LIN100Y1 Lecture Notes - Vocal Folds, Articulatory Phonetics, Murmured Voice

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19 Apr 2012
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Linguistics 2011-09-19
Phonetics: Study of sounds
- The structure of the minimal units in language: the sounds.
- Spoken language came before written language- writing is an external factor when
looking at a language.
- the subfield of linguistics that studies the inventory and the structure of the sounds of
speech is called phonetics
- there are two basic ways of analyzing the speech sounds (or phones, from Greek
sound, voice
Articulatory phonetics: looking at the physiological mechanisms of speech production
(what organs are involved, where specifically sounds are produced). We will focus mainly
on this approach ( jaw movements, lip shape, toungue placement, etc.)
- Acoustic phonetics: measuring and analyzing the physical properties of the sound
waves produced in speech
- in order to be able to accurately describe the characteristics of sounds, we need to have
reliable methods of transcribing them : IPA
- the alphabets created for writing systems of various languages are not unambiguous:
IPA ( International Phonics Alphabet)
- Developed in order to be able to encode the sounds of diverse languages. ( when
following the written alphabet system, there are limitations as to writing down each
- Same graphic representation =/= same pronunciations
- Need for a system that gives us a clear correspondence of what we are hearing to how
we are writing it
- in the IPA this symbol is used to represent sounds in other languages that have the
same characteristics (pronunciation) as [ð] in English, although the writing system in
the original language might be different:
- the IPA is very useful to linguists as it allows the accurate transcription of all sounds,
no matter the language they are found in
- Speech can be divided up into small segments of sounds
- Error in speech production switching initial sounds of each word. (Slips of the toungue)
ex. Melcome Wat / Welcome Mat
Respiratory System- Sound producing organs
In order to be able to speak, we need to be able to
1. Breathe- also a survival function, fundamental.
Lungs, provide air supply thus producing sounds.
2. Expel air.- Larynx, adds special characteristics to
- contributions of intercostals and diaphragm : intercostals raise the ribcage, allowing us
to breathe in normally. Diaphragm allow us to be able to keep on speaking; we don’t
have to stop after each sound
3. Refinement of sounds- Pharynx, if a human being lacks this, they cannot speak.
The Larynx
- the air flows out of the lungs up the trachea (windpipe)
- it continues its circuit through the larynx (a box-like organ made of cartilage and muscles
usually called adams apple)
a). The thyroid cartilage (the main portion of the larynx- supports the larynx)
b). The cricoid cartilage (ring-shaped; the thyroid cartilage rests on it(supports the thyroid)
c). Vocal folds (fine sheets of muscles flaring out from the inner sides of the thyroid
cartilage, can be positioned in various ways and can alter the airflow)
- Majority of human sounds need the contribution of vocal folds
- When the air is travelling through the larynx, the vocal folds have to be open (and the glottis
has to be wide). However, when they are close together, the air pushes the vocal folds, making
them vibrate and makes a different sounds.
- 4 different main possibilities (Glottal states)
1, vocal folds pulled apart: air passes directly through the glottis; sounds produced in this
way are called voiceless no vibration
2. vocal folds are brought close together: when the air passes, they vibrate. The sounds
produced are called voiced. vibration. It causes the sound to have specific properties
3. whisper: similar to voiceless sounds, but the anterior part of the vocal folds is pulled
close, while the posterior parts are apart
4. murmur (breathy voice): voiced sounds are produced, but the vocal folds are relaxed; this
allows air to escape and produce a simultaneous breathy effect. Languages like Hindi sounds
have a lot of murmur sounds.
d). Arytenoids (small cartilages to which the folds are attached; they can be opened,
closed, rotated)
e). Glottis (the space between the vocal folds; as air passes through it different glottal
states are produced, depending on the positioning of the vocal folds)
Distinctions between voiceless and voice sounds.
- sound and (: voiceless sound , : voiced sound (vibrates more)
- The test of voiceless and voiced sounds are easily done by covering your ears while
pronouncing the sounds. In this case, vibrates more, owing to the contribution of the vocal
Term articulation: production of sounds
- There are 3 classes sounds. Each one share important properties( shared phonetic
1. Vowels a,e,i,o,u and vowels from other languages
- normally all voiced, produced with little obstruction in the vocal tract
-very hard to identify compared to consonants
- peaks of syllables, when counting syllables we are actually counting vowels.
2. Consonants- can be voiced (b) or voiceless (t)
- less sonorous
- as opposed to vowels, are made with either a closure[p] or a narrowing [f]
of the vocal tract
- some consonants can form syllabic nuclei, similarly to vowels. However, it
is hard to read a word formed just with consonants.
- compared to vowels, they have precise points of articulations
- there are cases when consonants become like vowels.
3. Glides- sounds that share properties of both consonants and vowels (and are, therefore,
also called
- Articulation is similar to vowels
- in spite of this, they move quickly to another articulation (as the initial glides in
), or quickly terminate (
boy, now).
- they pattern like consonants because they can never form the nucleus of a syllable
Consonant Articulation
- The sound travels: Larynx- Pharynx- nasal cavity/ the tongue- the teeth, the lips
- the placement of the tongue and the positioning of the lips are the crucial factors
- The tongue
- the primary articulating organ
- extremely mobile: can be raised, lowered, thrust forward, retracted, rolled back
- its sides can also be raised or lowered
- has five areas