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IV. Информационный блок. - раздел Лингвистика, Практическая фонетика Combinations Of English Consonants In Speech Are Characterized By Close Co-Ar...
Combinations of English consonants in speech are characterized by close co-articulation and different types of assimilations.
All assimilations are defined according to several main criteria:
1. The direction of the influence:
a. Progressive assimilations (when the preceding sound influences the following one)
b. Regressive assimilations (when the following sound influences the preceding one)
c. Double (reciprocal) assimilations (when we observe mutual influence of both sounds)
2. The aspect of influence:
a. Assimilations affecting the place of articulation. As a result one of the contacting consonants changes its original place of articulation. (eg. Alveolar consonants are replaced by their dental allophones)
b. Assimilations affecting the manner of articulation. As a result one of the contacting consonants is pronounced a bit differently in the given cluster in comparison with its original characteristics. (eg. Sonorant [r] becomes fricative)
c. Assimilations affecting the work of the vocal cords. As a result there is some devoicing of the following sound. (There’s no regressive assimilation according to this aspect)
d. Assimilations affecting the position of lips. As a result one of the adjacent consonants is labialized (or lip-rounded).
1. Loss of plosion
When two plosive consonants having the same place of articulation, are in contact within a word or at a word junction, there is a complete loss of plosion of the first consonant, i.e. the obstruction is removed and a plosion is heard only after the second consonant.
e.g.: Midday, big girl, deep purple, back gate, bad times. What time? What day?
When the contacting plosives have different places of articulation (pt, tk, db, gd) the obstruction of the first consonant is not removed until the articulation of the second consonant has started. The release of the first consonant is, therefore, very weak, and there is a perceptible plosion only after the second consonant. Thus, the phenomenon of the loss of plosion actually takes place in any cluster of two plosive consonants.
2. Nasal plosion
At the junction of the plosive consonants [t, d, p, b, k, g] with the nasal sonorants [m, n] the articulation of the sonorant starts when the articulation of the plosive consonant is not yet finished. As a result, instead of removing the obstruction in the mouth cavity, the air stream passes through the nasal cavity producing the effect of a nasal plosion.
Eg. – shouldn’t, wouldn’t, meet my friend.
3. Lateral plosion
At the junction of a plosive consonant with the lateral sonorant  the plosion is produced during the pronunciation of the sonorant as the air stream passes along the sides of the tongue, lowered for the articulation of . This phenomenon is known as lateral plosion:
e.g.: place, blow, glance, kettle, I'd like to see you tomorrow.
4. Loss of Aspiration.
English voiceless plosive consonants [p, t, k] are pronounced without aspiration in the position after fricative [s]. Eg.: spider, stone, sky
5. Combinations of plosive and fricative consonants
When a plosive consonant precedes a fricative consonant within a word or at a syllable or word boundary (juncture) it has its release during the pronunciation of the fricative. This phenomenon is the result of close co-articulation of adjacent consonants in English and is called fricative plosion (release):
e. g.: let's, what's, kinds, upside, stops, walks.
6. Alveolar consonants before [θ, ð]
At the juncture of the alveolar consonants [t, d, n, 1, s, z] and the interdental consonants [θ, ð] regressive assimilation affecting the place of articulation is observed: the alveolar consonants are represented by their dental variants (allophones).
Eg.: ninth, sixteenth, about the text.
7. Combinations of consonants with [w]
Consonants preceding [w], especially in a stressed syllable, are lip-rounded (labialized), i.e. regressive assimilation affecting the position of lips takes place.
Eg.: twist, quarter, switch, dweller.
When the sonorant [w] is preceded by a voiceless consonant there is also some devoicing of the sonorant (progressive assimilation effecting the work of the vocal cords). The devoicing is especially strong after [t, k] in a stressed syllable and is weaker in unstressed syllables and at a syllable or word boundary. Thus in the clusters [tw, kw, sw] double (reciprocal) assimilation takes place.
Eg.: twenty, quiet, sweet
8. Linking [r]
When a word ending in [ə] (including [Iə], [еə], etc.), [ɑ:], [ɔ:] or [з:] is immediately followed by a word beginning with a vowel, the sound [r] is very often inserted at the end of the first word joining it to the next one.
When the spelling of the word ends in the letter "r" (or "-re"), the inserted г-sound is called the linking [r]. When there is no "r" in spelling, the inserted r-sound is called the intrusive [r] (e.g., the idea [r] of it).
Learners of English are generally not recommended to use the intrusive [r], while the linking [r] is recognized as a typical feature of the English Standard pronunciation. Notice, however, the absence of linking [r] in such "inconvenient" word sequences as 'a roar of laughter', 'an error of judgment'.
9. CONSONANT CLUSTERS WITH [r]
Combinations of voiceless consonants with [r] - [tr, pr, kr, str, skr, θr, fr, sr]
In the clusters of voiceless consonants with the sonorant [r] complete or partial devoicing of the sonorant takes place — progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords.
The sound [r] is completely or almost completely devoiced when it is preceded by a voiceless plosive consonant [p, t, or k] in a stressed syllable: train, pride, cry.
In an unstressed position, at a word boundary or when [p, t, k] are preceded by [s] or some other fricative consonant the devoicing of [r] is partial: waitress, temperature, spread, quite right.
A similar effect (of partial devoicing) both in stressed and unstressed syllables is produced when [r] is preceded by a fricative consonant: friend, Geoffrey, shrewd, three, fruit.
Combinations of alveolar and inter-dental consonants with [r] – [tr, dr, \ θr, ðr]
In some of these clusters assimilation affecting the place and the manner of articulation can be observed. Thus under the influence of the post-alveolar [r] the alveolar consonants [t, d] in the clusters |tr, dr| become post-alveolar. The clusters [tr, dr] are actually characterized by double (reciprocal) assimilation since the sonorant [r] is modified as well: under the influence of the noise consonants [t, d] it becomes fricative, and after |t|, as was mentioned above, it is also devoiced.
10. ABSENCE OF ASSIMILATION IN SOME CONSONANT CLUSTERS
Clusters of alveolar and labio-dental fricatives with interdental sounds and those of labio-dental fricatives with the bilabial sonorant [w] at syllable and word junctures present special difficulty for learners of English because these consonants are only slightly different in their articulation and perception and also because such contrasts as [v — w], [s — θ] etc., are not to be found in Russian or Belarusian. In pronouncing these clusters care should be taken to avoid assimilation according to the place or manner of articulation, which means that the quality of the adjacent sounds should be preserved.
11. Elision of [t, d, h]
Elision means the dropping of a sound or sounds, either within a word or at a junction of words. Elision is a feature of rapid colloquial speech, while formal speech tends to retain the full form of words under the influence of spelling.
One of the most typical examples of elision is the omission of [t] or [d] between two other consonants: friends [frenz], mostly [məƱslI].
Another example is the dropping of [h] in pronouns and auxiliaries. Pronouns with the initial [h] and the auxiliaries "have, has, had" commonly lose [h] when they are unstressed within an utterance. [h] is pronounced in these words when they are initial in an utterance or when they are stressed:
The people have gone. [ðə 'pi:pl əv gon]
She gave him his breakfast.
It took him half an hour. But: He is going away. [hI Iz 'gəƱIɳ əweI]
It must be remembered that elisions of consonants in consonant clusters are not always permissible. In general, clusters of two identical consonants at a word junction must not be reduced by elision. The two consonants should be run together smoothly without a break.
Eg.: what time, with this, clean knife
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