ENGLISH PHONETICS and
PHONOLOGY I – 2013
Prof. Adriana Gonzalez
What is a PHONEME?
It is the smallest contrastive phonological unit.
What are MINIMAL PAIRS?
“Minimal Pairs are words in which all the
sounds or phonemes are the same
except for one. They show that a change
in a phoneme implies a change in
hat /ht/ heart /hA:t/
Allophones are sounds, while Phonemes are sets of such sounds;
They are the variations of those phonemes.
Because the reléase stage is so abrupt when we are producing voiceless plosives /p/ /t/ /k/
in IP in stressed / accented syllables, these sounds have a slight variation:
They are ASPIRATED. Aspiration is a voiceless interral or a puff of air
between the release of the voiceless plosives and the following sound.
potato /p.teI.t U/
Voiceless plosives preceded by /s/ in a syllable, they are
produced without aspiration.
All plosives in FP can be RELEASED or UNRELEASED, this
means the air that was compressed behind the complete oral
closure can be liberated or not.
tip /tIp/ or /tIp /
Released with a bit
Meg /meg/ or /meg /
talk /tO:k or /tO:k /
When there’re two plosives together in a cluster, the 1st is
UNRELEASED and only the 2nd is RELEASED.
stopped /stp t/
marked /mA:k t/
If a consonant is UNRELEASED, it is articulated but not produced
ALLOPHONES of the /l/ phoneme
o clear ^[l]: It resembles the /i/ sound, with the front of the tongue raised. (light, look)
o It occurs before vowels;
o it will never occur before a consonant or a pause;
o dark : It has a quality similar to the /u/ sound, with the back of the tongue raised. (milk,
hold, call, trial)
o it never occurs before vowels;
o it is found when it precedes a consonant sound;
o devoiced [l]: it means that it is produced without the voicing found in most realisation of this
phoneme. (play, class)
o it is found when it follows /p/ or /k/ at the beginning of a stressed syllable.