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Palatal Mutation/i-Umlaut(PM)

PM(or i-Umlaut) happened in the 6th -7th c.PM is a change of root back vowels to front ones or root open vowels to closer ones under the influence of i/j in the next syllable.

PMfronting and raising of vowels under the influence of [i] and [j] in the following syllable (to approach the articulation of these two sounds). As a result of palatal mutation: 1)[i] and [j] disappeared in the following syllable sometimes leading to the doubling of a consonant in this syllable; 2)new vowels appeared in OE ([ie, y]) as a result of merging and splitting:

Traces of i-Umlaut in Modern English:

1. irregular Plural of nouns (man – men; tooth – teeth);

2. irregular verbs and adjectives (told ←tell; sold ←sell; old – elder);

3. word-formation with sound interchange (long – length; blood – bleed).


A synthetic grammatical system In the early periods of history the grammatical forms were built by means of: sound interchanges, inflections and suppletion(формы одного слова от разных основ)

Suppletion (inherited from Indo-European) – the usage of 2 or more different roots as forms of one and the same word:

Inflections(inherited from Indo-European) – though in the Germanic languages inflections were simpler and shorter than in other Indo-European languages.

Let’s take the system of declensions(сколонение):In PG it was well-developed but in the Old Germanic languages-it started to disappear. While the nouns and adjectives still preserved stem-suffixes, they had declensions but once the stem suffixes started to weaken and disappear, the declensions were lost as well and the endings were simplified and got fewer. Sound Interchange –the usage of interchange of vowels and consonants for the purpose of word- and form-building (e.g.: English: bear – birth, build – built, tooth – teeth; German:gebären – Geburt)

Jacob Grimm has subdivided all the verbs into two groups according to the way they build their principle forms – weak and strong.

The most important innovation in Gmc was the emergence of the new types of verbs – “weak”, past tense with the dental suffix d: open – opened, work – worked.


Native words

1. In all Gmc languages we find a number of words which are not found in the other IE languages, have no parallels outside the group. Appeared from purely Gmc roots, spheres: nature, sea, home, life (sea, house, God, send, drink, broad, own).

2. The most ancient etymological layer in the Gmc vocabulary is made up by words (roots) shared by most IE languages (natural phenomena, animals & plants, some pronouns and numerals): Fr deux – R два– OE twa – NE two.


Latin words (refer to trade and warfare). The words reflect the contacts of the Gmc tribes with Rome and the influence of the Roman civilization on their life. Ex: Lat strata via – OE stræt – NE street

Middle English: general characteristics

The Middle English period was a time of unprecedentedly rapid development
of the language. For the first three centuries English was only a spoken language,
and as such had no norm and could develop without any restrain. All the elements
of the language changed fundamentally.
2.1. Phonetics
The stress is dynamic and fixed in the native words. But in the borrowed
French words the stress was on the last syllable: licour [li'ku:r], nature [na'tu:r], etc.
New consonant sounds developed in native words.The resonance of the consonant does not depend so much on the position of
the consonant, and voiced consonants can appear not only in intervocal, but also in
initial and other positions.Vowels in unstressed position were reduced:Old English Middle English
3. the English and the Scandinavians had similar culture, habits, customs,traditions; the French and the English — different;that is why the assimilation of the French words could not proceed so quickland intensively as that of Scandinavian.The principal means of enriching vocabulary were thus outer means, i.e. - -borrowings.A,O > E
These sounds were in the end of the word, and it neutralised the differencebetween the suffixes — the main grammar means.
Vowels under stress underwent mainly quantitative changes. In MiddleEnglish we observe a rhythmic tendency, the aim of which is to obliterate overlong and overshort sequences. The tendency is to have in the word one long vowel one consonant or one short vowel + two consonants.
2.2. Grammar
The grammar gradually but very quickly changed fundamentally. : the old ENGLISH was a synthetic language , the middle at the end of Period: analytical language. The principal grammatical means of Old English were preserved but were no longer principal. At the end of the Middle English period the anatytical mean, which began developing in the middle English are predominant: analytical verb forms; the use of the prepositions for grammatical purposes. A fixed word order began to develop

2.3. Word stock . In the middle English it underwent fundamental changes and became almost new/ if in old english the word stock was almost completely native in the middle English there were many borrowings the principal sources of them were: Scandinavian (those who came at the end of old period 500 words take, give, sky, wrong, ect) French ( Normans conquerors) over 3500 words ( government, army, battle) the number of French words is greater all the Scandinavian word common an colloquial every day indispensable entered in every core of the language and their influence is very great.The Scandinavian borrowings are intensive and French and French extencive Scandinavian+ English = very common similar linguistically ( bouth Germanic) English and French different ( German and Roman groups) English and Scandinavian similar socially nations frmed upper class English and French – different class- English speaking class- the lower class English_and Scandinavians has the similar culture, habits, customs,traditions,and French are different That’s why French assimilation could not proceed so quickly and intensively as that Scandinavians the principal means of enriching vocabulary were thus outer means – borrowings

The nature of English word stress. The stress patterns of English words

Syllable is a double-faced category: segmental and non segmental (or suprasegmental,or prosodic).Supra-segmental features of speech:it’s linguistic interpretation of the acoustic and perceptible prosodic features of speech:tempo,stress,rhytm,pausation,speech timbre,speech melody.

