By April McMahon

ISBN-10: 0748612513

ISBN-13: 9780748612512

ISBN-10: 0748612521

ISBN-13: 9780748612529

This can be a brief, vigorous, and available advent to the sounds of recent English. Its emphasis on version, with examples from British, American, New Zealand, and Singaporean English, make it appropriate for either local and non-native audio system. McMahon specializes in the vowels and consonants, but additionally discusses syllables, rigidity, and the phonology of phrases and words. She introduces new instruments and terminology progressively, and discusses the incentive for key concepts.

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Example text

Similarly, in Hungarian /k/ and /c/ are consistently distinguished as and . The alphabet has several times been borrowed by speakers of one language from those of another, and has been remodelled in some respects to fit the borrowing phoneme system better. So, the first letter of the Semitic alphabet represents the glottal stop, [ʔ], which is phonemically distinctive in Arabic, for example: but when this alphabet was borrowed by the Greeks, that first letter, Greek alpha, was taken to represent the vowel which begins the word alpha itself.

If we find counterexamples, where either aspirated forms appear in other contexts, or word-initial allophones of /p/, /t/ or /k/ are not aspirated, we have to modify our generalisation to include them. After a while, when we keep finding data that agree with our observation and not finding data that disagree, we can feel more confident that our generalisation is the right one, and regard our hypothesis as confirmed. 3 Making statements more precise The next question is how we should express these generalisations.

First, we can distinguish consonants from vowels using the feature [±syllabic]; sounds which are [+syllabic] form the core, or nucleus, of a syllable, while [– syllabic] sounds form syllabic margins. Vowels are therefore [+syllabic], and all consonants [– syllabic], though some consonants (like English /m n l r/) may have [+syllabic] allophones in certain contexts. Second, the feature [±consonantal] distinguishes [+consonantal] oral stops, fricatives, nasals and ‘liquids’ (the cover term for /r/ and /l/ sounds), from [– consonantal] glides (like English /j/, /w/) and vowels.

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An Introduction to English Phonology by April McMahon


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