Wednesday, 6 January 2010


The organs of the speech produce almost all the sounds needed for language. These organs are divided in 2:

Passive articulators: those which remain static during the articulation of sound. (Upper lips, upper teeth, alveolar ridge, hard palate, etc.)

Active articulators: those which move towards these passive articulators to produce various speech sounds in a different way. (Uvula, lower jaw, lower teeth, lower lips, etc., the most important active articulator is the tongue)

1-nasal cavity


4-aveolar ridge

5-hard palate

6-velum (soft palate)


8-apex (tip) of tongue

9-blade (front) of tongue

10-dorsum (back) of tongue

11-oral cavity




15-vocal cords



The nature of voicing
The mucosal wave:
For voiced sounds, the vocal cords are held together by the action of the arytenoid cartilages, but they are held together less tightly than for a glottal stop.

When air is forced up the trachea from the lungs, at a certain pressure it is able to force its way through the vocal cords, pushing them open. As air passes through the glottis, the air pressure in the glottis falls, because when a gas or liquid runs through a constricted passage, its velocity increases (the Venturi tube effect). This increase in velocity results in a drop in pressure of that gas or liquid (the Bernouilli principle). Because of the drop in pressure, the vocal cords snap together, at the lower edge first, closing again. The cycle then begins again. A single cycle of opening and closing takes in the region of 1/100th second: therefore, the cycle repeats at rates in the region of 100 times per second. This rate is too rapid for the human ear to be able to discriminate each individual opening/closing of the vocal cords. However, we perceive variations in the overall rate of vibration as changes in the pitch of the voice, "pitch" being the perceptual correlate of acoustic frequency.

Voicelessness: If the vocal cords are held apart, air can flow between them without being obstructed, so that no noise is produced by the larynx. In voiceless fricatives such as [f], [s], [ʃ], [ʂ], [θ ], [ç], [x], and [ χ], the vocal cords are held apart. If there is a sufficiently high rate of airflow through the open glottis, a quiet disruption of the air results (whisper). The glottal fricative has whisper phonation, as do whispered vowels, and the aspiration portion of voiceless aspirated stops such as English /p/, /t/, or /k/ in pre-vocalic position. The IPA diacritic [° ], written below a symbol, indicates such voicelessness. Voiceless vowels, nasals and liquids can be transcribed using that diacritic. For stops and fricatives there are separate letters for voiced and voiceless sounds, e.g. [b] (voiced) vs. [p]. In these cases, the voicelessness diacritic can be used to denote a (possibly partially) devoiced realisation of a phoneme that might otherwise be expected to be voiced, such as the pronunciation of the / ɹ/ in /tɹeIn/, "train", in which the /ɹ/ may be devoiced due to its following a voiceless, aspirated /t/.

Breathy voice or murmur: This phonation is a combination of breath and voice, which occurs if the vocal cords do not close completely along their entire length while they are vibrating; the air which flows through the remaining aperture adds whisper to the vocal cord vibrations.
Creaky voice or creak: In this kind of voicing, the vocal cords are stiffened, so that they are very rigid as they vibrate.


Assimilation has a very precise meaning when it’s related to studies of languages. Is a common phonological process bye which the phonetics of a speech segment becomes more like another segment in a word. In other words it’s when a letter (sound) is influenced by the letter (sound) before or after it so that it changes its sound and/or spelling. The word assimilation it self it’s said to be assimilated; it is derived from the latin prefix ad- meaning to and simil- meaning like but, instead of being adsimilated, it has the easier pronunciation of assimilated.

A common example of assimilation is “don’t be silly” where the /n/ and /t/ are assimilated to /m/ by the following /b/, in many accents the natural sound is “dombe silly”.

Assimilation can be synchronic being an active process in a language at a given point in time or diachronic being a historical sound change. There are 4 configurations found: the increase in phonetic similarity may be between adjacent segments or between segments separated by one or more intervening segments; the changes could be in reference to a preceding segment or a following one. Even when all four occur, it changes in regard to a following adjacent segment account for virtually all assimilatory changes. Assimilation to an adjacent segment are vastly more frequent than assimilation to a non-adjacent one.

If a sound changes with reference to a following segment, it is called “regressive assimilation”, the changes with reference to a preceding segment are called “progressive assimilation”. A lot of people find these terms very confusing because they seem to mean the opposite of the intended meaning. To avoid the problem exist a variety of alternative terms. “Regressive assimilation” is also known as right to left, leading or reciprocal assimilation. “Progressive assimilation” is known as left to right or preservative, lagging or lag assimilation.

Occasionally two sounds may influence one another in reciprocal assimilation. When such a change results in a single segment with some of the features of both components, it is known as coalescence or fusion.