The term Stress is used in 2 different ways: one is as a conventional label for the overall prominence of certain syllables over others.Second (narrower) is concerned with the way in which a speaker usually achive this impression of prominence:pstchologecal case.Word stress should not be confused with utterance stress .Utter. stress is subjective(belongs to situation,linguistic context,e.g. “UnHappy”,but “She’s so unHappy”),when the word stress is conditioned by objective factors (prononciation tendencies,orthoepic norm).Word stress ocuur in monosyllabic and polysyllabic words.In polysullabic words with several stresses there is

a correlation of gegrees of prominence of the syllables which is called the stress pattern of the word (or the accentual structure of the word).

Acoustic analysis shows that the perception of prominence of the syllable may be due to different variations of the following accoustic parameters:intensity,duration,frequency,formant structure = physical correlations of loudness,length,pitch and quality respectively.In different l-s stress may be achieved by dofferent combinations of this parameters:

1.l-s with dynamic word stress(stress is acieved by a greater force of ariculation,which results in greater loudness).

2.l-s with musical word stress(the prominence is achieved by variations in pitch level –Chinese,Japanese).

3.l-s with quantitative word stress(prom. Is achieved by the duration of the sound;stressed vowls are always longer than unstressed-Russian).English word stress is of a complex structure(earlier was considered to be dynamic(loudness)).Nowadays the stress is considered to manifest itself in different ways:the intensity or duration of the stressed syllable may increase,or the spectrum of stressed vowel may be sharpened,or there may be a combination of this parameters.

Linguistically relevant types of word stress.Actually, the word have as many degrees of prominence as there are syllables in it.But not all of them are linguistically relevant.which of them are ling relevant?There are 2 views on this matter.

1.Jones,Kingdon,Vassilyev.There are 3 degrees of word-stress in English:primary(strong),secondary (partial),weak (unstressed syllables).All these degrees are linguistically important,because there are words in English which meanings depend upon the occurrence of either of the three degrees in their stress patterns( Import-impOrt,certification-cerTIfication).

2.american linguists(Trager,Hill).

Distinguish 4 degrees of stress:primary (cUpboard),secondary(discriminAtion),tertiary stress (Analyse),weak stress(cupboard),which often left unmarked.Secondary stress usually occur before the primary str.(examinAtion),while tertiary –after it(spEcialize).Linguistically tertiary stress can be taken for a variant of secondary word stress,that’s why the stress pattern of English words may be defined as correlation of 3 degrees of stress.

Phonetic styles and their classification.

Language functions in two main forms: the spoken language and the written language. Scientists distinguish a number of functional styles of the written language, such as belles-letters style, publicistic/ newspaper/ the style of official documents, st. od scientific prose, etc. Conversation can be formal and informal

Phonetic styles-different ways of pronunciation, caused by extralinguistic factors and characterized by definite phonetic features.

Belles-Letters-The Scandet and the sliding Scales.
Speech style-informing, entertaining, persuading, advertising, friendly , etc.

Classification -reading alound, monologue, conversation.

D. Jones distinguishes 5 styles:

1. the rapid familiar;

2. the slower colloquial;

3. the natural style used in addressing an audience;

5. the acquired style used in singing


1.familiar colloquial;

2. formal colloquial;

3. public –speaking style;

4. public-reading style.

Scherba- full style and colloquial style (разговорный)

The phonetic style-forming means

The phonetic style-forming means include both segmental and suprasegmental levels.

On the segmental level

As a result we distinguish the following style-forming means:

degree of assimilation, i.e.

reduction, or


Sometimes whole syllables may be elided. Unstressed conjunctions and prepositions, such as and and of are particularly often elided, e.g.: boys ’n’girls, cup ‘o’ tea,. In conversational speech vowels and consonants in unstressed syllables within polysyllabic word regularly elide, e.g. camera /"k{mr@/. Complex consonant clusters are also often reduced or simplified, e.g.: twelfths becoming /"twelTs/ or /"twelfs/;


liaison, /li|eIz@n/ (or linking)

(e.g., the linking /r/ or /g/ when they are followed by a vowel like in there is /De@rÿ Iz/, looking at /lUkINÿ {t/. Another aspect of liaison in English is the movement of a single consonant at the end of an unstressed word to the beginning of the next if that is strongly stressed, for example not at all, where for many speakers the /t/of at becomes initial and therefore strongly aspirated in the final syllable all, etc. All these phenomena depend on the degree of formality and carefulness of speech, and thus they may serve to distinguish phonetic styles At the same time it should be mentioned that assimilation, reduction, elision, etc., which are natural, are typical of any pronunciation style, caused by an unconscious economy of pronunciation efforts universal for all the languages.

