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The Vocalic Phonemes in English

The Vocalic Phonemes in English. A new perspective. Introduction. The Big Picture of Phonology based on analysis and segmentation. Extended view based on morphology and contextual phonemes Unstressed vowels  schwa / ə / or /  /

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The Vocalic Phonemes in English

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  1. The Vocalic Phonemes in English A new perspective

  2. Introduction • The Big Picture of Phonology based on analysis and segmentation • Extended view based on morphology and contextual phonemes • Unstressed vowels  schwa /ə/ or // • Stressed closed syllables  short vowels • Stressed open syllables  long vowels, diphthongs

  3. Overview: Vowels Description in R.P. phonological system • Distinctive features: • Quality: • Tongue position • Mouth opening • Secondary Features: • Roundness, Tenseness • Quantity: • Length (D. Jones, 1917, 1991) Pete boot pit pert put pet Peter port pat putt pot part

  4. Diphthongs & Semivowels Diphthongs • Lengthening into a central glide • Classification • Closing diphthongs • Lengthening of original vowels • Centring diphthongs • Towards neutralization • Other feature: • Rising diphthongs Semivowels (/j/, /w/) • Frictionless Approximants, • near vowel realization, • but not syllabic nucleus, falling on vowel Examples: yes, wet, tabulation

  5. Stress • Influence of Stress and Morphology • Phrase stress (Phrase as the basic information unit, Brown &Yule, 1983) • Structural words (unstressed: tendency to schwa) • Lexical words (stressed & unstressed syllables) • 40% sounds are vowels, 20% are /ə/, /I/ (Fry, 1947)  50% • 65% vowels are unstressed, 90%  /ə/, /I/. (Brooks,1994) • Tendency Centralization of unstressed vowels

  6. Historical background • The Great Vowel Shift • Stressed short vowels in closed syllables remained short: C`VC • Stressed long vowels in open syllables suffered a lengthening and raising, which broke most of them up into diphthongs: C`V·CV • (B. Strang, 1970) i: a, eə,a u e  

  7. The Regular Pattern of the Pronunciation of English Vowels • Neutralization of unstressed vowels • V (/ə/, /Ι/)  some disappear (Ø) • Stressed Syllable Patterns: • C`VC · CV Short vowels • C`V · CV Long vowel & Diphthongs • Variations: • Neighbouring consonants • Late affixation • (Sánchez-Villalón, 1994) • 84% regular pattern spelling (Brookes, 1997) -aC- : // -eC- : /e/ -iC - : // -oC- : // -uC- ://, // cat pet sit pot put,cut -a- : /e/ -e- : /i:/ -i - : /a/ -o- : /ə/ -u- :/j/, /u:/ name evening site nose student

  8. Phonotactic Variations

  9. Morphophonological variations • Influence of affixation Word stress • Weak (No effect) • a-, -ness, -less /ə/ : about, careless, happiness • -y /I/ : happy, rainy • -able (comfortable) -ance (appliance) • Strong • Stressed, -ese (Chinese), -eer (engineer) • Unstressed, -ic, -al, -ion shifting stress to the preceding syllable (history  historical, maniac maniacal) • False affixation • Famּily, famּine, • Technical terms: • Syllabic spelling for clarity: hydroxide,photoelectric, tabulation

  10. Influence on Spelling • Closed Syllables match Pronunciation & Spelling • Ending –e =stripe (cf. strip) • Doubling consonants in inflections • ed, ing, er, est =begin  beginning, but open opening • Doubling consonants in affixation • -ish, -y:reddish, sunny, robbery, flippancy • Others: cottage, pattern, middle

  11. Application to teaching • In Reading: • Whole language vs phonics • phonics /΄fəUnּIks/ noun [U], a method of teaching people to read based on the sounds that letters represent (OALD definition). • Mix of both approaches • In Listening: • Listening comprehension -- for meaning (stressed words) • Repeating listened utterances (isolated & connected speech). Group repetition

  12. Activity 1:Listening comprehensionAn economical conversation • Stressed/Unstressed Words in connected speech: (Listening comprehension: Basic Level.Students try to copy most prominent, meaningful words down. Then, they read and fill with structural words) • morning, Dad. • morning Tom. • mind doing favour ? • What Tom? • wondering lend fiver ? • seems lot. What for? • Janet’s birthday Saturday. • giving diamond ring ? When pay back ? • soon can Dad . Thank much Dad.

  13. Activity 2: MultiskillInferring pronunciation from spelling • Advanced level. Reading a text with new words for advanced students (technical, literary or from the newspaper) • Reading & asking for meaning or Reading aloud: Sample text: “The wrought iron rivets that fastened the hull plates to the Titanic's main structure also failed because of brittle fracture during the collision with the iceberg. Low water temperatures contributed to this failure” • Student: What is the meaning of … the second word? The one with iron? • Teacher: /r:t/ iron? • Yes. /r:t/ • Wrought iron is “Hierro forjado”… • And is it /’rvət/ or /’ravət/? • Short I influenced by –v-. /’rvət/ And /’brtəl/ as it is a closed syllable. Notice –tt-

  14. Activity 3: Music (listening) • Identify the final rhyming vowel phonemes (Listening for specific sounds) • (A rap song) … Always have fun Always on the run Can’t rap now Till I see the sun You see 20 dollars Laying in the ground Try to pick it up But it moved across town from The English Language by David Crystal (1988)

  15. Listening and Note-taking Sometimes I just feel like my father, I hate to be bothered with all of this nonsense it's constant And, "Oh, it's his lyrical content -- the song 'Guilty Conscience' has gotten such rotten responses“And all of this controversy circles me and it seems like the media immediately points afinger at me (finger at me).. EMINEM, The Way I Am, Marshall Mathers, 2000

  16. References • Brookes, M, (1997) Pronounce English, Barcelona: Larousse • Brown, G. & Yule, G. (1983) Discourse Analysis, Cambridge:C.U.P • Finch, D.F. & Ortiz Lira, D., (1982), A Course in English Phonetics for Spanish Speakers, London: Heinemann • Jones, D., (1917) English Pronouncing Dictionary, 14th ed. 1991, Cambridge: C.U.P • Sánchez-Villalón, P.P., “The Pronunciation Rule of English”, in Estudios Filológicos Angloamericanos, (1994) Ed.: L. Mora, Cuenca: UCLM • Strang, B. M.H.; (1970) A History of English, London: Methuen

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