The practical part analyzes the four main areas in which Czech and Slovak speakers of English make mistakes: devoicing of final consonants, aspiration of syllable-initial plosives, assimilation and linking of two neighbouring words. For the research, six volunteer students of the English Department at the Masaryk University participated in speech recording. Three of the students are of Czech nationality (two females, one male) and three are of Slovak nationality (two females, one male). All of them are students of the second and third years and have attended English pronunciation courses at the department.
The participants were asked to read an extract from the book Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift and then answer three questions: two of which regarded the text and one inquired about their knowledge of the term “voicing”. The chosen text includes the specific parts in which speakers make most of the mistakes. The questions have been included in the recording to prompt the participants to speak offhand with the aim to analyze the degree of mispronunciation when answering questions in comparison to mispronunciation when reading the text.
As the research focuses on the areas of speech which are different in the sound systems of the English, Czech and Slovak languages and in which speakers tend to apply the habits of pronunciation from their mother tongue to English, the participants were given time to read the text and questions to themselves before the recording. The text and the questions, which were the same for every participant, may be found on the following page. The recordings were copied on a compact disc which is attached to the thesis.
My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons. He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon in London, with whom I continued four years. My father now and then sending me small sums of money, I laid them out in learning navigation, and other parts of the mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel, as I always believed it would be, some time or other, my fortune to do. When I left Mr. Bates, I went down to my father: where, by the assistance of him and my uncle John, and some other relations, I got forty pounds, and a promise of thirty pounds a year to maintain me at Leyden: there I studied physic two years and seven months, knowing it would be useful in long voyages.
Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my good master, Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham Pannel, commander; with whom I continued three years and a half, making a voyage or two into the Levant, and some other parts. When I came back I resolved to settle in London; to which Mr. Bates, my master, encouraged me, and by him I was recommended to several patients. I took part of a small house in the Old Jewry; and being advised to alter my condition, I married Mrs. Mary Burton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, in Newgate-street, with whom I received four hundred pounds for a portion.
Why was the narrator sent from Emanuel College in Cambridge to be an apprentice to Mr. Bates?
What did the narrator learn during his four years at Mr. Bates’s and what did he study at Leyden afterwards?
Have you ever heard the term “voicing” in relation to phonetics and phonology? What do you think it means?
The text and the questions have been reviewed and the spots where students should pay attention to correct pronunciation of the aspects of linking, final consonant voicing and aspiration were marked. The spots have been marked using different colors to distinguish the various aspects which were analyzed. Neighbouring words which are subject to linking are marked in green and bordered in frames to define which words are to be linked. Single words in which final lenis consonant is to be partially devoiced are marked in blue color. Words, or consonants, which are supposed to be aspirated, are marked in yellow color.
My father HAD A small estate in Nottinghamshire: I WAS THETHIRD OF five sons. He sent me to Emanuel COLLEGE INCAMBRIDGE AT fourteen YEARS OLD, where I resided three YEARS, and APPLIED MYSELF close to my STUDIES; but the CHARGE OF maintaining me, although I HAD A very scanty allowance, being TOO great for a narrow fortune, I WAS BOUND APPRENTICE to Mr. JAMES BATES, an eminent surgeon in London, WITH WHOM I continued four YEARS. My father now and then sending me small SUMS OF MONEY, I LAID THEM out in learning navigation, and other PARTS OF THE mathematics, useful to THOSE WHO intend to travel, AS IALWAYS BELIEVED IT would be, some TIME or other, my fortune to do. When I left Mr. Bates, I went down to my father: where, by the assistance OF HIM and my uncle John, and some other RELATIONS, I got forty POUNDS, and a promise of thirty POUNDS A year to maintain me at Leyden: there I STUDIED PHYSIC two YEARSAND seven months, knowing it would be useful in long VOYAGES.
Soon after my return from Leyden, I WAS RECOMMENDED by my good master, Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, CAPTAIN Abraham Pannel, commander; WITHWHOM I continued three YEARS AND a half, MAKING AVOYAGE OR two into the Levant, and some other PARTS. When I came back I resolved to settle in London; to which Mr. Bates, my master, ENCOURAGED ME, and by him I WASRECOMMENDED to several PATIENTS. I took part OF A small house in the Old Jewry; and BEING ADVISED to alter my condition, I married Mrs. Mary Burton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, in Newgate-street, WITH WHOM I received four HUNDRED POUNDS for a PORTION.
Why WAS THEnarrator sent from Emanuel COLLEGE INCAMBRIDGEto be an apprentice to Mr. Bates?
What did the narrator learn DURING HIS FOUR YEARS ATMR. BATES’S ANDwhat did he study at Leyden AFTERWARDS?
Have you ever heard the term “VOICING” in relation to phonetics and phonology? What do you think it MEANS?