Transcript for Phonetics Webinar

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Transcript for Phonetics Webinar
Slide 1: Hello. This is Mariana DeLuca, LEP Resource for the ESL Student Education Department. Welcome to our webinar on Foundations of Linguistics and Language Learning.
In this section we will give you an overview of the following areas: phonology, which the sound system of a language, morphology, the study of the structure of words, syntax, the rules of sentence formation, semantics, the study of the linguistic meaning of morphemes, words, phrases and sentences, sociolinguistics and pragmatics, which study how context and situation affect meaning.
And finally, second language acquisition, the acquisition of another language after the first language was acquired or is underway.
Slide 2: Today we’re going to cover two areas: phonology and phonetics. Phonetics is the study of speech sounds where phonology is the study of how speech sounds form patterns and how they combine to form more sounds, and therefore, words.
Slide 3: So as an ESL teacher it is important to look at individual sounds… and why are they important? Look at this video and draw your own conclusion about why studying phonology is important. VIDEO
So, knowing about sounds brings us awareness about the phonological differences between languages. Students may struggle in producing an English sound because that particular sound does not exist in their native language. So awareness of different speech sounds in English can help us teach them better. Phonology is an extensive field. The next short video is going to show you an overview of the key items that you need to be aware of as an ESL teacher.
VIDEO: Essential Linguistics: English Phonology

There is no doubt that humans are social beings and love to communicate. Humans love to talk. Whether in face to face or on the phone, people constantly communicate with one another. This video takes a complex look at a daily process most of us may take for granted. This video discusses oral communication and how spoken language is produced. Most people think that oral communication is fairly simple. But, as you will see, human communication is more complex than it seems.

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and includes studies of phonology, morphology and syntax.
Phonemics is the study of sounds. Linguists use the International Phonetic Alphabet to represent all the sounds found in human languages. Phonology is the study of the sounds used by speakers of a particular language. Units of meaningful sound in a language are called phonemes.
To fully appreciate the complexity of speech, let’s see how speech is produced. The sounds of English are formed by vibration of the vocal cords. When the vocal cords are brought close together, as the air passes through them voicing occurs. When the vocal cords are held apart, no voicing will occur.
Phonemes are divided into vowels and consonants. Vowel sounds depend on the movement and different positioning of lips and tongue as the air flows freely through them. There are three types of vowels: short, long and reduced. All are voiced.
There are six short or “lax” vowels. Lax refers to the muscle tension of the mouth and lips as sound is produced. The vowel sounds in the words pit, pet, pat, putt, put and pot represent the various vowels.
The seven long vowel sounds are produced by moving the tongue from one part of the mouth to another. These sounds are called diphthongs, from the Greek “two sounds” as two sounds are produced when they are spoken. The length of these vowels is usually represented by two letters, such as the “EE” in beet, “AI” in bait, “OO” in boot, “OA” in boat, “OY” in boy, “I” in bite and “OU” in bout.
The reduced vowels come in two varieties, schwa and barred I. Schwa can be heard in the “uh” in about and the hesitant sound made when a speaker says “umm.” Barred I is a high central vowel, and can be heard in the second syllable of med”i”cine.
Consonant sounds are formed when the air is constricted as it moves through the vocal cords toward the lips. Just as with vowels, consonants differ depending on the location and manner of articulation in which they are produced in the mouth. Consonants can be voiced or unvoiced. There are six types of consonants: stops, fricatives, affricates, nasals, liquids, and glides.
Consonant stops are formed by completely blocking the air for a seconds and then releasing it. Stops “stop” the airflow. The other factor is the location of sound production in the mouth.
Bilabials are produced when the lips are closed. Sounds such as “p” and “b” are bilabial. These are the first sounds babies produced. Many of the words relevant to a young child: papa, bib, and mama, start with bilabial sounds.

The stops “t” and “d” as in tot and dad are produced by placing the tip of the tongue behind the front teeth to block the air for a moment. The final stops “k” and “g” are heard at the beginning and end of kick and gig.

