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The smallest unit of sound which can distinguish two words.
For example, Sum and Thumb in their written form are different in two ways, but in their spoken form in only one way, so 'th' and 's' are phonemes.
In standard English there are 44 phonemes, but these can be pronounced in different ways (called allophones).
A free morpheme (the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language) is one that can appear independently as a word, and combine with other lexemes.
For example, the word unbreakable contains three morphemes 'un', 'break', and 'able'. 'break' and 'able' are free morphemes, while 'un' is a bound morpheme.
This contrasts with bound morphemes which can't stand alone, but are typically affixes.
A lexeme rounghly corresponds to the set of forms taken by a single word.
For example, run, runs, ran, and running are all part of the lexeme for run.
This is related to a lemma which is a key representative of a lexeme and is used in dictionaries as the headword
The smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language.
For example the word unbreakable countains 3 morphemes un- (a bound morpheme), break, and able (both free morphemes).
Morphemes are not identical to words, since they may or may not stand alone, whereas a word, by definition is a free standing unit.
An Allophone is one of a set of multiple possible spoken sounds used to pronounce a single phoneme.
For example, the word little (/lItl/) contains to /l/ phonemes but they are pronounced differently; the first is 'clear' but the second is 'dark' because it is proceeded by a /t/.
A tonic allophone is sometimes called an allotone, as in the neutral tone in Mandarin.
A speech sound produced without significant constriction of the air flowing through the mouth.
This contrasts with consonants where there is a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract.
There are 5 vowels, and 20 vowel sounds (including diphthongs) in Standard English.
A speech sound where the airstream is from the lungs is constricted or completely blocked.
For example, completely blocked (e.g. /t/, /p/), partially blocked (lateral, e.g. /l/), or where the opening is so narrow that the air escapes with audible friction (fricative, e.g. /f/), or the airstream is blocked in the mouth but allowed to escape through the nose (nasal, e.g. /m/)
Consonants can be either voiced or unvoiced, e.g. /b/ is a voiced bilabial plosive, while /p/ is an unvoiced bilabial plosice.
A diphthong, also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable.
The tongue moves during the pronunciation of a diphthong and in most dialects of English, the words eye, hay, boy, low, and cow contain diphthongs.
Diphthongs contrast with monophthongs, where the tongue doesn't move and only one vowel sound is heard in a syllable. Where two adjacent vowel sounds occur in different syllables (for example, in the word re-elect) the result is described as hiatus, not as a diphthong.
A minimal pair is two items whose meanings alter when just one phoneme is changed.
For example, the words pin/bin, and bear/pear.
Phonemic differentiation may vary between different dialects of a language, so that a particular minimal pair in one accent is a pair of homophones in another.
A sound which is articulated by vibrating the vocal cords.
For example, voicing accounts for the difference between the pair of sounds associated with the English letters /s/ (unvoiced) and /z/ (voiced).
In most European languages, an exception being Icelandic, vowels and other sonorants (consonants such as m, n, l, and r) are modally voiced.
Discrimination is the ability to distinguish between two sounds when both are heard.
For example, the /d/ and /z/ sounds, being difficult for French Speakers.
Discrimination is followed by recognition, and finally production.
Lingua Franca Core/Phonological Core
The phonological features which are deemed to be vital in conveying a clear, unambiguous message to other users, especially in communication between non-native speakers.
For example, aspects that are deemed vital include vowel length, monothongs, and several diphthongs that are pronounced the same in all native speaker varieties of English.
Consonant clusters shouldn't be insisted on according to the phonological core, so that a Spanish speaker saying /es'peIn/ should not be systematically corrected.
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds, which is (usually) longer than a sound but shorter than a word.
For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter.
A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel) with optional initial and final margins (typically, consonants).
A phonological phenomenon that occurs when a sound alters due to the influence of a proceding or following sound.
