THE ENGLISHPHONETICSHANDBOOKTheoryPracticeTestsRusudan TkemaladzeTbilisi 2020
CONTENTSFOREWORD . 5SECTION A: THEORY . 6SOUNDS . 7Where are the sounds produced? . 7Letter and sound . 7Transcription . 8Consonants . 9Vowels . 10Monophthongs . 10Diphthongs . 12STRESS . 13Word Stress . 13Single-stressed words . 13Double-stressed words . 16Stress in compound words . 16Vowel Reduction . 16Sentence Stress . 17Strong and Weak Forms of Words . 19RHYTHM . 20INTONATION . 22ELEMENTS OF CONNECTED SPEECH . 26Assimilation . 26Elision . 27Linking . 28Changes in the Pronunciation Standards . 31SECTION B: PRACTICE . 34Texts 1 - 24 . 35-48SECTION C: TESTS . 49on Sounds . 50on Word Stress . 63on Sentence Stress and Rhythm . 66on Intonation . 69Answer Key . 72References . 803
Phonemic symbols for British EnglishVowelsɪeæəʌʊɒi:3:ɑ:u:ɔ:it hymnend breathhat marryabout teacherhut lovegood puthot sorryeat seehurt sirarm fartwo bluemore laweɪaɪɔɪɪəʊəeəəʊaʊplay greatfine eyeoil enjoyear heresure fewerair fairoh loadhow houseConsonantspbtdtʃdʒkgfvθðpay appearbuy abouttea Tbilisiday adorechange achievejust Georgiakey accuseget againfew afraidvery everythrow Thursdaythe thatszʃʒmnŋhlrwjsee asidezoo zebrashoe ashoreleisure pleasuremore hammerno anyEnglish youngharm aheadlight feelred sorryworry awareyellow New YorkDictionaries used: Daniel Jones. English Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge University Press.J .C. Wells. Pronunciation Dictionary. Longman.Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford University Press.Cambridge online dictionary - https://dictionary.cambridge.org/4
FOREWORDEnglish has become the international language for business, politics and culture. It has becomethe Lingua Franca, the language of communication for peoples of different countries andnationalities. This has influenced and, to a certain degree, changed the traditional Britishpronunciation in various ways. The Handbook introduces the theoretical and practical aspectsof English phonetics and tries to reflect modern ‘educated’ (standard) Britishpronunciation, considering the recent changes and developments in this field. In a number ofcases parallels are drawn with American English, on the one hand, and the phonetic system ofthe Georgian language, on the other.The Handbook has three sections: Theory, Practice and Tests. The Theory sectionintroduces the key theoretical aspects of English Phonetics: its sound system, the peculiaritiesof word and sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, etc. The Practice Section makes it possiblefor the learners to actually develop the correct pronunciation through listening. The Testsection of the Handbook helps the teachers to measure their students’ progress. This section isaccompanied by the keys, which makes self-assessment also possible. I have tried to make theTheory and Test sections as practice-oriented as possible - keeping in mind that the Handbookis intended to develop the listening / speaking / pronunciation skills of the learners. Pleasenote that the Theory, Practice and Test sections should be done in parallel with eachother.The Handbook has been prepared for University students as the textbook in EnglishPhonetics. It can as well be used by the teachers and students of English at any level as a‘guide’ to correct pronunciation.I am very grateful to my colleagues for reading the draft and giving me valuablerecommendations for improving the material.5
Section ATHEORYWhat are the English sounds and how do they differ from our mother tongue sounds? Whichsyllable is stressed within a word and which words are stressed within a sentence? How doesthe pronunciation of an isolated word differ from its pronunciation in connected speech? Whatis, after all, the secret of good English pronunciation and how to achieve it? The Handbook,which gives a brief outline of the course in English phonetics, will help you to answer thesequestions, but remember that fluent and easily intelligible pronunciation can be achieved onlyafter very intensive practice.The main elements of English pronunciation are sound, stress, rhythm, intonation andelements of connected speech. Thus, Phonetics studies where and how the sounds areproduced and pronounced, where and how the words are stressed, how these words arerhythmically and intonationally combined within a sentence and what are the means and waysof naturally and fluently connecting the words in a sentence i.e. what are the elements ofconnected speech. Respectively, this section of The Handbook is divided into five main parts:1. Sounds2. Stress: word stress and sentence stress3. Rhythm4. Intonation5. Elements of connected speech6
SOUNDSWhere are the sounds produced?The sounds are all produced in the vocal tract. The picture below shows the vocal tract with itsconstituent elements: oral and nasal cavities, hard and soft palates, alveolar ridge, lips, tongue,teeth, pharynx, larynx and vocal cords. English sounds differ according to where and how theyare produced within the vocal tract.Letter and soundWe write and see a letter, but pronounce and hear a sound. Words are made of individualsounds. For example, the word task consists of four sounds and the word hit - of three. Bychanging one sound, we can change the word and its meaning. If we replace the sound /t/ withthe sound /m/, we get mask instead of task. And if we change /ɪ/ to /i:/, we get heat insteadof hit. task – mask and hit – heat make minimal pairs of English as they differ by one soundor phoneme. Thus, phoneme is the minimal speech unit differentiating the meaning of oneword from another. In a number of languages the number of letters and phonemes (sounds)coincide. They are called phonetic languages and are easy to read and write. Georgian, likeLatin, is one of the phonetic languages: it has 33 letters and 33 sounds (28 consonants and 5vowels): each letter corresponds to one sound and each sound is represented by only oneletter. English is different: 26 alphabetic letters (20 consonants and 6 vowels) are realised inspeech by 44 sounds (24 consonant and 20 vowel sounds). English is exceptionally rich inthe sound inventory, especially in vowels.7
