Introduction to phonetics
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Introduction to phonetics



An introduction to phonetics whose aim is to familiarize the lay person with the sort of problems Spanish speakers encounter when learning English.

An introduction to phonetics whose aim is to familiarize the lay person with the sort of problems Spanish speakers encounter when learning English.



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Introduction to phonetics Introduction to phonetics Presentation Transcript

  • For learners of English with a focus on Spanish speakers By Morris A. Gevirtz
  • What communication is and isn’t  Communication is the sending of singnals intended to be perceived as intended that reflect some mental state of the sender.  The modes of communication are  Sounds  Intentionally communicative behavior  Signs  Acting out a behavior  Simply doing something in the viewof another  Communication is dependant on mutual knowledge.  New ideas are communicated at the rate of ONE NEW IDEA at a time, more or less.
  • Sound-Based Communication  There are standard sounds and sound changes which, by convention, have been associated with meaning.  Meaning bearing units are expected to come in certain order  And to vary only by a certain amount without changing meaning.
  • First phonetics notions  The human sound signal is produced by means of 1-3 sound sources and 1-2 filters.  Most vowels and consonants produced (are differentiated) by means of the filter.  The main filter is the mouth.  The second filter is the nasal passage.  The nasal passage is an on/off filter.  The mouth-filter is much more complex.
  • Sound (noise) sources  The vocal folds  The sound of air hitting the trachea  The tongue (hitting surfaces)  The uvula  The lips
  • First Notions Cont.  With the tongue and lips speakers alter the sound coming from the vocal chords.  If you restrict the passage of air completely, then you will produce a consonant when open your mouth.  a stop.  Followed by a little explosion  By contrast, a VOWEL is a very minor closure of the air passage.
  •  X ray video
  • Phonemes  The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is an attempt to have standard writing system to represent all the MEANINGFUL sounds of human languages.  Ask yourself if these are the same words:  Casa, caza  Paso, baso  Ves, vez
  • Consonantal Phonemes  In Spanish writing the sounds /θ/ contrasts as a unit of meaning with the sound /s/.  These two sounds are represented in the writing system by different characters.  /θ/ by ci, ce, z /s/ by s-  However in Spanish there does not seem to be a contrast between /ð/ and /θ/.  [ð] shows up when /d/ is produced between vowels. Ademán, adentro, idílico.
  • English Phonemes  In English, depending on the dialect, there are 40-45 phonemes.  24 are consonants, which for most dialects, are the same.  African Englishes have fewer.  Americans have about 15 vowel phonemes  Australians have about 21 vowel phonemes.
  • IPA Chart Supposedly all of the sounds of human languages. That is, all of the sounds which could be phonemic!
  • Problems for Spanish Speakers  There are more phonemic (contrasting) vowel sounds in English.  These sounds are represented in the writing system by combinations of vowel-graphs and consonant-graphs  There are more consonant sounds in English  AND they are found in places where consonants are NOT found in Spanish.
  • Structure Contrast English Spanish • Many consonant groups • Few • Consonants appear at the beginning or end of syllables, words. • Consonants only rarely appear at the end of syllables and especially words. • Consonant groups can come at the end of a syllable • Syllable-final consonants are almost always single and vowel-like • Almost all consonants show a voicing contrast • Only three consonant pairs show a consonant contrast • There are three contrasting nasal consonants in English • There are three contrasting nasal consonants in Spanish Two in the beginning of syllable Three in the beginning Three at the end. None at the end. • Intonation peaks can apperar anywhere in a sentence. • Intonantions are usually fixed.
  • Outcomes  English sentences are organized different.  Theme vs. Rheme  Spanish ears cannot parse English sentences.  Spanish tongues have a hard time contrasting sounds.  Spanish speakers have a hard time making use of their knowledge to accelerate their acquisition of English.
  • Low-noise sounds  Semi-vowels  Vowels