Little encyclopaedia of phonetics- roach

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ENGLISH PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY GLOSSARY
(A LITTLE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF PHONETICS)

Peter Roach

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CLICK ON A LETTER FROM THE LIST BELOW TO JUMP TO THE RELEVANT PAGE CLICK HERE TO JUMP TO THE INDEX

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W X

accent
This word is used (rather confusingly) in two different senses: (1) accent may refer to prominence given to a syllable, usually by theuse of pitch. For example, in the word ‘potato’ the middle syllable is the most prominent; if you say the word on its own you will probably produce a fall in pitch on the middle syllable, making that syllable accented. In this sense, accent is distinguished from the more general term stress, which is more often used to refer to all sorts of prominence (including prominence resulting from increasedloudness, length or sound quality), or to refer to the effort made by the speaker in producing a stressed syllable. (2) accent also refers to a particular way of pronouncing: for example, you might find a number of English speakers who all share the same grammar and vocabulary, but pronounce what they say with different accents such as Scots or Cockney, or BBC pronunciation. The word

© PeterRoach 2009

accent in this sense is distinguished from dialect, which usually refers to a variety of a language that differs from other varieties in grammar and/or vocabulary.
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acoustic phonetics
An important part of phonetics is the study of the physics of the speech signal: when sound travels through the air from the speaker’s mouth to the hearer’s ear it does so in the formof vibrations in the air. It is possible to measure and analyse these vibrations by mathematical techniques, usually by using specially-developed computer software to produce spectrograms. Acoustic phonetics also studies the relationship between activity in the speaker’s vocal tract and the resulting sounds. Analysis of speech by acoustic phonetics is claimed to be more objective and scientificthan the traditional auditory method which depends on the reliability of the trained human ear.
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active articulator
See articulator
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Adam’s Apple
This is an informal term used to refer to the pointed part of the larynx that can be seen at the front of the throat. It is most clearly visible in adult males. Moving the larynx up and down (as in swallowing) causesvisible movement of this point, which is in fact the highest point of the thyroid cartilage.
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affricate
An affricate is a type of consonant consisting of a plosive followed by a fricative with the same place of articulation: examples are the tʃ and d sounds at the beginning and end of the English words ‘church’ tʃ tʃ, ‘judge’ d d (the first of these is voiceless, the second voiced).It is often difficult to decide whether any particular combination of a plosive plus a fricative should be classed as a single affricate sound or as two separate sounds, and the question depends on whether these are to be

© Peter Roach 2009

regarded as separate phonemes or not. It is usual to regard tʃ, d as affricate phonemes in English (usually symbolised č, ǰ by American writers); ts,dz, tr, dr also occur in English but are not usually regarded as affricates. The two phrases ‘why choose’ wai tʃu z and ‘white shoes’ wait ʃu z are said to show the difference between the tʃ affricate (in the first example) and separate t and ʃ (in the second).
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airstream
All speech sounds are made by making air move. Usually the air is moved outwards from the body, creating anegressive airstream; more rarely, speech sounds are made by drawing air into the body – an ingressive airstream. The most common way of moving air is by compression of the lungs so that the air is expelled through the vocal tract. This is called a pulmonic airstream (usually an egressive pulmonic one, but occasionally speech is produced while breathing in). Others are the glottalic (produced by...
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