Phonological representation and analyses of fast speech phenomena in English

Zhang, Guangping (1994) Phonological representation and analyses of fast speech phenomena in English. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

In spoken North American English, forms undergo a series of changes as the speaking rate increases. These changes involve, among others, three processes: vowel syncopation, initial syllable reduction, and consonant syllabification (or metathesis). In this thesis two phonological frameworks, autosegmental phonology and sonority phonology, are utilized to analyze these three processes in a speech rate I call 'Normal Conversational Speech' or 'NCS'. -- In NCS, the increase in speaking rate results not only in a general decrease in duration, but also often in the deletion of certain unstressed vowels. Word medially this is called 'syncopation'. Word initially it is called 'initial syllable reduction'. The third process involves the syllabification of certain sonorant consonants as well as the deletion of unstressed vowels. The result of this syllabification is the change of a sonorant consonant + vowel sequence into a syllabic sonorant consonant. It is shown that, in a certain sense, metathesis is another expression of syllabification. -- All three processes are shown to occur under strict conditions involving syllable structure. The conditions for the processes are stated and are represented in simple rules within both the frameworks. Furthermore, a phonological explanation for the conditions is attempted on the basis of the two phonological frameworks. Finally, the shared characteristics and distinctions of the three processes are represented. In terms of the analysis in the thesis, it is evident that the three processes share some characteristics and have some distinctions. The shared characteristics are the result of the nature of the weakening processes of which each of the processes is an example. The distinctions are the result of the difference in position in which the processes occur. -- Despite the fact that most phonological analyses are based on slow, careful speech, in everyday communication NCS is much more commonly used than slow speech or very rapid speech. NCS is, therefore, the most important form of English to master for general communicative purposes. Since syncopation, initial syllable reduction, and syllabification are salient aspects of NCS, this thesis will, thus, have practical applications in designing speech synthesis programs, and in teaching English as a foreign language.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6555
Item ID: 6555
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 118-122.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1994
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: English language--Canada--Phonology; English language--United States--Phonology

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