On the suprasegmental level

It appears that each style of pronunciation is characterized by a specific set (combination) of certain segmenatal and prosodic features not typical of other styles.

Phonetic styles have not been exhaustively studied yet. Most of the researches concentrated mainly on distinguishing different types of speech activity (reading aloud – spontaneous speech). For example, D.Crystal and D.Davy who established the following differences between informal conversational English as opposed to written English read aloud:

In formal conversational English is also characterized by the unexpected use of dialect forms, elements of very formal language, slips of the tongue, hesitant drawls, uneven tempo, significant variations in loudness, paralinguistic features (laugh, giggle, cough, etc.).

As we see the first attempts to the study of phonetic styles disclose numerous distinctions in pitch range, pitch level, pitch interval, rate of pitch change, rhythmical organization of speech, types of pauses, temporal modifications, voice quality, etc. This means that much remains to be done in this field of phonetic science.

The problem of phonetic styles is of considerable importance to the teachers of foreign languages. When choosing the teaching norm it is necessary to determine not only the type of pronunciation but also the style to be taught to foreigners especially at the initial stage.

Further phonostylistic studies will enable the learner to perceive and recognize the speech social specificity and to adapt his/her ear to the speech social acceptability in the shortest possible time. Besides further experimental studies will make it possible to produce the classification of pronunciation styles based on phonetic principles, namely: on the interaction of segmental and prosodic features of speech.

3. Informational style and its register. It is sometimes qualified as “formal, or neutral”, since it is least of all influenced by extralinguistic factors. There are some varieties of oral representation of different text belonging to this style:

4. Scientific or Academic style. It is both intellectual and volitional. The most pure manifestation of this style is realized in

5. Publicistic or Oratorial style. It is a very broad label because there is a great deal of overlap between academic, publicistic and declamatory style.

6. Declamatory (Artistic or Belles-lettre) style: fiction, drama, poetry. It serves for many kinds of linguistic activity.

Pronunciation varieties of British English

It is generally considered that the orthoepic norm of British English is “Received Pronunciation” (RP), though as many scholars state, it is not the only variety of British English pr-n that is recognized as the orthoepic norm in present-day Britain.

RP was accepted as the phonetic norm of English about a century ago. It is mainly based on the Southern English regional type of pr-n, but it has developed its own features. Though RP is carefully preserved by the public schools & the privileged class in England, the RP of today differs in some respects from the former refined RP used half a century ago. A.Gimson claims that the exclusive purity of the classic RP has been diluted, as some features of regional types of speech are “received” now, though some 50 years ago those features were considered to be regional, non-RP.

The main changes that have recently taken place in RP are as follows:

1. The diphthongization of the RP /i:/& /u:/which in final position are often

pronounced with a glide (e.g. “see” - /sij/, “who” – /h u/ ).

2. Monophthongization of /ai / & /a/ when followed by /ә/(e.g.”tower”-

/ta ә/ >/taә/,“fire”-/ ' faiә / > / ' faә /).

3. The centering of former /o / to / /. E.g. the word “November” had three possible pr-ns the recommended /o / (/no ' vembэ /), shortened monophthongal form /o / (/no' vembә/), or, in rapid speech /ә /(/nә'vembә/). Now, there is a tendency to pronounce / / in careful speech (/n 'vembэ/),

& /ә/in rapid speech (/nә'vembә/).

4. A greater weakening of vowels in weakly stressed syllables, which results in

the use of the neutral /ә/.E.g. /bә'li:v/for /bi'li:v/; /intrәstin /for /intristin/.

But RP does not accept a loss of the /ә /-/i /distinction in final open syllables (e.g. between “better-Betty”, “dollar-Dolly”).

5. The assimilation of the following sounds: /sj/> / /, /zj/ > / /, /tj> /t/, /dj/ > /d/ (E.g. “issue”, “crozier”, “situation”, “education”).

6. The final /b, d, g / are now partially devoiced, But the distinctions between /b-p, d-t, g-k / are just clearly marked, because /p, t, k / are fortis, while /b, d, g / are lenis (cf. “cab-cap”, “had-hat”, “bag-back”).

7. The use of the intrusive / r/, which some 20-30 years ago was carefully avoided by RP speakers.

Nowadays RP tolerates the intrusive /r/ in such phrases as “the idea /r/ of it”, “Asia /r/& Africa” & so on.

A.Gimson distinguishes 3 varieties of RP today:

(1) The conservative RP used mainly by the older RP speakers;

(2) The general RP heard on radio & TV that is less conservative;

(3) The advanced RP mainly used by the younger RP speakers.

RP has accepted so many features of the Southern English regional accents that many linguists use the terms “Southern English” for RP.

RP has been investigated & described more thoroughly than any other type of English pr-n. It was excellently described in the works of D.Jones & his Everyman’s English Pronouncing Dictionary is still the most reliable reference book on RP.

But there are many educated people in Britain who do not speak RP, though their English is good & correct.

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