ‘kick’ [khɪk])

- neutralisation of the distinction btw the voiceless /p, t, k/ x voiced /b, d, g/ followed by /s/ within the same syllable > the resulting plosives unaspirated and voiceless (‘spin’ [sp̥ ɪn], ‘stop’ [st̥ɒp], ‘score’ [sk̥ɔl])

- devoicing of /l, ɹ, w, j/ after initial /p, t, k/ in an accented syllable (‘play’ [pl̥ eɪ], ‘twin’ [tw̥ ɪn], ‘cue’ [k̥ ju])

- full voicing of /b, d, g/ only btw voiced sounds (‘labour, leader, to be’)

- partial voicing or complete devoicing of initial or final /b, d, g/, i.e. following or preceding silence (‘bill, done, game’ [b̥ , d̥ , g̥ ])

- length of preceding sounds: syllables closed by voiceless consonants shorter than syllables open or closed by voiced consonants

- a complex of quantitative and qualitative contrasts (‘rope x robe’ /rəʊp x rəʊb/)

( The Plosive Sounds

(a) bilabial plosives /p, b/

- description: bilabial plosives before the labiodental /f/ or /v/ > labiodental rather then bilabial closure in anticipation of the following fricative articulation (‘cup-full’ [kʌp̪ fʊl], ‘obvious’ [ɒb̪ vɪəs])

- variants: partial voicing or complete devoicing of the initial or final /b/

(b) alveolar plosives /t, d/

- description: /t, d/ + /n/ = nasal plosion, /t, d/ + /l/ = lateral plosion; /t, d/ + /r/ = post-alveolar contact (‘try, dry’), /t, d/ + /θ, ð/ = dental contact (‘eighth; not that’)

- variants: syllable-final /t/ NOT followed by a vowel or syllabic /n/ or /l/ > reinforced or replaced by a glottal closure

- GA: unaccented intervocalic /t/ > replaced by tap [ɾ] (‘butter, latter, put it’)

(c) velar plosives /k, g/

(d) glottal plosive [ʔ]

- the obstruction formed by the closure of the vocal folds

- the compression stage consists of silence auditorily perceived by a sudden cessation of the preceding sound or sudden onset of the following sound

- neither voiced nor voiceless

- RP: syllable boundary marker before vowel initial 2nd syllable (‘cooperate’ [kəʊ'ʔɒpəreɪt], ‘geometry’ [dʒi'ʔɒmətri], ‘reaction’ [ri'ʔækʃən])

- some RP: reinforcement of the voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ when syllable-final and after a vowel, nasal or lateral and before a pause or consonant (‘reap, limp, help’)

- some: RP replacement of /p, t, k/ when syllable-final and before a homorganic consonant (/t/ + /t/ in ‘that table’, /t/ + /d/ in ‘get down, /t/ + /dʒ/ in ‘great joke’)

- CockE: reinforcement and replacement when utterance-final (‘mind your feet’ ['maɪʔ dʒɒ: 'fɪəʔ]; ‘have a look’ ['æv ə 'lʊʔ]; ‘get that’ [geʔ 'ðæʔ])

(2.7.3) Affricates

= compound sounds

- considered either single phonemic entities x sequences of two phonemes

(a) palato-alveolar affricates /tʃ, dʒ/

- former label for affricates: ‘palato-alveolar’, new: ‘post-alveolar’ x former label for /ɹ/: ‘post-alveolar’, new: ‘alveolar’

- the voiced /dʒ/ <> plosives, fricatives: devoiced when syllable-initial or final

- the voiceless /tʃ/ <> /p, t, k/: reduced length of preceding sounds when syllable-final

(b) sequences /tr, dr/

- NO affricates x but: sequences of special importance esp. for foreign learners

- retractions of /t, d/ before /r/ ([t, d])

- devoicing of [r] after /t/

- minimal pairs /tʃ/ x /tr/ in ‘cheese’ x ‘trees’, /dʒ/ x /dr/ in ‘jaw’ x ‘draw’

