Re: XSAMPA Question
|From:||Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, January 24, 2004, 19:21|
Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>:
> On Fri, Jan 23, 2004 at 09:38:49AM -0800, Gary Shannon wrote:
> > But more to the point, where do I go to find out how
> > those XSAMPA things are pronounced. If followed a lot
> > of Google links, but all I got was things like "close
> > front unrounded" which means about as much to me as
> > "top green polyester". Is there a site that actually
> > explains the difference between close front unrounded
> > and top green polyester?
> There are several explanations of the terminology online,
> but there's also a site (whose URL I can't find at the moment)
> which has audio files of the various symbols being pronounced.
This should be helpful:
> In principle, the vowel terminology is straightforward.
> "Rounded", for instance, means that your lips are rounded, as
> they are for saying "ooh" (X-SAMPA [u]). Thus, in French class,
> English-speaking students are taught that to say a French <u>
> (X-SAMPA [y]), they round their lips for "ooh" but inside their
> mouth try to say "eee" (IPA [i]) instead. The only difference
> between [y] and [i] is that the former has the lips rounded, the latter
> doesn't - and this is true for the other vowels on the chart.
> The terms "open/close" and "front/back" refer to the position of the
> tongue and jaw when pronouncing the vowel, which is harder to
> get a feel for. Basically, the tongue is used to close off part of your
> mouth and create a resonating cavity that is smaller than the entire mouth,
> and it is the shape of this cavity which determines which vowel is heard.
> "Front" vowels have the tongue pushing forward in the mouth so the
> resonating cavity doesn't extend very far toward the throat, while "back"
> vowels use most of the front-back space in the mouth. "Open/close" is
> the vertical direction; "close" vowels have the tongue pushing upward
> toward the roof of the mouth, so the resonating cavity is high in the
> mouth, while "open" vowels have the tongue lower (and the jaw open
> wider, usually), so more of the mouth's height is used.
> The vowels around the edges of the IPA chart are "cardinal", which means
> that they're at the extremes of their respective dimensions. Most
> dialects of most languages include non-cardinal vowels which are represented
> by the symbol for the closest matching cardinal; when more precision is
> required, there are diacritical marks that mean "more open", "more
> fronted", etc.
> Consonants are a little more complex. Mostly we worry about the
> "pulmonic" consonants at the top of the IPA chart; that just means
> they're pronounced by expelling air from the lungs. The rows refer to
> how much the airway is blocked when the sound is produced.
> "Plosives", also called "stops", stop the airflow completely while
> being pronounced; English examples include b, p, d, t, g, and k.
> "Nasals" have the airway through the mouth completely blocked, like a
> stop, but air is allowed to escape through the nose; as with vowels,
> the shape of the mouth cavity distinguishes them from each other.
> English approximants include m, n, and N (the "ng" sound in "sing").
> "Trills" have the air shooting past either the uvula or the tip of the
> tongue so fast that it vibrates against the mouth, rapidly closing and
> opening the airway.
> "Taps" and "flaps" are like trills that are stopped after a single
> instance of the close-open cycle.
> "Fricatives" obstruct the airflow partially, resulting in a
> hissing-type sound; English examples include f, v, s, z, S (the
> "sh" sound), Z ("s" in "measure"), T (the "th" in "path") and
> D (the "th" in "the").
> "Lateral fricatives" have the tongue blocking the airway vertically down
> the center of the mouth while allowing air to escape on both sides of
> the tongue, so the airstream is forked. English doesn't have any of
> these, but Welsh "ll" is an example.
> "Approximants" have only a slightly narrowed airway, with no
> interference of the fricatives type. As with vowels and nasals, it is
> the shape of the airway which distinguishes them. English approximants
> include h, l, r\ (the general "r" in most varieties of American
> English), w, and j (the consonantal "y" sound).
> There are also "affricates", which aren't on the chart because they're
> composed of combinations of plosives and fricatives, run together so
> that they're pronounced at the same time. The English "ch" sound, for
> instance, is t + S, while the English "j" sound is d + Z. The English "x"
> sound can be regarded as an affricate of k + s, but in most dialects the
> two components are pronounced more distinctly; it's just k followed by s,
> not k and s run together into a single sound.
> The columns refer to where the constriction in the airway occurs.
> "Bilabial" means that both lips are used; examples are p, b, and w.
> "Labiodental" means that the teeth and lips are used together (usually
> upper teeth and lower lip), as in English f and v.
> "Dental" consonants like d, n, s, S use the tongue and the upper teeth;
> there are further subdivisions based on whether the tongue touches the
> actual teeth (true "dental"), the ridge just behind them
> ("alveolar"), or the roof of the mouth just behind that ridge
> ("postalveolar"). True "dental" may also be subdivided into plain
> "dental", where the tongue touches the back of the teeth, and
> "interdental", where the tongue is placed between the upper and lower
> teeth (which is how T and D are usually pronounced).
> "Retroflex" consonants are pronounced with the tip of the tongue curling
> backward toward the throat so that the underside of the tongue touches
> the roof of the mouth. English doesn't have any of these.
> "Palatal" consonants like j are pronounced with the body of the tongue flat
> against the roof of the mouth (in the case of j, not all the way,
> because it's only an approximant).
> "Velar" consonants like k and g are pronounced by pushing the back of
> the tongue against the back of the roof of the mouth, close to the
> "Uvular" consonants are like velars only even further back, almost like
> In "pharyngeal" and "glottal" consonants the closure is made in the throat
> rather than the mouth, either at the vocal cords ("pharyngeal") or in
> the throat itself ("glottal").
> The distinction between pairs of consonants within the same cell of the
> chart is between "voiced" and "non-voiced". In voiced consonants like
> b, d, v, g, z, the vocal cords vibrate when they're pronounced, like a
> tiny hum, whereas in unvoiced consonants like p, t, f, k, and s, they
> Sometimes pairs of distinctions go hand-in-hand; for instance, in English,
> voiced consonants are more "lax" than their voiceless counterparts; the
> muscles of the mouth are not as tense as they are for the voiceless
> versions (which are in fact called "tense"). In fact, this difference
> is more pronounced than the voiced/voiceless distinction in English,
> which is why people can tell the difference between t and d even when
> the speaker is whispering. There are diacritics that represent this
> explicitly, but since the voice distinction goes along with it, there's
> no need to complicate the notation for English unless extreme precision
> is required for a given application.