The Human Vocal Tract (click here for
Modern English Consonants
Chart of consonant phonemes in English
Examples: [p]: pat, [b]: bat, [t]: time, [d]: dime, [k]: came,
[g]: game, : chump, :
jump, [f]: fat, [v]: vat, : thigh
[ð]: thy, [s]: sap, [z]: zap, :
glacier/mesher, : glazier/measure,
[h]: ham, [m]: man, [n]: nun, : sing,
[l]: lamp, [r]: ramp, [w]: world, [y]: yore/you; the glottal stop and the flap are not phonemic but are frequently used allophones of [t] in words such as "satin," "rotten," mountain," "cater," "waiter," "later"
Modern English Vowels
- vowels are sounds involving the unrestricted flow of air through the mouth
- vowels sounds are always voiced
- vowels differ depending on the degree of openness of the mouth and height
of the tongue (the lower the tongue the more open the mouth) (high, mid, low)
- also important is the position in the mouth of the of the highest part of
the tongue (front, central, back)
- diphthongs (ai, au, oi) (e.g. buy, bough, boy)
- unstressed vowels tend to be pronounced as the mid-central vowel
Prosody (stress patterns)
- stress is the relative loudness with which different parts of a word are
- in English the tendency is to stress the initial syllable of a word
- the stress of a syllable can be classified as primary, secondary, or reduced/unstressed
- in English final syllables tend to be unstressed
- in the word "brother" the first syllable has primary stress
and the second syllable is unstressed: "bróth-er"
- in the word "bookcase" the first syllable receives primary
stress and the second secondary stress: "bóok-càse"
- in the word "constellation" the first syllable receives secondary
stress, the second syllable has reduced stress, the third syllable has
primary stress, and the fourth syllable has also reduced stress: "còn-stel-lá-tion"
Last updated 3/7/2005
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