(2.7.4) Fricatives

- two organs held close together to produce local air turbulence with a noise component

- place of articulation: /f, v/ labiodental; /θ, ð/ dental; /s, z/ alveolar; /ʃ, ʒ/ palato-alveolar; /h/ glottal

- full voicing of /v, ð, z, ʒ/ only btw voiced sounds (‘cover, other, easy, leisure’)

- devoicing of initial or final /v, ð, z, ʒ/ (‘van, that, zoo; leave, breathe, peas, rouge’)

- syllable-final /f, θ, s, ʃ/ reduce length of the preceding sounds (‘fife, loath, place, leash’)

(a) labiodental fricatives /f, v/

- variants: word-final /v/ before a word-initial voiceless consonant > /f/ (‘have to; some: ‘love to, have some’)

(b) dental fricatives /θ, ð/

- variants: elision of /θ, ð/ before /s, z/ (‘clothes’ /kləʊz/, ‘months’ /mʌns/)

- CockE: labiodental rather than dental articulation (‘throw it’ /'frəʊ ɪt/; ‘breathe in’ /'bri:v 'ɪn/)

(c) alveolar fricatives /s, z/

- lisp = a speech defect substituting /s, z/ for /θ, ð/

- variants: regional plosive epenthesis = the insertion of /t/ btw /n/ and /s/ (no distinction btw /ns/ x /nts/ in ‘mince x mints; tense x tents; assistance x assistants’)

(d) palato-alveolar fricatives /ʃ, ʒ/

- variants: sometimes /ʃ, ʒ/ medially before /u:/ > /s, z/ + /j/ (‘issue, sexual, seizure’)

- lack of minimal pairs distinguishable by /ʃ/ x /ʒ/ > possible alternations btw them (‘Asia, transition, version’)

(e) glottal fricative /h/

= a strong voiceless onset of the following vowel, only syllable-initial and pre-vocalic

- no distinctive voiced x voiceless opposition

- function: /h/ as a voiceless syllable-initial phoneme <> /ŋ/ as a syllable-final phoneme

- variants: elision of /h/ in unaccented non-initial positions in connected speech with function words ‘have, has, had’, pronouns and pronominal adjectives (‘he pushed him on his back’ /hi: 'pʊʃt ɪm ɒn ɪz 'bæk/; ‘I could have hit her’ /aɪ kəd əv 'hɪt ə/)

- regional loss of /h/ (no distinction btw RP minimal pairs ‘hill x ill; high x eye; hair x air’)

(f) velar fricative [x]

- voiceless

- exceptionally in some speaker’s pronunciation of Scott. words (‘loch’)

(2.7.5) Voiced and Voiceless as Phonological Categories

- voiceless /p, t, k, f, θ, s, ʃ, tʃ/

- voiced /b, d, g, v, ð, z, ʒ, dʒ/

- distinction in voice x but: realisation of the distinction varies according to position

- voiced sounds fully voiced only when word-medial btw voiced sounds

- voiced sounds devoiced when word-initial and word-final

- voiceless /p, t, k/ aspirated when syllable-initial

- voiceless sounds reduce length of preceding vowels, nasals and laterals

(2.7.6) Nasals

- a total closure within the mouth, the soft palate lowered to allow the air to escape into the nasal cavity

- no audible friction

- no voiced x voiceless opposition

- resemble vowel-type sounds

- place of articulation: /m/ bilabial; /n/ alveolar; /ŋ/ velar

- syllabic (<> vowels) syllabic /n̩ ̩/ in ‘mutton’ [mʌtn̩ ], syllabic/ṃ/ in ‘rhythm’ [rɪðṃ], syllabic /ŋ̣/ in ‘bacon’ [beɪkŋ]

- devoicing of /m,n/ after voiceless consonants (‘smoke, snake’)

(a) bilabial nasal /m/

- word-final /n/ before bilabials in connected speech > /m/ (‘one mile’ /'wʌm 'maɪl/; ‘gone back’ /'gɒm 'bæk/

