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Unformatted text preview: 1 Discussion Questions on Language Sounds and Writing 1. Although we perceive speech as a string of individual sounds, an instrumental record of speech shows that it is a continuous stream, with no clear breaks separating most sounds. Here are eight utterances with their acoustic waveforms. Under each waveform write the utterance which corresponds to it. Try to identify the “center” of each sound and what, in the pronunciation (= “articulation”) of the individual sounds causes the wave form to vary in amplitude (shown by longer or short striation). Say “u” all 9 lines. Say “q” all 9 lines. Say “u” all 10 lines. Say “q” all 10 lines. Say “u” all 9 times. Say “q” all 9 times. Say “u” all 10 times. Say “q” all 10 times. Say “q” all 9 times. Say “u” all 10 lines. Say “q” all 10 lines. Say “u” all 10 times. Say “u” all 9 lines. Say “u” all 9 times. Say “q” all 9 lines. Say “q” all 10 times. Phonetics 2 2. Speech sounds tend to be affected by word position and surrounding sounds, but speakers generally hear sets of sounds as “the same”, unconsciously compensating for the objective differences. In the table below, are the pairs of underlined sounds the same or different? If different, how do they differ and why? t all -st all The t of 'tall' is aspirated (has a puff of air after it). The t of 'stall', since it follows s , is unaspirated . To show this, hold a piece of paper in front of your mouth and pronounce the two words. The aspiration will cause the paper to move when you say 'tall', but the paper will not move when you say 'stall'. l ean - l awn The l of 'lean' is a "clear" or "light" l . The tongue is rather high in the mouth, near the palate, anticipating the HIGH FRONT vowel "ea" [i]. The l of 'lawn' is a "dark" l . Most of the tongue is drawn to the back of the mouth, anticipating the LOW BACK vowel "aw" [a]. To hear the difference, say the words slowly, trying to prolong the "l" sounds. writ er - rid er In American English, both t and d between vowels (at the beginning of an unstressed syllable) are pronounced as flapped sounds, similar to the "flapped r" found in many languages. For many (most?) American English speakers, t and d in this context become the same sound, which we may symbolize D , and words 'writer' and 'rider' are pronounced identically, both being pronounced [rayDr]. For some speakers, the words are pronounced differently, with the vowel preceding the t of 'writer' being shorter than the vowel preding the d of 'rider' (see the 'wri te - ri de' example below). Personally (RGS) I feel that I make a difference in the t and d , with the t being pronounced with a lighter tap against the alveolar ridge than with the d , but like nearly all speakers of American English, I pronounce both as flaps, and in fast speech, I may well pronounce them identically....
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- Spring '08
- The Canterbury Tales, International Phonetic Alphabet, Duality, Meaningful units, individual sounds