Category Archives: Speech

Stressed and Unstressed Syllables

stressed and unstressed syllables

Primary and secondary stress We have noted elsewhere (see Syllabic Consonants) that some syllables in polysyllabic words may be given more emphasis than others, i.e. they are stressed. This extra prominence is achieved predominantly, although not exclusively, by the speaker raising the pitch of the sounds that constitute the syllable. All English words have one syllable that receives primary […]

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On the Definition of ‘Reduplication’

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Question You define the reduplication process as a repetition of the FIRST syllable. My instructor said that it is the stressed syllable. Is it the first stressed syllable? She had ‘banana’ on the test and told us to write this as if the speaker had reduplication. I wrote /baba/ but the correct answer was /nana/. […]

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Transcribing Speech

transcribing speech

Transcribing speech requires the use of a standardized system. The International Phonetic Alphabet is a notational system for transcribing the speech sounds of any world language. It is needed because there is no clear cut, one-to-one relationship between an alphabet letter and a speech sound. Download a copy of the full IPA chart here.

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The Phonological Problem

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The phonological problem relates to the problem of how a listener knows which particular words have been uttered. The task of identifying the speech sounds that make up the words is made difficult by two factors: variation and co-articulation. These factors potentially make it difficult to segment one word from another in real-time speech.

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Systemic Simplifications

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Phonological processes The phonological processes that occur in speech may be thought of as consisting of two main types: structural simplifications systemic simplifications Unlike structural simplifications, systemic simplifications do not alter the syllable structure of a word. Rather, they systematically vary a particular type of speech sound and replace it with another speech sound. Systemic […]

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Syllables and Clusters

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Introduction We have seen elsewhere (Phonological Organization) that phonemes may be combined to form words and that there is an intermediate level of phonological organization between the phoneme and the word known as the syllable. This article examines the organization of syllables in greater depth. Three-part structure of English syllables Syllables have a fundamental three-part […]

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Syllabic Consonants

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Introduction We have seen elsewhere (see Syllables and Clusters) that English syllables generally: have a potential three-part structure made up of an onset, nucleus (or peak) and coda cannot be made up of just consonants cannot contain more than one vowel In addition, the nuclei of syllables are usually vowels. However, it is possible in […]

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Stimulability Test

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A Stimulability Test is a straightforward way to determine if someone may have an articulation disorder. It is a simple repetition task. The tester merely says each speech sound and asks the person being tested to repeat the sound. An inability to repeat the sound accurately may indicate a phonetic difficulty.

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Speech Perception

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In order to process spoken language, the brain must first capture the speech signal and then analyze it. Speech is perceived and processed by the auditory system of the brain. This article describes the functioning of the human ear and then highlights the distinctive way in which a part of the brain’s temporal lobe responds to speech.

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Speech Disorder

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A speech disorder (speech difficulty) may be due to an inability to articulate particular speech sounds. This is a phonetic disorder. There may also be difficulties in understanding and applying the rules which govern how particular speech sounds can be used in particular words. This is a phonological difficulty. A Stimulability Test can be conducted to rule out any phonetic difficulties.

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