- word-final /ən/ or /n̩/ after /p/ or /b/ > [ṃ] (‘happen’ [hæpṃ], ‘ribbon’ [ɹɪbṃ])

(b) alveolar nasal /n/

- /n/ before the labiodental /f, v/ > /ɱ/ (‘infant; in voice; in vain’)

- /n/ before dental /θ, ð/ => /n̪ / (‘tenth’)

- /n/ word-final before bilabials or velars > /m/ (‘ten people’) or /ŋ/ (‘ten cups’)

(c) velar nasal /ŋ/

- normally voiced x devoiced when syllabic (‘bacon, thicken’)

- variants: regionally retained earlier [ŋg] instead of RP /ŋ/ (‘singing’ [sɪŋgɪŋg] instead of RP /sɪŋɪŋ/ => [ŋ] as allophone of /n/, NOT separate phoneme)

(2.7.7) Oral Approximants

- the airstream escapes through a relatively narrow aperture in the mouth

- no friction

(a) lateral approximant /l/

- clear [l] = the front of the tongue raised toward the hard palate, the tip contact ensures a front vowel resonance

- dark [ł] = the front of the tongue depressed, the back raised toward the soft palate, ensures a back vowel resonance (= velarized)

- before a vowel or /j/ > clear [l]; all other positions > dark [ł]

- word-final after a consonant > syllabic dark [ ł] (‘fiddle, final, parcel’)

- GA, SE, ANE, NortE: dark [ł] in all positions

- Irish E => clear [l] in all positions

- GA => syllabic [ł] instead of RP [-aɪł] (‘fertile, futile, missile, reptile’)

(b) post-alveolar approximant /r/

- the voiced [ɹ] = the most common allophone of RP /r/

- phonetically vowel-like x but: consonantal wrt function

- devoicing of [ɹ ̥ ] after accented /p, t, k/ (price, try, cream’), after unaccented voiceless syllable-initial plosives (‘upright, apron, acrobat’) and in the syllable-initial sequences /spr-, str-, skr-/ (‘spring, string, scream’)

- SE and some NortE: replacement of RP [ɹ] by an alveolar tap [ɾ] in intervocalic positions (‘very, sorry, marry’) and after /θ, ð/ (‘three; forthright; with respect’)

- /d/ x [ɾ]: the contact for the tap of shorter duration and less complete, with a typical central hollowing of the tongue (the distinction btw [ɾ] in ‘carry’ x /d/ in ‘caddy’)

- SE and RP declamatory verse-speaking: the RP [ɹ] replaced by a lingual trill (or, roll) [r] = a rapid succession of taps by the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge

- some NortE and SE: uvular trill [ʀ] or uvular fricative [ʁ]

- some GA: the retroflexed [ɻ] anticipates the consonant and colours the preceding vowel > r-coloured vowels (‘bird, farm, lord’)

(c) palatal and labial-velar approximants (or, semi-vowels) /j, w/

- semi-vowel = a rapid vocalic glide onto a syllabic sound of greater steady duration

- the palatal /j/ glides from the position of /i:/ (‘year’)

- the labial-velar /w/ glides from the position of /u:/ (‘west’)

- vocalic in phonetic terms x but: consonantal wrt function (marginal rather than central in the syllable)

- articles in their pre-consonantal forms before /j/ and /w/ (‘the yard’ /ðə/; ‘a yacht’ /ə/)

- variation btw /jə/ and /ɪə/ in unaccented syllables (‘immediate, idiot, hideous’)

- devoicing of / j̥ / after accented /p, t, k/ (‘cue’ [k j̥ u:])

- partial devoicing of /w/ after voiceless consonants, complete devoicing of /w/ after accented /t, k/ > /ʍ/ = voiceless labial-velar approximant

- GA: /ju:/ esp. after /t, d/ > /u:/ (‘tune, dune, duty’)

- SE: words spelled <wh> > [ʍ] with a phonemic status (opposition btw ‘wine’ x ‘whine’)

(2.8) The Vowel Inventory of English

(2.8.1) The Distinctive Vowels

- the vowel inventory of E: 20 vowels

- 12 monophthongs, 8 diphthongs

(2.8.2) Relatively Pure Vowels

/i:/ (‘bead’)

