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  1. #1
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    Hello,


    I have actually two question concerning the two quotes below.


    '' ..the [h] ...is often described as a voiceless glottal fricative''

    ''The sound [m], [n] and [ŋ], the three consonants in the word meaning, have the same place of articulation as [b], [d] and [g] respectively. What distinguishes them is that in the case of the latter the velum touches the back wall of the pharynx, thereby directing the whole airstream through the mouth, the oral cavity, while in the case of the former the velum falls, allowing the airstream to pass through the nasal cavity." Stuart C. Poole, An introduction to linguistics


    - Would you kindly tell me why the sound [h] is described as fricative as there is no frication when pronouncing the sound [h]?
    - Does the velum touches the back wall of the pharynx when we pronounce [b], [d] and [g] ?How come? Because I cannot feel that the soft palate of the alveolar ridge touches the the back wall of the pharynx


    Thank you so much in Advance and sorry for taking your time.

    Regards,



  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post

    Would you kindly tell me why the sound [h] is described as fricative as there is no frication when pronouncing the sound [h]?
    If there were no friction, you wouldn't be able to hear anything.
    - Does the velum touches the back wall of the pharynx when we pronounce [b], [d] and [g]?
    No for the first two; yes for the third - As Poole said.
    How come? Because I cannot feel that the soft palate of the alveolar ridge touches the the back wall of the pharynx.
    If you say 'agagagagag....you will feel the contact being made and broken.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    I have to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If there were no friction, you wouldn't be able to hear anything.

    Friction is not needed for audibility. There are plenty of non-fricative speech sounds. Indeed, producing an actual glottal fricative is not very common in normal speech -- we don't usually constrict our glottises to pronounce this English phoneme.
    No for the first two; yes for the third - As Poole said.

    The velum does block the airflow from getting to the nose when we pronounce oral consonants like [b], [d] or [g]. The blocking is not complete usually and it's possible to feel some airflow if we put a finger very close to the nostrils while pronouncing [p], but it's very little. When we pronounce nasal consonants, our velums lower to allow the air to escape through the nostrils. In English nasals, all or almost all of the air goes there as it is blocked by the lips ([m]) or the tongue ([n] and [ŋ]) and can't escape though the mouth.

    I'm not sure I feel the contact between my velum and my pharynx when I say "agagaga". I think the contact between the tongue and the velum is too distracting for me. I think I do feel the contact when I say "b b b b" enough times. I also feel the raising of my velum after I finish pronouncing "mmmmm", though I don't think I feel the lowering when I start. I guess it requires some practice and knowing which sensation corresponds to what.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 20-Jun-2012 at 21:20.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I have to disagree.

    Friction is not needed for audibility. There are plenty of non-fricative speech sounds.
    True, but with those sounds that we refer to as (unvoiced) fricatives, it is usually only the friction causd by air being forced through a restricted passage that makes the audible sound. My words "If there were no friction, you wouldn't be able to hear anything" was in answer to the question about /h/.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  5. #5
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    There is indeed some weak friction in [h], but it's produced pretty much everywhere or anywhere, so no wonder symaa is confused by the terminology. Also, the friction is weak enough to make many phoneticians call [h] an approximant, a glide or a vowel segment.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    There is indeed some weak friction in [h],
    Indeed.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    I've just found out that "frication" is a term commonly used in phonetics. Wells uses "friction" though.

  8. #8
    symaa is offline Member
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    I really misread '''The sound [m], [n] and [ŋ], the three consonants in the word meaning, have the same place of articulation as [b], [d] and [g] respectively. '' I thought that ([m], [n] and [ŋ]) and ([b], [d] and [g]) have all of them the same place of articulation. What confused me is that when I pronounce the sound [h], I couldn't feel any obstruction of the airstream but rather there is a relatively free flow of air.

    Thanks to all of you for the clarification, and sorry for the typos.


    All the best,

  9. #9
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Phonetics & pronunciation : [h], [b], [d] and [g] .

    Quote Originally Posted by symaa View Post
    What confused me is that when I pronounce the sound [h], I couldn't feel any obstruction of the airstream but rather there is a relatively free flow of air.
    The airflow is relatively free. But the tongue is closer to the palate than it could be and it produces some friction (or frication). It's difficult to say where exactly it's produced. Certainly not solely in the glottis. The word "glottal" in the name of this sound is a bit of a misnomer.

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