Phonetics of English

5064 Words Nov 5th, 2011 21 Pages
Phonetics of English

1. Classification of English consonants
2. Classification of English vowels
3. Modifications of consonants and vowels
4. British and American pronunciation models. Most distinctive features of American English pronunciation
5. Suprasegmental phonetics

1. Classification of English consonants
Russian phoneticians classify consonants according to the following principles: i) degree of noise; ii) place of articulation; iii) manner of articulation; iv) position of the soft palate; v) force of articulation.
(I) There are few ways of seeing situation concerning the classification of English consonants. According to V.A. Vassilyev primary importance should be given to the type of obstruction and the manner of
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Russian phoneticians suggest a classification of vowels according to the following principles: 1) stability of articulation; 2) tongue position; 3) lip position; 4) character of the vowel end; 5) length; 6) tenseness.
1. Stability of articulation. This principle is not singled out by British and American phoneticians. According to Russian scholars vowels are subdivided into: a) monophthongs (the tongue position is stable); b) diphthongs (it changes, that is the tongue moves from one position to another); c) diphthongoids (an intermediate case, when the change in the position is fairly weak).
Diphthongs are defined differently by different authors. A.C. Gimson, for example, distinguishes 20 vocalic phonemes which are made of vowels and vowel glides. D. Jones defines diphthongs as unisyllabic gliding sounds in the articulation of which the organs of speech start from one position and then glide to another position. There are two vowels in English [i:, u:] that may have a diphthongal glide where they have full length, and the tendency for diphthongization is becoming gradually stronger.
2. The position of the tongue. According to the horizontal movement Russian phoneticians distinguish five classes: 1) front; 2) front-retracted; 3) central; 4) back; 5) back-advanced.
British phoneticians do not single out the classes of front-retracted and back-advanced vowels. So both [i:] and [ɪ] are classed as front, and both [u:] and [] are classed as back.
The way British and