An Introduction To Vowels And Consonants English Language Essay

July 19, 2017 English Language

Language is an organisation of sounds, of vocal symbols-the sounds produced from the oral cavity with the aid of assorted variety meats of address to convey some meaningful message. Language has a really of import societal intent, because it is chiefly used for lingual communicating. It is the most powerful, convenient and lasting agencies and signifier of communicating. A linguistic communication can be used in two ways for the intents of communicating. It can be spoken or written but the medium of address is more of import than composing. This is because address comes foremost in the history of any linguistic communication community – in fact, it came centuries before composing in the history of any linguistic communication community. Second, address comes foremost in the history of any single. We started talking long before we started composing. Speech as a medium of communicating is used much more than the medium of composing. I n every linguistic communication, a missive of the alphabet represents a peculiar sound. Last, modern engineering has contributed enormously to the importance of speech- modern innovations like the telephone, the wireless, the tape recording equipment and several such devices have raised jobs of communicating chiefly concerned with address.

Linguisticss is a systematic survey of linguistic communication. Phonetics is a subdivision of linguistics and it is the subdivision covering with the medium of address. It deals with the production, transmittal and response of the sounds of human address. For the production of address sounds, we need an air-stream mechanism. There are three chief air-stream mechanisms, such as, pulmonic, glottalic and velaric air-stream mechanisms. When the air-stream mechanism is used to force out, it is called egressive and when it is used to pull air in, it is called ingressive. Most sounds of most linguistic communications in the universe are produced with a pneumonic egressive air-stream mechanism. The writer described in item the assorted variety meats that are responsible for change overing the lung-air into speech sounds before it escapes into the outer atmosphere. For case, if we say a drawn-out Selective Service, a drawn-out zzzz, a drawn-out ffff and a drawn-out vvvv, we see at one time two things. We recognize these as address sounds because these sounds occur in the assorted words we use in our English address. The other thing we notice is that each one of these sounds is different from the others.

Speech sounds are really loosely divided into two classs, viz. , Vowels and Consonants. If we say the English word shoe, we realize that this word is made up of two sounds, one represented by the letters sh and the other represented by the letters oe. When we produce the sound represented by the letters sh easy, we realize that during the production of this sound, the air escapes through the oral cavity with clash. On the other manus, when we produce the sound represented by the letters oe, the air escapes through the oral cavity freely and we do non hear any clash. The sound is represented by the letters sh in the word shoe is a consonant and the sound represented by the letters oe in the word shoe is a vowel. All sounds during the production of which we hear clash are consonants, but non all consonants are produced with clash.

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If we say the words, she, shoe, shy, show, ship and cry, we will recognize that when we produce the sounds represented by the letters e, oe, y, ow, one and ou in these words, the air escapes through the oral cavity freely without any clash. All these sounds are hence vowels but each one of them sounds different from the others. These sounds should hence be sub-classified. Similarly, if we say the words shoe, see, zoo and who, we will hear clash during the production of the sounds represented by the letters sh, s, omega and wh. All these sounds are therefore consonants. But one time once more, we will see that each of them sounds different from the others. The sounds that are called consonants besides need to be sub-classified.

Description of Consonants:

The word ‘consonant ‘ has been derived from the Grecian word ‘ consonautem ‘ , which means the sound produced with the aid of some other sound ( vowel ) . A consonant is normally described, taking into history whether it is unvoiced or voiced, its topographic point of articulation and its mode of articulation. Manner of articulation refers to the stenosis involved and plosive, affricate, rhinal, continuant, etc ; are labels given to consonants harmonizing to their mode of articulation. Topographic point of articulation merely means the two articulators involved in the production of a consonant. Consonants can be described harmonizing to their topographic points of articulation. The label used is usually an adjectival derived from the name of the inactive articulator. The topographic points of articulation that we often come across are bilabial, labio-dental, dental, alveolar, post-alveolar, palato-alveolar, retroflex, palatine, velar, uvular and glottal.

