Types and Manner of Production of Noise in Russian

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According to V. A. Vassilyev primary importance should be given to the type of obstruction and the manner of production noise. On this ground he distinguishes two large classes:

  • occlusive, in the production of which a complete obstruction is formed;
  • constrictive, in the production of which an in complete obstruction is formed.

Each of the two classes is subdivided into noise consonants and sonorants. Another point of view is shared by a group of Russian phoneticians. They suggest that the first and basic principle of classification should be degree of noise.

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Such consideration leads to dividing English consonants into two general kinds:

  • noise consonants;
  • sonorants.

There are no sonorants in the classifications suggested by British and American scholars. D. Jones and H. Gleason, for example, give separate groups of nasals [m, n, ? ], lateral [l] and semi-vowels, or glides [w, r, j (y)]. B. Bloch and G. Trager besides nasals and lateral give trilled [r]. According to Russian phoneticians sonorants are considered to be consonants from articulatory, acoustic and phonological point of view.

The place of articulation. This principle of classification is rather universal. English consonants are divided into:

  • lingual;
  • labial;
  • glottal.

There is, however, controversy about terming the active organs of speech. Russian phoneticians divide the tongue into the following parts:

  • front with the tip,
  • middle,
  • back.

Russian scholars consider the principle of classification according to the manner of articulation to be one of the most important. They suggest a classification from the point of view of the closure. It may be:

  • complete closure, then occlusive consonants are produced;
  • incomplete closure, then constrictive consonants are produced;
  • the combination of the two closures, then occlusive-constrictive consonants, or affricates, are produced;
  • intermittent closure, then rolled, or trilled consonants are produced.

A. Gimson, H. Gleason, D. Jones and other foreign phoneticians include in the manner of noise production groups of lateral, nasals, and semi-vowels which do not belong to a single class.

Russian phoneticians subdivide consonants into unicentral (pronounced with one focus) and bicentral (pronounced with two foci), according to the number of noise producing centers, or foci. According to the shape of narrowing constrictive consonants and affricates are subdivided into sounds with flat narrowing and round narrowing.

Russian phoneticians suggest a classification of vowels according to the following principles:

  • stability of articulation;
  • tongue position;
  • lip position;
  • character of the vowel
  • length;
  • tenseness.

Stability of articulation. This principle is not singled out by British and American phoneticians. According to Russian scholars vowels are subdivided into:

  • monophthongs (the tongue position is stable);
  • diphthongs (it changes, that is the tongue moves from one position to another);
  • diphthongoids (an intermediate case, when the change in the position is fairly weak).

Diphthongs are defined differently by different authors. A. C. Gimson, for example, distinguishes 20 vocalic phonemes which are made of vowels and vowel glides. Jones defines diphthongs as unisyllabic gliding sounds in the articulation of which the organs of speech start from one position and then glide to another position. There are two vowels in English [i:, u:] that may have a diphthongal glide where they have full length, and the tendency for diphthongization is becoming gradually stronger.

The position of the tongue. According to the horizontal movement Russian phoneticians distinguish five classes:

  • front;
  • front-retracted;
  • central;
  • back;
  • back-advanced.

British phoneticians do not single out the classes of front-retracted and back-advanced vowels. So both [i:] and are classed as front, and both [u:] and [? ] are classed as back. The way British and Russian phoneticians approach the vertical movement of the tongue is also slightly different. British scholars distinguish three classes of vowels: high (or close), mid (or half-open) and low (or open) vowels.

Russian phoneticians made the classification more detailed distinguishing two subclasses in each class, i. e. broad and narrow variations of the three vertical positions. Consequently, six groups of vowels are distinguished. Traditionally three lip positions are distinguished: spread, neutral, rounded. Lip rounding takes place due to physiological reasons rather than to any other.

Any back vowel in English is produced with rounded lips, the degree of rounding is different and depends on the height of the raised part of the tongue; the higher it is raised the more rounded the lips are.

Then it lost its local characteristics and was finally fixed as a ruling-class accent, often referred to as “King’s English”. It was also the accent taught at public schools. With the spread of education, cultured people not belonging to upper classes were eager to modify their accent in the direction of social standards. We know that teaching practice as well as a pronouncing dictionary must base their recommendations on one or more models. A pronunciation model is a carefully chosen and defined accent of a language.

An increasing number of writers now prefer to refer to the standard English pronunciation as a BBC accent. This model accent for British English is represented in the 15th (1997), the 16th (2003) and 17th (2006) editions of EPD. This is the pronunciation of professional speakers employed by the BBC as newsreaders and announcers. The model of British English pronunciation recorded in LPD is a modernized version of RP. For American English, EPD also follows what is frequently heard from professional voices on national network news and information programmes.

It is similar to what has been termed General American, which refers to a geographically (largely non-coastal) and socially based set of pronunciation features. It is important to note that no single dialect – regional or social – has been singled out as an American standard. Even national media with professionally trained voices have speakers with regionally mixed features. However, ‘Network English’, in its most colourless form, can be described as a relatively homogeneous dialect that reflects the ongoing development of progressive American dialects. This ‘dialect’ itself contains some variant forms. J. C. Wells prefers the term General American. According to him, this is what is spoken by the majority of Americans, namely those who do not have a noticeable eastern or southern accent.

In the opposition I enjoyed it – I enjoyed it the pitch pattern operates over the whole phrase adding in the second phrase the notion that the speaker has reservations (implying a continuation something like ‘but it could have been a lot better’). Any section of the intonation pattern, any of its three constituents can perform the distinctive function thus being phonological units. The most powerful phonological unit is the terminal tone.

The opposition of terminal tones distinguishes different types of sentence. The same sequence of words may be interpreted as a different syntactical type, i. e. statement or a question, a question or an exclamation being pronounced with different terminal tones, e. g. : Tom saw it (statement) – Tom saw it? (general question) Didn’t you enjoy it? (general question) – Didn’t you enjoy it? (exclamation) Will you be quiet? (request) – Will you be quiet? (command).

The number of terminal tones indicates the number of intonation groups. Together with the increase of loudness terminal tones serve to single out the semantic centre of the utterance. By semantic centre we mean the information centre which may simultaneously concentrate the expression of attitudes and feelings.

The words in an utterance do not necessarily all contribute an equal amount of information, some are more important to the meaning than others. This largely depends on the context or situation in which the intonation group or a phrase is said. Some words are predisposed by their function in the language to be stressed. In English lexical (content) words are generally accented while grammatical (form) words are more likely to be unaccented although words belonging to both of these groups may be unaccented or accented if the meaning requires it.

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Types and Manner of Production of Noise in Russian. (2019, May 02). Retrieved from


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