1. / t / changes to / p / before / m / / b / or / p /
/ d / changes to / b / before / m / / b / or / p /
/ n / changes to / m / before / m / / b / or / p /
/ t / changes to / k / before / k / or /g/
5. / d / changes to / g / before / k / or / g /
/ n / changes to /ŋ/ before / k / or / g /
/ s / changes to /ʃ/ before /ʃ/ or / j /
8. / z / changes to /ʒ/ before /ʃ/ or / j /
/θ/ changes to / s / before / s /

Monday, 14 December 2009

entonation and meaning

when we talk with persons can see in us
  • mood
  • attitud
also when we say something the entonation help us to give at that words the correct mening and the other person can understand the message but the entonation is not the only tool to understand the meanig, the body language is another tool that help and this 2 elements together are know as paralanguage.
for example if we say

  • would you please sit down ( angry)
  • would you please sit down ( friendly)
with the correct entonation and body language the persons who receive the order is going to receive the correct mening and that person is going to react in base of that.

here there are some website where you can look more information. in this page there are a n explanation of a native speaker.

by Maria Paula

who I am?

Hi teacher, I hadn't read the comment where you ask who I am, well I'm Lidia and Zisko is Ramses, sorry but we already had a count with those nicknames, see you .


The word diphthong is from Greek: it means "two vowels", and we write them as two vowels.
A diphthong is a vowel in which the speaker's tongue changes position while it is being pronounced, so that the vowel sounds like a combination of two other vowels. These are tense vowels, they can be long or short.

Diphthong examples:

/eɪ/ as day, pay, say, lay.

// as sky, buy, cry, tie.

ɔɪ/ as toy, boy.

ɪə/ as beer, hear.

eə/ as bear, pair, hair

ʊə/ as tour, poor.

/əʊ/ as phone, no, go

/ as how, cow

The three major diphthongs in Standard English, which are known as phonemic diphthongs, are (past rode; past p ridden), , and ɔɪ . All three of these diphthongs are very common, and many people simply think of them as single vowels in some contexts. For example, in the English word ride, the i would be transcribed phonetically as . Although it appears as a single letter in our writing, it actually consists of two vowels — if you say the word you should be able to hear the two. Similarly, the word how contains the diphthong at the end, and the word boy contains the diphthong ɔɪ.

English diphthongs chart:

Friday, 11 December 2009



Intonation is a crucial element or verbal interaction. Authors of teacher’s handbooks and teaching materials agree on this. The communicative importance of intonation should also be reflected in the attention it gets in language teaching.

There are different ways in which human sound is processed. The idea to emphasis is that all this is done in order to communicate.
Intonation is often defined as a speech melody, consisting of different tones, obviously, what melody and intonation have in common is that in both we make our voice go up or down at will. It means, the tones depend on the pitch of the voice.

There are seven or eight tones but the more commons in English are the follow combinations:”down – up”= falling rising tone and “up – down “= rising – falling.






The classic example of intonation is the question-statement distinction. For example, northeastern American English, like very many languages, have a rising intonation for each declarative questions (He found it on the street?), and a falling intonation for wh-questions (Where did he find it?) and statement (He found it on the street.) Yes or no question (Did he find it on the street?) often have a rising end, but not always, For example.
He: ready?

Saturday, 5 December 2009


In a previous class, we learnt about paralanguage and intonation, both interesting and entertaining topics. As we saw, there are other ways how we can communicate with others, that means, we do not just use our speech, but we also express feelings, opinions, mandates, etc. through the body language, expressions and gestures, vulume, tone of voice, and in some cases intonation of speech, which are includes in paralanguage.

clarifying all kind of doubts, I am going to give you a definition of paralanguage. It is supposed that paralanguage is not about what something is said but how something is said. According to some authors, paralanguage refers to the nonverbal parts of communication, used to express or modify meaning and convey or share emotions. It also could be conveyed consciously ( for example when you have to communicate something with a purpose) or unconsciously. (just because, or in an spontateous way)

Remember that we listened in the recorging the word yes ten times in different ways. The main purpose of that activity was we realized that throught the intonation of words we can transmit a meaning, and this meaning is the feeling. in the word yes people in the recorging express feeling such as happiness, confidence, annoyance, and others.

I already have said that paralanguage involves lots of elements, one of them is body language, which involves feelings and physical expressions such as body pose, gestures, eye contact, etc. Sometimes the use of body language is an interpersonal way to communicate. In a classroom body language can be useful and helpful for both a better interaction between teacher and students and understanding of words. With imperative forms or in questions we can use a lot body language. for example Would you please sit down? here the teacher can do use of body movement, put his or her hands down, and friendly gestures like a smile.
Here there are some links that could help you to understad better this topic: