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Modification of Consonants in Connected Speech


Мета: to find out about the main modifications of consonants in connected speech.

Короткі теоретичні відомості

Assimilation – is a process of alteration of speech sounds as a result of which one of the sounds becomes fully or partly similar to the adjoining sound.

Assimilation can affect the place of obstruction and the active organs of speech; the work of vocal cords; the position of the lips; the position of the soft palate; the manner of release of plosive consonants.

Types of assimilation can be distinguished according to:

1. direction

2. degree of completeness

3. degree of stability

Direction of assimilation.

The influence of the neighboring sounds in English can act in – progressive, regressive, reciprocal (double) direction.

When some articulatory features of the following sound are changed under the influence of the preceding sound, which remains unchanged the assimilation is called progressive.

e.g. the pronunciation of the plural suffix – s

[s] after voiceless consonants desks[desks], books [buks]

[z] after voiced consonants pens [penz], calls [kLlz]

within the words sandwich, grandmother under the influence of [n] the consonant [d] change into [n] and the disappeared e.g. [sænnwidz sænwidz]

When the following sound influences the articulation of the preceding one, assimilation is called regressive.

e.g in the word width[widө] ширина: the alveolar [d] become dental before interdental [ө].

Reciprocal direction (double) – assimilation means complex mutual influence of the adjacent sound. E.g tree [tri:] the sonorant [r] is partly devoiced under the influence of the voiceless [t] and alveolar [t] becomes post-alveolar [t] before post alveolar [r].

Degree of completeness

According to the degree of completeness assimilation may be : complete, incomplete

Assimilation is called complete in the two adjoining sounds become alike or merge into one. It always takes place when the two sounds differ only in one articulatory feature: e.g cupboard [kΛpbəd kΛbəd ] and at the word junction in fluent speech.

Incomplete assimilation – when the likeness of the adjoining sounds is partial as the assimilated sound retains its major articulatory features: e.g. sonorants [w,r,l] are partly devoiced when preceded by the voiceless fortis [p, t, k, s, f, ө ]: sweet [swi:t], place [pleis].

According to the degree of stability assimilation can be: obligatory and non-obligatory. Many assimilatory phenomena of older stages in the development of the language have become obligatory in modern English. They may or may not be feflected on spelling. Such changes which have taken place over a period of time within words are called historical. E.g. orchard [ort-yard] [o:tjəd o:tƒəd].

Non-obligatory assimilation are characteristic of fluent or careless speech and should be avoid by public speakers. e.g ten minutes [ten’minits tem’minits]

Завдання до теми

Read the tongue-twisters

1. Denise sees the fleece, Denise sees the fleas. At least Denise could sneeze and feed and freeze the fleas.

2. Diligence dismisses despondency.

3. Do drop in at the Dewdrop Inn.

4. Do thick tinkers think?

5. Does this shop sport short socks with spots?

6. Don’t pamper damp scamp tramps that camp under ramp lamps.

7. Don’t spring on the inner-spring this spring or there will be an offspring next spring.

8. Double bubble gum, bubbles double.

9. Dr. Johnson and Mr. Johnson, after great consideration, came to the conclusion that the Indian nation beyond the Indian Ocean is back in education because the chief occupation is cultivation.

10. Draw drowsy ducks and drakes.

Контрольні питання

1. What is assimilation?

2. What features of the articulation of a consonant may be affected by assimilation?

3. Give three examples illustrating different degrees of assimilation.

4. What is the difference between progressive and regressive assimilations?

5. What kind of assimilation affects the alveolar articulation of the [t, d, n] and [1] when they are followed by [ð] or [θ] ?

6. What allophone of the phoneme [l] is used within the word health? How does this allophone differ from the principal one?

7. Ask your fellow-student to transcribe the words white, thorn, although, breadth, to underline the consonants affected byassimilation and to define its type.

8. What similar assimilative changes do the allophones of the phonemes [t, d, n, 1, s, z] undergo when they are used before [θ] or [ð]?

9. How would you help your fellow-student to pronounce [n] and [1] preceded by [θ] or [ð] correctly?

10. What consonant in the sentence "Call the boy" is affected by regressive assimilation?

11. Read and transcribe the words train, trifle. Say what consonant is assimilated in them and what degree of assimilation it is.

12. Transcribe and pronounce the words three, thread, thrill, throat, throw. Say what allophones of the phoneme [r] areused in them.

13. What allophone of the phoneme [r] is used within the word through? Explain the difference between this allophone and the principal one.

14. What allophone of the phoneme [d] is used within the words drop, drug? Explain the difference between this allophone and the principal one. Say what degree of assimilation it is.

15. Transcribe and read the following sets of words:

(1) day, today, loved; (2) glue, degree, bag.

Pay special attention to the plosives [d] and [g] in initial, medial and final positions. Say what you know about voicing.

16. Ask a fellow-student to analyze the words handkerchief and gooseberry from the point of view of assimilations in them and state: (1 ) the degree of assimilation; (2) the direction of assimilation.

18. How does the nasal sonorant [n] influence the plosive [t] in the word kitten?

19. What allophones of English stops are used before the nasal sonorants ?

20. In what clusters do the plosionless allophones of the stops occur?

21. Say what allophones of the English stops are used before another stop or an affricate? Give examples to illustrate the rule.

22. Listen to your fellow-student reading the following sets of words. Suppose he makes errors in reading them. Tell him what his errors in the pronunciation of the [tl] and [dl] clusters are, and what he must do to correct the error.

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