Another set of consonants is the fricatives. Fricatives are produced by constricting the air flow through the vocal tract. The labiodental fricatives “f” and “v” are produced by biting down on the lower lip, as in fluff and verve.
The interdental fricatives are made by putting the tongue between the teeth and forcing air through the opening. These are heard in the words thigh and bathe. The third pair, “s” and “z” are heard in kiss and fuzz.
The next pair of fricatives is “sh” as in ship and “zh” as in garage. The last fricative makes the “h” sound in hop.
Affricates are a combination of stop and fricative types. English has two types of affricates: the soft “ch” as in church and soft “j” as in judge.
English has three nasal consonants: the “m” as in mom, “n” as in nun and “ng” as in ring. Liquids have two sounds denoted by the smooth sounds of “l” and “r” and occur at the beginning and end of the words lull and roar.
Glides are the final two consonant phonemes and are sometimes called semi-vowels because they are produced with very little constriction of the air passage-more like a vowel. These two phonemes are the “y” sound at the beginning of yes and the “w” that occurs at the start of wet.
In all, there are 24 consonant phonemes in American English: 6 stops, 9 fricatives, 2 affricates, 3 nasals,two liquids, and 2 glides.
When people acquire the phonology of a language, they also acquire knowledge of phonotactics, or how phonemes are distributed in a language. For example, an English speaker knows that the phoneme “ng” comes at the end of a word and has the “ng” sound. This sound never occurs at the beginning of an English word.
Tongue twisters are words that are difficult to pronounce together, or in succession, with ease. These tongue twisters are difficult to say because the brain is controlling rapid movements of the muscles and forming the different phonemic patterns to create the words simultaneously. Tongue twisters are interesting because they illustrate the upper reaches of our physiological capabilities. They also seldom occur in natural communicative situations. We are generally not aware of the complex processes each production entails. A tongue twister can bring this all into entertaining focus.
Well, I hope you found this video informative. Next, Stacy is going to walk you through how to study each individual English sound.
Hi, there. This is Stacy Feldstein, course facilitator for the ESL Praxis Preparation Webinar. I'm going to talk to you about some of the terms that you learned about when you watched the previous video on phonology, which is indicated here on this slide.
As you heard, linguistics is the scientific study of language. Morphology is the study of forms and structure of words, syntax is the study of sentence structure and word order, and phonemics is the study of sounds.
It's very important for us as English language teachers to understand the sound system of American English and to to be able to give our learners feedback and to make sure we're understanding whatever situations students may have trouble with pronouncing words and how we teach the pronunciation of words as they are said in American English.
The International Phonetic Alphabet, or IPA, is used by linguists to represent all the sounds found in human languages. Phonology is the study of sounds used by speakers of a particular language, and it is important for us, as we prepare to take ESL Praxis test, to be familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet as well as the distinct sounds that are necessary to speak American English. Phonemes are units of meaningful sounds and they are represented by particular symbols from the IPA.
What is voicing? Sounds are produced when either we use our vocal cords, or we hold them apart and push air through our vocal tract. I encourage you to experiment with the sounds that you make with your voice by placing your hand on your throat and pronouncing different words.
Vowel sounds in American English are of three types: short, long and reduced. All vowels are voiced. I encourage you, as you pronounce the six short or lax vowels below, to place your hand on your throat and feel the activation of your vocal cords when you pronounce pit, pet, pat, putt, put and pot. You will notice that you're feeling each vowel as it's pronounced with your vocal cords.
There are seven long vowels. They are called diphthongs because there are two sounds in each vowel. Again I encourage you to feel how your vocal cords are activated as you pronounce each vowel: beet, bait, boot, boat, boy and bout.
Reduced vowels include the schwa (you hear it at the beginning of the word about) and it’s very prevalent in unaccented syllables in English words, and the barred “i,” the “i” in med”i”cine.
Consonants are produced when air is constricted as it passes through your vocal tract. There are distinct consonant sounds made according to placement, manner of articulation, and voicing.
Here are the six types of consonants that you heard about in the video.