The categorization of sounds into vowels and consonants is customary irrespective of phonic, phonological, or orthographic mentions. The current categorization following Pike divides the sounds into vocoids ( vowel sounds ) , contoids ( harmonic sounds ) and semi-vocoids or semi-contoids ( for illustration ; /w/ and /j/ in English ) . The footings contoids and vocoids refer to phonetic signifier merely, without any mention to phonological map. A vocoid, harmonizing to Pike, is a section formed with an unfastened estimate of the articulators, with or without a velic closing, and with cardinal transition or air-stream. All other sections are contoids.

In English, there can be syllabic vocoids, non-syllabic vocoids, syllabic contoids and non-syllabic contoids. Syllabic vocoids are all vowel sounds ; they function as syllable karyon. Phonetically, the vocoids are vowels and their phonological map is that of a syllabic vocoid. Non-syllabic vocoids are the sounds which are phonetically vocoids but phonologically are contoids. Syllabic contoids are the sounds which are phonetically contoids but their phonological map is that of syllabic karyon, that is, they represent the V component in the construction of a syllable. Non-syllabic contoids are the sounds that phonetically are contoids and phonologically stand for the C component in the construction of a syllable.

A description of consonantal sounds, harmonizing to A.C.Gimson, must supply replies to the undermentioned inquiries: –

Is the air-stream set in gesture by the lungs or by some other agencies ( pneumonic or non-pulmonic ) ?

Is the air-stream forced outwards or sucked inwards ( egressive or ingressive ) ?

Make the vocal cords vibrate or non ( voiced or voiceless ) ?

Is the soft roof of the mouth raised or lowered? Or, does the air base on balls through the unwritten pit ( oral cavity ) or the rhinal pit ( nose ) ?

At what point or points and between what organs does the closing or contracting take topographic point ( Place of articulation ) ?

What is the type of closing or narrowing at the point of articulation ( Manner of articulation ) ?

Therefore, the description of a consonant will include five sorts of information:

1. ) The nature of air-stream mechanism,

2. ) The province of the glottis,

3. ) The place of the soft roof of the mouth,

4. ) The articulators involved- the active articulator and the inactive articulator and

5. ) The nature of stenosis involved sing its production.

The Nature of Air-Stream Mechanism: All English sounds, vowels every bit good as consonants, are produced with a Pulmonic egressive air-stream mechanism, that is, the lung-air pushed out.

The State of the Glottis: Speech sounds can be classified as voiceless or voiced, depending upon whether the vocal cords are broad apart and the glottis is broad unfastened ( voiceless ) or the vocal cords are kept slackly together and they vibrate ( voiced ) .

The Position of the Soft Palate: Speech sounds can be classified as unwritten or rhinal, depending upon whether the soft-palate is raised so as to close off the rhinal transition of air ( unwritten ) or it is lowered to open the rhinal transition of air at the same time with an unwritten closing ( rhinal ) . Sounds can besides be nasalised.

The Articulators Involved-the Active and Passive Articulators: Of the assorted articulators described in the chapter, at least two are required for the production of any address sound ; some articulators move during the production of address sounds. These are termed as active articulators. Certain other articulators remain inactive and the active articulators move in the way of these. These are termed as inactive articulators.

The Nature of Stricture Involved: The term ‘stricture ‘ refers to the manner in which the transition of air is restricted by the assorted variety meats of address. The stenosis may be one of complete closing, that is, the active and inactive articulators come into steadfast contact with each other, therefore forestalling the lung-air from get awaying through the oral cavity. Simultaneously, there is a velic closing, that is, the soft roof of the mouth is raised, thereby closing off the rhinal transition of air. Therefore, the lung-air is blocked in the oral cavity. When the unwritten closing is released, that is, when the active articulator is all of a sudden removed from the inactive articulator, the air escapes with a little explosive noise. Sounds produced with a stenosis of complete closing and sudden release are called stop consonants. If the active articulator is removed easy from the inactive articulator, alternatively of the explosive noise that is characteristic of plosive consonants, clash will be heard.

Description of Vowels:

Vowels may be defined with an unfastened estimate without any obstructor, partial or complete, in the air transition. They are referred to as vocoids in phonetics. They can be described in footings of three variables:

Height of lingua.

Part of the lingua which is raised or lowered.