- description: high front unrounded, near to Cardinal Vowel 1 [i]

- variants: diphthongization in final positions, RP glides from a position near to [ɪ] > [ɪi], CockE glides from the central position [ə] > [əi]

/ɪ/ (‘bid’)

- description: mid-high front unrounded

- variants: RP trend twd /ə/ in non-final unaccented syllables (‘quality’)

- NortE: substitutes RP /ɪ/ for [i] in all positions

/e/ (‘bed’)

- description: mid-low front unrounded, btw Cardinal Vowel 2 [e] and Cardinal Vowel 3 [ε]

- CockE: glides twd [ɪ] (‘bed’ [beɪd])

- NortE: substitutes RP /e/ for C[ε] in all positions

/æ/ (‘bad’)

- description: low front rounded

- GA and NortE: substitutes RP /ɑ:/ for /æ/ before a voiceless fricative (‘past’)

- SE: loss of distinction btw /æ/ x /a:/ (‘cam’ x ‘calm’)

/ʌ/ (‘bud’)

- description: low front unrounded, Cardinal Vowel 14

- NortE: loss of distinction btw /ʊ/ x /ʌ/ (‘put’ x ‘putt’)

/ɑ:/ (‘bard’)

- description: low front unrounded, near to Cardinal Vowel 5 [ɑ]

- rhotic dialects: substitute RP /ɑ:/ for /æ/ + /r/ (‘car, card, large’)

- SE: loss of contrast btw /ɑ:/ x /æ/ (‘palm’ x ‘Pam’; ‘calm’ x ‘cam’)

/ɒ/ (‘cod’)

- description: mid-high back rounded, quality of an open lip-rounded Cardinal Vowel 5 [ɑ]

- GA: substitutes RP /ɒ/ for /ɑ/ (loss of contrast btw ‘bomb x ‘balm’)

/ɔ:/ (‘cord’)

- description: mid-high back rounded, btw Cardinal Vowel 6 [ɔ] and Cardinal Vowel 7 [o]

- rhotic dialects: substitute RP /ɔ:/ for /ɒ/ + /r/ (‘horse, cord, war’)

- GA and SE: substitute RP /ɔ:/ for /ɒ/ (loss of distinction btw ‘cot’ x ‘caught’)

/ʊ/ (‘good’)

- description: mid-high back rounded

- SE: loss of opposition btw /ʊ/ x /u:/ (‘pull’ x ‘pool’)

- NortE: substitutes RP /ʌ/ for /ʊ/

/u:/ (‘food’)

- description: high back rounded, near to Cardinal Vowel 8 [u]

- CockE: diphthongization [əü]


- description: mid central unrounded; quality often coincides with that of /ə/ > /з:/ in accented syllables x /ə/ in unaccented syllables (‘foreword’ x ‘forward’)

- variants: the only accented vowel in the central area => many individual realisational variation

- SE: substitution of RP /з:/ for vowel + /r/ in the words spelled with vowel letter + <r>

- GA: substitution of RP /з:/ for r-coloured vowel [ɝ] in the words spelled with vowel letter + <r>


- description: mid central unrounded

- variants: no qualitative opposition in the central area => many individual variation

- SE: substitutes RP /ə/ for short full vowel + /r/ in the words spelled with vowel letter + <r>

- GA: substitutes RP /ə/ for r-coloured vowel [ɚ] in the words spelled with vowel letter + <r>

(2.8.3) Diphthongal Vowel Glides

= sequence of vocalic elements forming a glide within one syllable

- 1st element, the starting point > 2nd element, the point in the direction of the glide

- RP diphthongs: 1st element in the region of [ɪ, e, a, ə, u] > 2nd in [ɪ, ʊ, ə]

- falling diphthongs = most length of the glide concentrated on the 1st element

- rising diphthongs = most length of the glide concentrated on the 2nd element /ɪə, ʊə/

