Overview Unit 13
English Pronunciation has many varieties as it’ spoken globally and there are of different accents which also come into play. Exact pronunciation shows where you come from and gives you pride when you speak it properly. It express feeling , reactions, general mood of a person etc. The greatest difficulty for a foreign student will be this as their native language will probably using different alphabets or speaking with different stress points in their native languages .
Phonology is the study, science, analysis, and classification of the physical properties of sounds.
Following are the mains points which we should look at in depth.
The main reason for this is that the main interest of someone engaged in the act of communication is in trying to understand the meaning of what is being said. However, some sort of instinctive perception is essential for a full understanding of what is being said, and some sort of analytical perception is useful for correct production.
Intonation is generally considered to be the variation in volume and pitch in a whole sentence, whereas stress is more concerned with individual words.
Intonation carries the message in a sentence. It is particularly important in questioning, agreeing or disagreeing, or confirming statements. It is also fundamental in the expression of emotions or feelings, e.g. sadness, happiness,disbelief, uncertainty etc.
Note also that native speakers normally use the same intonation pattern in straightforward questions. If a teacher said:
How do you spell “rough”? Volume “ROUGH” is high
Intonation rises to spell and falls right down on rough, indicating that the teacher has finished what he wants to say and it is up to the student to figure it out and reply!
When you finish what you want to say, the intonation falls – in positive and negative statements, questions, greetings,and instructions. If the person being addressed wants to reply, they can; it's up to them.
The second common intonation pattern is the fall/rise pattern. This indicates surprise and often disagreement, but above all indicates that the speaker wants the person to whom he's speaking to respond or confirm. Look at these four greetings again:
e.g. Hi! How you doing? Hello! Good morning!
Finally, we can have a kind of level intonation which is basically flat, which often indicates that the speaker doesn't really have that much to say, and perhaps doesn't want to communicate.
Common instances are normally short ones like:
Carry on Don't stop I understand etc…
Intonation patterns can be powerful predictors of the nature of forthcoming information. This can be seen on football results where winners are given emphasis on the amount of gaols they score.
Techniques for indicating and teaching intonation
Humming or Singing
In a sentence it’s the stressed word or word that bears the principal emphasis in the sentence.
Here are two very simple rules about word stress to start:
1. One word has only one stress, and can't have two stresses. There can be a
“secondary” stress in some words, but a secondary stress is much smaller than the
main (primary) stress, and is only used in longer words.
2. We can only stress syllables, not individual vowels or consonants.
Techniques for indicating and teaching stress
By gesture , Choral work, The board, Stress marks
Sound joining :
There are four major ways that sounds join together in English:
Sound dropping (t,d),
The phonemic alphabet
Pronunciation and spellings have very many variations, thus there is constant battle for getting the right pronunciation to come out of the mouth. This brings the phonemic alphabet into play.
It is perfectly possible to work on the sounds of English without ever using these phonemic symbols but we would perhaps be doing our students a disservice.
Phonemic alphabet will certainly make things easier for the teacher and the students if they can develop a working knowledge of the system.
Articulation : the way in which you pronounce words or produce sounds
Say 'bat', followed by 'pat'. You should feel a vibration in your throat with the /b/ sound and nothing at all for the / / sound. This is because /b/ is voiced, i.e. you make a noise when your vocal chords are vibrating, and / p is unvoiced – this is purely
The Speech Organs
Human speech is an enormously complex area of study; linguists are constantly learning more about this amazing human instinct. We've begun our investigation by looking at the vocal cords, but other organs are involved as well. They include
The tongue, The larynx , The glottis
The under mentioned are areas of the month
The alveolar ridge
The hard palate
The soft palate
Velar : The soft palate is also known as the velum. When the back of the tongue is raised and strikes the velum,
velar consonants are produced.
Palatal:Here, the central part of your tongue comes in close contact with the central part of the roof of your mouth, as in the /j/sound at the start of yellow
Palatal-alveolar: Make the / 3/ sound. Can you feel where your tongue is? The tip of the tongue should be between the alveolar ridge (the bony area just behind the top teeth) and the palate
Alveolar: When you think of words like “dentist”, you can imagine that dental consonants somehow involve the teeth. In English, there are two dental sounds in which the tongue is placed between the teeth.
Labio-dental : The word “labio” has to do with the lips, and as you know, “dental” has to do with the teeth. In English there are two consonants that are produced by having the top teeth come in contact with the lower lips. One of them is /f/. The other is /v/.
Bilabial : As you can probably guess, “bi” means “two”, so “bilabial” means two lips. Several sounds in English are made by putting the lips together, like the /p sound. Three other bilabials are /b/, /m/, and /w/.
Glottal : The opening between the vocal cords is called the glottis. In English, there is one sound in which air is restricted at the glottis. Can you identify the sole glottal consonant? There is only one sound that uses
Manner of Articulation : As you probably found out in the last section on bilabial sounds, /p/, /b/, and /m/ are all made by
putting the lips together. Although /p/ and /b/ are essentially formed in the same way (with /p/
being voiceless and /b/ being voiced), there is a definite difference between /b/ and /m/, for
example. This difference is referred to as manner of articulation.
Plosive: These sounds are identified by linguists as plosives. Why? Think of the word “explode”. Before you make each of
these sounds, the air is completely blocked before being released in an explosive manner. For reference examples
look up page 17 on letters /p/, /t/, /b/, /d/, /k/, /g/
Fricative : These sounds are known as fricatives. Can you see the connection to the word “friction”?. Eg /f/, /v/, /s/
Nasal : All nasal sounds are produced by making an obstacle in the mouth and lowering the soft palate so that air can only escape through the nasal cavity. Three sounds can be identified as nasals: /m/, /n/ and /N/.
Lateral : Lateral consonants are pronounced with the air escaping on the side of the tongue rather than on the front. Strictly speaking, the lateral quality is not really a “place of articulation” as such, and can be combined with other properties of the consonants.
Affricate : One sequence commonly found in English is the succession of a plosive by the corresponding fricative. It then often happens that the release of the plosive merges with the attack of the fricative to form an affricate. In other words, an affricate pair is a plosive with constrictive release. Examples of affricates found in English are the /tS/sound in the word “church” and the /dZ/ sound in “judge” (the voiced counterpart).
Approximant : A sound which is produced by narrowing (but not blocking) the vocal tract, by placing the tongue near another part of the vocal tract.
Teaching techniques for the pronunciation of individual sounds
Your own mouth