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Introduction

By Fasold R., Connor-Linton J.

ISBN-10: 0521847680

ISBN-13: 9780521847681

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Usually the blade of the tongue is used to make a palatoalveolar constriction. It is also possible, however, for the tip of the tongue to curl back to make a constriction in this area. If the tip of the tongue curls back, the sound is called retroflex. ) For some (but not all) American speakers, [®] is a retroflex approximant. Can you determine whether your own tongue tip curls back in a word like road? There are no other retroflex sounds in English, though other languages, notably Hindi and other languages of India, have a full set of retroflex stops, fricatives, and nasals.

Constrictions can also be made deep in the throat, with the tongue root moving back toward the pharyngeal wall. Voiced and voiceless pharyngeal fricatives are found in Arabic and Hebrew. Finally, consonants can be made with the larynx as the only articulator. The sound [h] consists of the noise of air rushing through the open vocal folds, and may be considered a laryngeal fricative. It is also possible to close the vocal folds up tight, stopping the airflow at the larynx, a glottal stop (IPA [/]).

This gives quite a bit of trouble to English speakers. In 1996, for example, when the Winter Olympics were held in Japan, English commentators had a great deal of trouble deciding how to say the name of the host city: NAgano? NaGAno? NagaNO? In fact, the word is pronounced with all syllables equally stressed (or equally unstressed), a difficult task for an English speaker. Conversely, Japanese speakers often have a great deal of trouble with reducing the unstressed vowels of English, sounding overly careful to English ears.

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An Introduction to Language and Linguistics by Fasold R., Connor-Linton J.


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