For example in rapid speech, for example, "handbag" is often pronounced [ˈhambag]. As in this example, sound segments typically assimilate to a following sound (regressive assimilation), but they may also assimilate to a preceding one (progressive assimilation).
While assimilation most commonly occurs between immediately adjacent sounds, it may occur between sounds separated by others ("assimilation at a distance").
The 'squeezing together' of syllables that occurs between stressed syllables, so that each segment of an utterance takes the same time to produce.
For example, in the sentence How long have you worked here?, 'How long have you' takes about the same amount of time to say as 'worked'.
A language where stressed syllables tend to occur at regular intervals, and syllables are not assigned the same stress.
Stress (or Prominence)
The effect of emphasising certain syllables by making them louder or longer, or by increasing their pitch.
For example grafitti is stressed on the second syllable. If stressed on the first syllable it becomes more like gravity.
The stress placed on syllables within words is called word stress or lexical stress. The stress placed on words within sentences is called sentence stress orprosodic stress.
A language where each syllable tends to take the same length of time to say.
French, Spanish, and Japanese are examples.
Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a vowel, a consonant, or a whole syllable) in a word or phrase, because a similar sound occurs immediately afterwards.
For example, the /ed/ at the end of walked in I walked to work disappears because it is followed by a similar sound.
The opposite of elision is epenthesis, whereby sounds are inserted into a word to ease pronunciation.
A Tone Group (or Tone Unit) is a sub-division of an utterance which contains a tonic syllable.
For example Has anyone got / today's paper, contains two tone groups.
Tone groups are usually represented by slanted lines as in She got here / just after 8:00 o'clock. This utterance contains two tone groups. Longer pauses are sometimes represented by double slanted lines.
Intrusion is the addition of an extra phoneme in an utterance to faciliate articulation.
For example in over and out the /r/ is referred to as a linking /r/.
This can lead to two possible interpretations of the sounds heard, as in ice-cream and I scream.
The Weak Form of a word is their pronunciation when they are not stressed.
- For example ‘can’ might be pronounced /kæn/ but it
- is more often pronounced /kƏn/.
The weakening of the schwa is one of the most common weak forms.
Connected Speech refers to the way that speech sounds are produced as part of a continuous sequence rather than in isolation.
For example, in assimilation (sound modified by a neighbouring sound), elsion (omission of a sound), liaison (sound introduced at word boundaries), and juncture (the pausing or lack of pausing between two sounds.
These effects can alter the dictionary pronunciation of words.
The Schwa is the mid-central vowel sound (rounded or unrounded) in the middle of the vowel chart, denoted by the IPA symbol.
For example the vowel sound in the second syllable of the word sofa.
Schwa in English is limited to unstressed positions, but in some other languages it can occur as a stressed vowel.
Phonology 3 Intonation
Intonation is the meaningful use that speakers make of changes in their voice pitch, and is a supresegmental feature of pronunciation, meaning that it is a property of whole stretches of speech rather than of individual segments.
Intonation has several functions including a grammatical function, attitudinal function, and discoursal function.
Pitch is the level of voice as percieved by the listener - either 'high', 'mid', or 'low'.
The Range (or Voice Range) is the distance between the lowest pitch of a language and the highest. The range of English is very wide, other languages less so.
The onset syllable is the stressed syllable before the tonic syllable (the syllable in an utterance that carries the main stress).
For example in the utterance On MONday it RAINED - 'mon' is the onset syllable (in capitals).
In each tone unit there is one tonic syllable and pitch movement.
The Tonic Syllable is the most prominent syllable within an utterance which carries the main stress.
For example in the utterance On MONday it RAINED - rained is the tonic syllable (underlined and in capitals)
The stressed syllable before the tonic syllable is the onset syllable (in capitals).
Prosody is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech.
Prosody may reflect various features of the speaker or the utterance: the emotional state of the speaker; the form of the utterance (statement, question, or command); the presence of irony or sarcasm; emphasis, contrast, and focus.
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