  • Consonants stops block the airflow. The bilabial utilize both lips as in “b” “p” and “m”

    • I encourage you to sound these out and notice how you utilize both lips to produce these sounds

  • Voiceless “t” and voiced “d” are consonant stops, where the tongue is placed behind the teeth

    • these are called alveolar stops, more on this toward the end of my presentation when I talk to you about a helpful website to practice the various sounds of American English

  • K and G are made with the upper part of the throat

    • they are called velar stops

    • notice that k is voiceless and g utilizes the vocal cords

    • again I encourage you to feel your throat as you produce the sounds and understand what it means to be pronoucing something as voiceless or voiced

  • Now I’m going to talk about fricatives-they’re formed by constricting airflow through your vocal tract

    • the labio-dental fricatives use your lower lip and teeth

      • f, v

    • interdental fricatives are formed by placing the tongue between the teeth

      • this, thing

      • again noticing that “this” utilizes the voice and “thing” does not

    • other fricatives I want to talk to you about include

      • the “s” sound in kiss and the “z” sound in fuzz

      • the “sh” sound in ship and the “juh” sound in garage

      • the “h” sound in hop

    • affricates utilize a stop plus a fricative sound, combined into one phoneme

      • ch, as in church and “juh” as in judge

    • These are the nasals

      • n, m, and ng, as in ring

    • these are the two liquids, l and r= lull and roar

    • glides are sometimes called semi-liquids, as you heard

      • there’s very little constriction of the airflow

        • the y in yes and the w in wet

    • There are 24 total consonant phonemes in American English, as you heard

      • 6 stops, 9 fricatives, 2 affricates, 3 nasals,two liquids, and 2 glides.

    • Make sure to familiarize yourself with each one and be able to recognize them on the test as you hear people pronounce words

Now I’d like to practice with you. The first website I want to talk to you about utilizes the IPA or International Phonetic Alphabet. I encourage you to explore it on your own.

The second is a website from the University of Iowa. I’d like to walk you through it for a moment here as we talk about the sounds of American English.
As I was just talking about with you a moment ago, stops


  • A stop is a consonant characterized by complete obstruction of the outgoing airstream by the articulators and it’s a buildup of intraoral air pressure and release.

When we click on a voiceless stop “p” you will notice that a video pops up where we can watch someone pronounce “P”

We can watch what happens inside the vocal tract and inside the mouth and in the lips as someone pronounces “p.”
Notice that “p” is bilabial. So I’m going to play it again as you notice that both lips are engaged to pronounce “p” and “b”
To the right you will notice there are some sounds that indicate where this phoneme can be found in particular words.

  • ball, taboo, rub

You’ll also notice that there is a step-by-step description of how the sound is produced.

Let’s take a look at nasal sounds: m, n, and ng. Let’s select the “ng” sound in ring. You'll notice once again that we can play it and watch an animation of how this sound is produced. It’s a velar sound. We can also observe a video of someone speaking and pronouncing that “ng” sound in ring.
I’d like to talk to you for just a moment about place of articulation.

We were just talking about bilabials, such as p, b, and m, as well as the glide w. Notice that to pronounce the glide “w” you engage both lips. That’s why it’s called a bilabial. This is what we mean by placement.

Voice refers to utilizing the vocal cords. Voiced and voiceless. So let’s choose voiceless: a voiceless stop “t.”
Vowels are also available to be explored on this website, such as the monophones and diphthongs, as you heard about. Diphthongs ai, as in aisle- notice the spelling with the International Phonetic Alphabet. Oi, as in boy. Ou as in hour.
It’s been a pleasure speaking to you about how the sounds of American English are formed. I hope this was useful for you as I guide you to a particular website where you can practice the sounds of American English, familiarize yourself with manner, place and voicing, as well as the different kinds of vowels. I encourage you to explore vowels and how they are formed in different parts of the mouth-front, central, and back. I want to thank you for joining me on this exploration of the sounds of American English and I wish you much success as you prepare for your Praxis exam. Thank you.

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