- closing diphthongs = gliding from a more open to a closer position /eɪ, aɪ, ɔɪ, əʊ, aʊ/

- particularly susceptible to variation in different regional and social dialects

/eɪ/ (‘fail’)

- CockE: substitutes RP /eɪ/ for [æɪ] (‘fate’); substitutes RP /aɪ/ for [ɑɪ] (‘fight’)

- SE, GA and NortE: substitute RP /eɪ/ for the monophthong [e:]

- (‘late, make, lady’)

/aɪ/ (‘file’)

- variants: differences in starting point

- (‘time, die, cry’)

/ɔɪ/ (‘foil’)

- description: the only glide of this type with a back starting point => asymmetrical in the RP diphthongal system

- CockE and SE: a closer starting point

- (‘boil, boy, toy’)

/əʊ/ (‘foal’)

- CockE: substitutes RP /əʊ/ for [æʊ]

- (‘both, toe, know’)

/aʊ/ (‘foul’)

- CockE: substitutes the 1st element for [ε] or [æ], or substitutes the RP diphthong /aʊ/ for the monophthong [a:]

- (‘house, council, allow’)

(2.8.4) Centering Diphthongs /ɪə, eə, ʊə/ (‘peer, pair, poor’)

- rhotic dialects: substitute the 2nd element of the RP diphthongs for /r/ in the words spelled with vowel letter + <r>

- CockE and NortE: substitute the RP diphthong /ʊə/ for the monophthong /ɔ:/

- (‘here, dear, weird; rare, pair, bear; poor, tour, endure’)

(2.9) Phonological Rules

[see (]

- phonological rules = describe the variations of the sounds in terms of simple statements about regular sound patterns

- not prescriptive x but: descriptive rules

(2.9.1) Allophones of English Consonants

(a) [− voiced, + stop] > [+ aspirated] when syllable initial

= voiceless stops /p, t, k/ > aspirated when syllable initial (‘pip’ [phɪp], ‘test’ [thεst], ‘kick’ [khɪk])

(a’) [ə] > [h] after syllable initial [− voiced, + stop] and before [− voiced, + stop]

= unstressed vowels > voiceless after syllable initial voiceless stop and before another voiceless stop (‘potato, catastrophe’)

(b) [+ voiced, + obstruent] > partially voiced when syllable final except when followed by a voiced sound

= voiced obstruents /b, d, g, v, ð, z, ʒ/ > partially voiced when at the end of an utterance or before a voiceless sound (/v/ in ‘prove this’; /d/ in ‘add two’)

(b’) [+ voiced, + stop] > partially voiced when syllable initial except when preceded by a voiced sound

= voiced stops /b, d, g,/ partially voiced when syllable initial after a voiceless sound

(c) [+ consonantal] > longer at the end of a phrase

= syllable final consonants > longer than syllable initial ones (‘bib, did, don x nod’)

(d) [+ approximant] > [− voiced] after [+ aspirated, + stop]

= approximants /w, ɹ, j, l/ > devoiced after voiceless aspirated /p, t, k/ (‘play’ [pl̥ eɪ], ‘twin’ [tw̥ ɪn], ‘cue’ [kj̥ u])

(d’) [– voiced, + stop] > [– aspirated] after /s/ at the beginning of a syllable

= voiceless stops /p, t, k/ > not aspirated after syllable initial /s/ (‘spew, stew, skew’)

(e) [− voiced] > longer at the end of a syllable

= (‘back x bag’, ‘cap x cab’)

(f) [+ stop] > unexploded before [+ stop]

= (‘apt’ [æpt], ‘act’ [ækt])

(g) [− voiced, + stop] > [+ glottal stop] + [− voiced, + stop] after a vowel and at the end of a syllable

= voiceless stops /p, t, k/ > reinforced by a glottal stop when syllable final after a vowel (‘tip’ [tɪʔp], ‘pit’ [pɪʔt], ‘kick’ [kɪʔk])

h) [− voiced, + alveolar, + stop] > [+ glottal stop] before an alveolar nasal in the same word