This not one-to-one correspondence between written letters and spoken sounds (spelling andpronunciation) causes reading and pronunciation difficulties in English. You never know howto pronounce a word as one letter can give several sounds and one sound can correspond todifferent letters. e.g. the letter ‘a’ is pronounced as /æ/ in cat, /eɪ/ in hate, /ɑ:/ in far and /eə/ infare. On the other hand, the sound /k/ can correspond to four different letters, as shown in thewords: call, kiss, equal and technical. This is the same chnicalequalHere are some other examples of not one-to-one correspondence between the number of letters(spelling) and the number of sounds (pronunciation) within a word. The word book has fourletters b-o-o-k but three sounds /bʊk/, the word wrong has five letters w-r-o-n-g and againthree sounds /rɒŋ/ and the word though has six letters but only two sounds /ðəʊ/.Transcription: As English spelling and pronunciation are not systematically related and it isoften difficult to say how to pronounce a word, there are special symbols for indicating thesounds. They are called the phonemic symbols or the transcription. The transcriptionindicates significant sound differences and makes a very useful tool for correct pronunciationand speech description. Transcription helps you to correctly pronounce the words - by meansof special symbols for each sound. Each transcription symbol indicates one sound. Thetranscription symbols, like the sounds, are 44 in number.The phonemic chart below shows the sounds of English. The vowels are shown in the upperhalf: monophthongs on the left and diphthongs on the right. The consonants are shown in thelower half.The phonemic chart of English. Adrian Underhill8
Remember: In each case you want to correctly pronounce a word, refer to a dictionary andsee the transcription. It helps!Sounds are divided into two major groups of consonants and vowels. The difference betweenvowels and consonants lies in the way they are produced.ConsonantsConsonants are the sounds during the production of which there is some kind of obstruction tothe flow of air as it passes from the larynx to the lips. 24 English consonant sounds are dividedinto three main groups according to: a. the place of articulation (where are they produced?);b. the manner of articulation (how are they produced? Is there any restriction to the airflow?); c. the work of the vocal cords (do the vocal cords vibrate?).a. According to the place of articulation consonants can be:bilabial: /p b m w/labio-dental: /f v/interdental: /θ ð/alveolar: /t d n s z l/post-alveolar: /r/palatal: /ʃ ʒ tʃ dʒ j/velar: /k g ŋ/glottal: /h/b. According to the manner of articulation consonants can be:nasal: /m n ŋ/plosive: /p b t d k g/fricative: /f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ h/affricate: /tʃ dʒ/lateral: /l/continuant: /r/semi-consonant: /w j/c. According to the work of the vocal cords consonants can be:voiceless (the vocal cords do not vibrate): /p t tʃ k f θ s ʃ h/voiced (the vocal cords vibrate): /b d dʒ g v ð z ʒ m n ŋ l r w j/English has some consonant sounds which do not exist in Georgian: /f θ ð ŋ j w/Georgian consonant sounds not existing in English are: ჟ ღ ყ ც ძ წ ჭ ხ9
Voiceless plosives /p t k/ are the aspirated sounds. Aspiration is a slight puff of breathheard and felt after these consonants before the beginning of the vowel immediatelyfollowing. e.g. palm tea careful. If you put your hand close to your lips and whisper theword pie you can feel the burst of air coming out after the release of /p/. Other examples ofaspiration are: appointment party take attention corn-cake character. Aspiration isstrong if /p t k/ sounds are followed by a stressed vowel (as in the examples above). On theother hand, aspiration is lost when /p t k/ are preceded by the sound /s/. Practise saying spystay and sky so as not to aspirate the /p t k/ sounds. Aspiration does not cause anydifficulty for Georgian learners because the same sounds (ფ თ ქ) are aspirated in Georgiantoo, as in the words: ფაფა, თეა and ქუდი.VowelsVowels are sounds during the production of which there is no obstruction to the flow of air asit passes from the larynx to the lips. 20 English vowel sounds are divided into 12monophthongs and 8 diphthongs.Monophthongs are single units of speech consisting of one element. They are 12 in number:/i://ɪ//ɑ://ʌ //ɔ://ɒ//u://ʊ//ɜ://ə//e//æ/eve see lead machineit hit omit hymnarm farmfather afternoonuncle luck love aboveor thought award cautiousoften sock allocate washooze noon two queuefoot pulllookout cookerearly fir girl returnaround America perhaps registerend men
The Handbook has been prepared for University students as the textbook in English Phonetics. It can as well be used by the teachers and students of English at any level as a ‘guide’ to correct pronunciation. I am very grateful to my colleagues for reading the draft and giving me valuable recommendations for improving the material. 6 Section A THEORY What are the English sounds and how do .
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