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Simple Vowels

Simple vowels = single configuration When a speaker assumes only a single configuration of the mouth when producing a vowel, i.e. there is no movement of the tongue, lips or jaws, the speaker produces what is known as a simple vowel. In sum, once the appropriate position for…

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Charting Vowels

Charting vowels: the vowel chart! We now have all the information we need to begin charting vowel sounds (see Parameters for Describing Vowels) to better understand how they are formed. If we represent the oral cavity diagrammatically as a quadrilateral, we can begin to plot…

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Vowel Parameters

Five vowel parameters Whatever variety of English is spoken, vowels may be differentiated by differences in five main parameters: openness of the mouth tongue elevation position of tongue elevation lip shape length of vocalization The first four of these alter the relative size and…

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Vowel Variation

Types of English As we know, there is variation in the types of English spoken throughout the world. The quality of British English vowel sounds, for example, is different to those used in American English, Australian English, Nigerian English, Caribbean English, and so on. Even within a particular…

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Vowels

Parameters Vowels are described as open speech sounds because there is no obstruction to the flow of air from the lungs as it passes up through the trachea, through the larynx, through the oral cavity and out of the mouth. Other than a speaker positioning the tongue, jaws…

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International Phonetic Alphabet

It should be clear from our discussion of transcribing speech sounds that English orthography is not a satisfactory system. What is required is a scheme that has a direct, one-to-one correspondence between an actual speech sound and the symbol used to represent that sound. One…

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Transcribing Speech Sounds

What’s happening? Consider the following short text. Davinda and Kathryn had a row in the park. What do you think actually happened here? Do you think that Davinda and Kathryn spent some time propelling a boat with oars, rowing on a lake…

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Age of Acquisition of Speech Sounds

Normative data Normative data refers to data that characterize what is typical of a particular large group at a specific point in time. Such data provide summary descriptions of the group’s behavior. So, for example, in order to understand the order of acquisition of speech sounds, researchers…

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