= the voiceless alveolar stop /t/ > replaced by a glottal stop before the alveolar nasal /n/ (‘beaten’ [biʔn])

(i) [+ nasal] > [+ syllabic] at the end of a word and immediately after [+ obstruent]

= nasals /m, n, ŋ/ > syllabic when word final after an obstruent (‘leaden’ ['lεdn̩ ], ‘chasm’ ['kæzṃ)

(j) [+ lateral] > [+ syllabic] at the end of a word and immediately after a consonant

= lateral /l/ > syllabic when word final after a consonant x but: not after /r/ for GA (‘paddle’ ['pædl̩ ], ‘whistle’ ['wɪsl̩ ], ‘kennel’ ['kεnl̩ ] x GA: ‘snarl’ [snɑɹl])

(j’) GA: [+ liquid] > [+ syllabic] at the end of a word and immediately after a consonant

= liquids = the cover term for /l, ɹ/ > syllabic when word final after a consonant (‘razor’ ['reɪzɹ ̩ ], ‘hammer’ ['hæmɹ ̩ ], ‘tailor’ ['teɪlɹ ̩ ])

(k) GA: [− voice, + alveolar, + stop] > [+ voiced, + tap] when the single consonant btw two vowels with the 2nd one unstressed

= the voiceless alveolar stop /t/ > replaced by a tap when btw two vowels with the 2nd one unstressed (‘fatty’ ['fæɾi], ‘data’ ['dæɾə])

(k’) GA: [+ alveolar, + stop] > [+ voiced, + tap] when the single consonant btw two vowels with the 2nd one unstressed

= alveolar stops /d, t, n/ > replaced by a tap when btw two vowels with the 2nd one unstressed (‘daddy’ ['dæɾi], ‘many’ ['mεɾ ͂ i]: [~] = indicates nasalisation when placed above a symbol x velarisation when in the middle of a symbol)

(l) [+ alveolar] > [+ dental] before [+ dental]

= the alveolar consonants /d, t, n, l/ > dentalised before dental consonants (‘eighth’ [eɪt̪θ], ‘width’ [wɪd̪θ], ‘tenth’ [tεn̪θ], ‘wealth’ [wεl̪θ])

(m) [+ alveolar, + stop] > zero (i.e. omitted) btw two consonants

= the alveolar stops /d, t/ > no audible release btw two consonants (‘most people, sand paper’)

(n) [+ consonant] > shortened before identical [+ consonant]

= (‘big game, top post’)

(o) zero > [− voice, + stop] after a nasal and before a voiceless fricative followed by an unstressed vowel

= the adding of a short voiceless stop [p], [t], [k] btw a nasal and a voiceless fricative before an unstressed vowel (‘something’ ['sʌmpθɪŋ], ‘youngster’ ['jʌŋkstə]): epenthesis = the insertion of a sound into the middle of a word

(p) [+ lateral] > velarized after a vowel and before another consonant or the end of a word

= (‘life’ [laɪf] x ‘file’ [faɪł], ‘clap’ [klæp] x ‘talc’ [tæłk])

(2.9.2) Allophones of English Vowels

- [+ vowel] > shorter before voiceless sounds in the same syllable (‘cap x cab’)

- [+ vowel] > longer in open syllables (‘sea x seed’, ‘sigh x side’)

- [+ vowel] > longer in stressed syllables (‘be'low x 'billow’)

- [+ vowel] > [+ nasal] before [+ nasal] (‘ban’ [bæ͂ n])

- [+ front, + vowel] > [+ retracted] before syllable final /l/

= front vowels > as if diphthongs with an unrounded form of [ʊ] as the last element before syllable final /l/ (‘peel’ [phiʊł], ‘pail’ [pheʊł], ‘pal’ [phæʊł])


Cruttenden, Alan, ed. Gimson's Pronunciation of English. London: Edward Arnold, 1998.

Ladefoged, Peter. A Course in Phonetics. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1993.

Other Sources

Šimáčková, Šárka. Přednášky a semináře: Fonetika. ZS 2002/03.


© 2008-2015 Všechna práva vyhrazena.