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De-voicing

De-voicing of plosives Consider how the voiced bilabial plosive /b/ is articulated in the word ball /bɔl/. You will probably need to say it aloud to both hear and feel the effect. Now try saying aloud the word nib /nɪb/, again focusing on the phoneme /b/. Do they…

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Allophonic Variation in Consonants

Allophonic variation – consonants In this subsection we describe and exemplify eight phonetic features that influence allophones of consonants: aspiration de-voicing velarization dentalization labialization velar shifting retraction glottalization NEXT>> Aspiration…

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Aspiration

Aspiration of plosives We have already highlighted how certain phonemes may be produced with an accompanying short puff of air in certain contexts. In particular, we considered the production of the voiceless alveolar plosive /t/ in the words top and stop (see What is an Allophone?) In…

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Nasalization

Vowel nasalization Say the word art /ɑt/ aloud. Now contrast this by saying the word mart /mɑt/. Do you notice any difference in the quality of the /ɑ/ vowel? If you are uncertain, say the words aloud in quick succession: art – mart – art – mart… If…

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Shortening

Vowel shortening We have seen elsewhere (see Table 1 Simple Vowels Summary) that English monophthongs can be categorized according to duration. We noted that there are seven short vowels and five long vowels. To the group of long vowels we can also add all the diphthongs, as…

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Schwa Lowering

What is schwa lowering? We have seen elsewhere (Central Vowels) that one of the two central vowels of English frequently appears in unstressed syllables. This is the schwa vowel /ə/. We have also noted that this phoneme occupies a mid position, being articulated with the mouth open halfway…

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What is an Allophone?

Definition of allophone Just what is an allophone? Elsewhere we have defined a phoneme as a contrastive sound in the speech sound system of a particular world language (see ‘Phones and Phonemes’ in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). In essence, phonemes are speech sounds…

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