# Theoretical phonetics. Study guide for second year students. Борискина О.О - 49 стр.

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• ## Иностранный язык

49
Bryson Bill. Mother Tongue
What is the most common vowel sound in English? [i], [e], [
ɛ
], [æ], [α],
[o], [u], [u], [
Λ
], [ai], [aw], [
ɔi].
In fact, it is none of these. It isn't even a standard vowel sound. It is the
colourless murmur of the schwa, represented by the symbol [ə] and appearing as
one or more of the vowel sounds in words without number. It is the sound of i in
animal, of e in enough, of the middle o in orthodox, of the second, fourth, fifth,
and sixth vowels in inspirational, and of at least one of the vowels in almost
every multisyllabic word in the language. It is everywhere.
This reliance of ours on one drab phoneme is a little odd when you
consider that English contains as lush a mixture of phonics as any language in
the world.
But on the other hand we possess a number of sounds that other languages find
treacherous and daunting, most notably the “t” sound of the and think, which is
remarkably rare in the world at large, or the “l” sound that Orientals find so
deeply impossible. (“Bruddy hairo!” means “Bloody hell”.)
If there is one thing certain about English pronunciation it is that there is
almost nothing certain about it. No other language in the world has more words
spelled the same way and yet pronounced differently. Consider just a few:
road - broad five - give early - dearly steak - streak
ache - moustache low - how doll- droll scour - four
grieve - sieve paid - said break - speak heard - beard
In some languages, such as Finnish, there is a neat one-to-one
correspondence between sound and spelling. А к to the Finns is always 'k'.
But in English pronunciation is so various - one might say random - that
not one of our twenty-six letters can be relied on for constancy. Either they
clasp to themselves a variety of pronunciations, as with the с in race, rack, and
rich, or they sulk in silence, like the b in debt, the a in bread, the second t in
thistle.
In combinations they become even more unruly and unpredictable, most
famously in the letter cluster ough, which can be pronounced in any of eight
ways - as in through, though, thought, tough, plough, thorough, hiccough, and
lough (an Irish-English word for lake or loch, pronounced roughly as the latter).
Two words in English, hegemony and phthisis, have nine pronunciations
each. But perhaps nothing speaks more clearly for the absurdities of English
pronunciation than that the word for the study of pronunciation in English,
orthoepy, can itself be pronounced two ways.
Every language has its quirks and all languages, for whatever reason,
happily accept conventions and limitations that aren't necessarily called for. In
English, for example, we don't have words like fwost or zpink or abtholve
because we never normally combine those letters to make those sounds, though
there's no reason why we couldn't if we wanted to. We just don't. Chinese takes
this matter of self-denial to extremes, particularly in the variety of the language
                                        49
Bryson Bill. Mother Tongue
What is the most common vowel sound in English? [i], [e], [ɛ], [æ], [α],
[o], [u], [u], [Λ], [ai], [aw], [ɔi].
In fact, it is none of these. It isn't even a standard vowel sound. It is the
colourless murmur of the schwa, represented by the symbol [ə] and appearing as
one or more of the vowel sounds in words without number. It is the sound of i in
animal, of e in enough, of the middle o in orthodox, of the second, fourth, fifth,
and sixth vowels in inspirational, and of at least one of the vowels in almost
every multisyllabic word in the language. It is everywhere.
This reliance of ours on one drab phoneme is a little odd when you
consider that English contains as lush a mixture of phonics as any language in
the world.
But on the other hand we possess a number of sounds that other languages find
treacherous and daunting, most notably the t sound of the and think, which is
remarkably rare in the world at large, or the l sound that Orientals find so
deeply impossible. (Bruddy hairo! means Bloody hell.)
If there is one thing certain about English pronunciation it is that there is
almost nothing certain about it. No other language in the world has more words
spelled the same way and yet pronounced differently. Consider just a few:
road - broad          five - give          early - dearly         steak - streak
ache - moustache low - how                 doll- droll            scour - four
grieve - sieve        paid - said          break - speak          heard - beard
In some languages, such as Finnish, there is a neat one-to-one
correspondence between sound and spelling. А к to the Finns is always 'k'.
But in English pronunciation is so various - one might say random - that
not one of our twenty-six letters can be relied on for constancy. Either they
clasp to themselves a variety of pronunciations, as with the с in race, rack, and
rich, or they sulk in silence, like the b in debt, the a in bread, the second t in
thistle.
In combinations they become even more unruly and unpredictable, most
famously in the letter cluster ough, which can be pronounced in any of eight
ways - as in through, though, thought, tough, plough, thorough, hiccough, and
lough (an Irish-English word for lake or loch, pronounced roughly as the latter).
Two words in English, hegemony and phthisis, have nine pronunciations
each. But perhaps nothing speaks more clearly for the absurdities of English
pronunciation than that the word for the study of pronunciation in English,
orthoepy, can itself be pronounced two ways.
Every language has its quirks and all languages, for whatever reason,
happily accept conventions and limitations that aren't necessarily called for. In
English, for example, we don't have words like fwost or zpink or abtholve
because we never normally combine those letters to make those sounds, though
there's no reason why we couldn't if we wanted to. We just don't. Chinese takes
this matter of self-denial to extremes, particularly in the variety of the language