Phonetics & Phonology

Phonetics & Phonology

Phonetics & Phonology John Corbett: USP-CAPES International Fellow Session 7: Contrastive analysis: consonants What is my accent? Todays session This session: English and Brazilian phonological systems Vowels Source of information Vowels RP English has 12 vowels and 10 diphthongs Brazilian Portuguese has 8 vowels and 6 diphthongs When pronouncing English the red vowels can cause problems. General The unshaded vowels have near equivalents or equivalents in Portuguese. i:

e a : u: : : a e a a

/i:/ is shortened by Portuguese speakers and can be confused with // Minimal pairs: /i:/ versus // rich reach hit heat live leave bin bean Tim team i: e a

: u: : : a e a a // can be confused with // Minimal pairs: // versus / /

beg bag head had leg lag bread Brad ten tan i: e a : u: : :

a e a a /:/ is shortened by Portuguese speakers and can be confused with // (This happens in Scotland too!) Minimal pairs: /:/ versus / / aunt hard bard heart

art at ant had bad hat i: e a : u: : :

a e a a /:/ can be confused with //, or sometimes // (Again, this happens in Scotland too!) Minimal pairs: /:/ versus / / and // caught cot cut sport spot hot hut corn con fawn fun

i: e a : u: : : a e

a a /u:/ can be confused with // Minimal pairs (in some pronunciations...ie without /j/ in Luke, suit): /u:/ versus / / fool full Luke look pool pull shooed should suit soot i:

e a : u: : : a e a a //can be confused with //, or sometimes /u:/ because of the spelling.

// versus / / and sometimes / u:/ Minimal pairs: hut hat hoot mud mad ton tan run ran fun fan mood i: e a

: u: : : a e a a Unstressed vowels are often given their full value by speakers of syllable-timed languages like Portuguese. This affects the pronunciation of weak forms: Non-contrastive (unstressed) (stressed) Unstressed

vowels the woman Contrastive the woman an awful mistake a text an awful mistake A is for apple i: e a : u:

: : a e a a It is common to add an intrusive unstressed vowel (epenthetic vowel) to separate consonants when they are doubled, or when there is a consonant cluster: Juncture issues Unstressed vowels this stop at that time you have space http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe8_aka_qlw i:

e a : u: : : a e

a a Diphthongs, especially // and /e/ There are fewer diphthongs in Portuguese than in English. The main problems are usually with those diphthongs used before silent /r/ in non-rhotic RP: Minimal pairs fear fair/fare beer bear/bare deer/dear dare hear hair/hare i:

e a : u: : : a e a a Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) 1. Say the following words.

Advice on difficult vowels /bi:t/ beat /bi:d/ bead Say them quickly as well as drawn out. Can you notice any difference in length. If not, then shorten the duration you give to each vowel until you found a point when one of them still sounds acceptable while the other has become too short to be identifiable. Which is which? Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) 1. Say the following words. Consciousn ess raising activities /bi:t/ beat /bi:d/

bead Say them quickly as well as drawn out. Can you notice any difference in length. If not, then shorten the duration you give to each vowel until you found a point when one of them still sounds acceptable while the other has become too short to be identifiable. Which is which? What you say observe is that /i:/ in bead tends (or needs) to be a little longer than /i:/ in beat. Dont be put off by the fact that you can give them both the same length. Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) 2. Here is the same experimente with // Consciousn ess raising activities /bt/ bit /bd/ bid Say each aloud and whispered. Can you notice any difference in length? If not, then shorten the duration you give to each vowel until you found a point when one of them still sounds acceptable while the other

has become too short to be identifiable. Which is which? Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) 2. Here is the same experimente with // Consciousn ess raising activities /bt/ bit /bd/ bid Say each aloud and whispered. Can you notice any difference in length? If not, then shorten the duration you give to each vowel until you found a point when one of them still sounds acceptable while the other has become too short to be identifiable. Which is which? Even if you cant find any difference, the action of trying to observe length more accurately will help develop y0ur sensitivity to the variables of sound production. In my [ie Adrian Underhills] opinion it is your sensitivity rather than your accuracy that ultimately facilitates your learners learning. Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19)

Consciousn ess raising activities 3. Now compare the relative length of /i:/ and // in this context: /bi:t/ beat /bd/ bid Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) Consciousn ess raising activities 3. Now compare the relative length of /i:/ and // in this context: /bi:t/ beat /bd/ bid Here you may find that the long and the short vowel

are roughly the same length. So what is going on? Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) Commentary Consciousn ess raising activities The general tendency you may have observed in these examples is that vowels are shortened in stressed syllables closed by a fortis [unvoiced] consonant, e.g. /p, t, , k, f, , s, / and are given more length in stressed syllables closed by a lenis [voiced] consonant, eg /b, d, , , v, , z, /. (Fortis, meaning strong, describes consonants characteristically produced with strong breath force. In English, these are coincidentally the unvoiced consonants. Lenis, meaning gentle,describes consonants characteristically produced with weaker breath force. In English these are coincidentally the voiced consonants.) Discovery activity (Underhill, pp.18-19) Commentary Consciousn ess raising activities This tendency (and it is a tendency, not a rule) operates on both long and short vowels (ie with and

without length marks), so that in the previous activity, you may have found that a long vowel /i:/ before an unvoiced consonant can be approximately the same length as a short vowel // before a voiced consonant. Length marks do not indicate that a vowel is absolutely longer all the time. Length is quite a variable matter, depending particularly on whether the syllable is stressed or not [...] and on the quality of the neighbouring sounds. For your own practice They try to make you comfortable, they try to put you in a quite nice situation, with the standard food, that look more like dog food, than food proper for wild animals, all right? If you try to compare, the situations and the environment that we live in here with the environment that we live in Brazil, there is a big difference. Here, you live in a very small place with all the technological advances possible. You have... eh... everything sorted out, double glazing, you know, your heating, and everything. In Brazil - but you don't have space! In Brazil you have space although you don't have all this technological, you know, double glazing and things like that... ...you know... but you have space and... eh... we need space to live, we need space to feel that we are part of the world, not a kind of a piece of object in a box! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe8_aka_qlw

Today we have looked at those vowels that are known to cause particular difficulties for Portuguese speakers, because of the differences in the two phonemic systems. Take home messages It is assumed by most teachers/phoneticians that we can use contrastive activities (often based on minimal pairs) to do ear training - that is, to improve your perception of the slight differences in quality and length of vowels in the target system. Ear training raises your sensitivity or consciousness of phonemic contrasts by systematic and repeated exposure to phonemes in contrasting contexts. It is further assumed that as your perception of phonemic contrasts improves, your production of those contrasts will also improve.

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