So vocoids are usually classified harmonizing to these three standards: tongue-height ( high, mid, low, or near, half-close, half-open and unfastened ) , tongue-advancement ( front, cardinal, back ) and lip-rounding ( rounded and unrounded ) .

In order to depict the vowels, we normally draw three points in the horizontal axes: forepart, cardinal and back, mentioning to the portion of the lingua which is the highest.

So, we have:

Front vowels, during the production of which the forepart of the lingua is raised towards the difficult roof of the mouth. For illustration ; / I, I: , vitamin E: , a / in Hindi, and / I, I: , vitamin E, & A ; aelig ; / in English as in sit, place, set, and sat severally.

Back vowels, during the production of which the dorsum of the lingua is raised towards the soft roof of the mouth. For illustration ; / O: , u, u: , / in Hindi, and / a: , E” , E”E? , U, u: / in English as in cart, fingerstall, caught, book and tool severally.

Cardinal vowels, during the production of which the cardinal portion of the lingua ( the portion between the forepart and the dorsum ) is raised. For illustration ; / E™ / in Hindi, and / E™ , E™ : , E? / in English as in about, Earth and but severally.

O n the perpendicular axis, we normally draw four points: near, half-close, half-open, and unfastened. They are besides referred to every bit high, high mid, mid ( in-between ) , low mid, and low by some phoneticians, particularly the American phoneticians. On the footing of the perpendicular axes, we have the undermentioned types of vowels.

A close vowel is one for which the lingua is every bit close to the roof of oral cavity as possible. For illustration ; / I: / in sea and / U: / in menagerie.

An unfastened vowel is one which is produced with the lingua every bit low as possible and the jaws are broad unfastened. For illustration, / a: / in card and / E” / in hot.

We can depict a vowel by utilizing a three – term label, bespeaking the tallness, the way ( advancement ) of the lingua, and the place of the lips. For illustration ;

/ a: / in the English word, arm, back, unfastened, unrounded vowel.

/ E” / in the English word, hot, back, unfastened, rounded vowel.

/ I: / in the English word, demand, front, near, unrounded vowel.

/ u / in the English word, tooth, back, near, rounded vowel.

To depict the vowel sound, we mention whether it is unfastened or close, half-close or half-open, front or back or cardinal, long or short, whether the lingua is tense or slack while the vowel is being pronounced, and whether lips are spread, impersonal, unfastened rounded, or near rounded. All English vowels are voiced. So, for every vowel, we must province that it is voiced.

Therefore, to sum up, the chief point of a linguistic communication is to convey information. Nowadays, linguistic communication can take assorted signifiers. It can be spoken or written. Peter Ladefoged besides talked in his book that address is the common manner of utilizing linguistic communication. Another facet of address that is non portion of linguistic communication is the manner speech conveys information about the talker ‘s attitude to life, the topic under treatment and the individual spoken to. The concluding sort of non-linguistic information conveyed by address is the individuality of the talker.

You can frequently state the individuality of the individual who is talking without looking at them. But so once more, we may be incorrect. Whenever we speak, we create a perturbation in the air around us, a sound moving ridge, which is a little but rapid fluctuation in air force per unit area distributing through the air. Speech sounds such as vowels can differ in pitch, volume and quality. We can state the vowel a as in male parent on any pitch within the scope of our voice. We can besides state it quietly or aloud without changing the pitch. And we can state as many different vowels as we can, without changing either the pitch or the volume.

The pitch of the sound depends on the rate of repeat of the alterations in air force per unit area. The volume of the sound depends on the size of the fluctuations in air force per unit area. The 3rd manner in which sounds can differ is in quality, sometimes called timber. The vowel in see differs in quality from the first vowel in father. , irrespective of whether it besides differs in pitch or volume.

Therefore, Peter Ladefoged in his book has discussed the chief restraints on the development of the sounds of the universe ‘s linguistic communications, which are easiness of articulation, audile peculiarity, and sign economic system. He besides discussed the differences between address and linguistic communication, and has besides outlined some of the chief acoustic differentiations among sounds ; and how one of the acoustic differentiations, that matching to flip, is used in the universe ‘s linguistic communications.


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