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Grouping speech sounds according to their major articulatory features is called an articulatory classification.

According to the specific character of the work of the speech organs, sounds in practically all the languages are subdivided into two major subtypes: VOWELS (V) and CONSONANTS (C).

There are l)articulatory,2) acousticand 2) functionaldifferences between V and C

1) The most substantial articulatory difference between vowels and consonants is that in the articulation of V the air passes freely through the mouth cavity, while in making C an obstruction is formed in the mouth cavity and the airflow exhaled from the lungs meets a narrowing or a complete obstruction formed by the speech organs.

Consonants articulations are relatively easy to feel, and as a result are most conveniently described in terms of PLACE and MANNERof articulation.

Vowels have no place of obstruction, the whole of speech apparatus takes place in their formation, while the articulation of consonants can be localized, an obstruction or narrowing for each C is made in a definite place of the speech apparatus.

The particular quality of Vs depends on the volume and shape of the mouth resonator, as well as on the shape and the size of the resonator opening. The mouth resonator is changed by the movements of the tongue and the lips.

The particular quality of Csdepends on the kind of noise that results when the tongue or the lips obstruct the air passage. The kind of noise produced depends in its turn on the type of obstruction, on the shape and the type of the narrowing. The vocal cords also determine the quality of consonants.

2. From the acousticpoint of view, vowels are called the sounds of voice, they have high acoustic energy, and consonants are the sounds of noise which have low acoustic energy.

3. Functional differences between Vs and Cs are defined by their role in syllable formation: Vs are syllable forming elements, Cs are units which function at the margins of syllables, either singly or in clusters.

These differences make it logical to consider each class of sounds independently.

As it follows from the above given considerations, the sounds of a language can be classified in different ways. H. Giegerich, M. Pennington use a set of basic binary (two-way) distinctions in terms of : 1) phonation; 2) oro-nasal process; 3) manner of articulation.

1) Phonation 2) Oro-nasal process 3) Manner of articulation
Sonorants: sounds whose phonetic content is predo-­ minantly made up by the sound waves produced by their voicing. Oral: sounds in the pro-duction of which the air escapes through the mouth. Stops: sounds made with a complete obstruction or stoppage of the airflow coming up from the lungs. They are also termed plosives.  
Obstruents (noise consonants): sounds produced as a result of obstruent articulation involving an obstruction of the air stream that produces a phonetic effect independent of voicing. They can typically occur in voiced and voiceless variants Nasal: sounds in the production of which the soft palate is lowered, and the air escapes through the mouth.   Continuants:sounds, in which the obstruction of the airflow is only partial, so that the sound can be prolonged, for a period of time. Vowels are one type of continuants and there are three consonant types of continuants: fricatives: whose phonetic content includes a hissing noise, produced by turbulence, in the air stream as, it is forced through the narrow gap between the articulators; affricates: complex sounds which consist of two components which correspond to two phases of articulation- an oral- stop phase followed with a short friction phase. approximants: sounds m the production of which one articulator moves close to another, though not so close as to cause a turbulent as to produce friction. r, w, j are termed central approximants because air passes through the oral tract along the center of the opening, 1 is called a lateral approximant because air passes out along the side/s of the articulation. h is a glottal approximant. In some phonological systems approximants are treated as semi-consonants (1, r)or semi-vowels (w, j)  

Thus, in accordance with the above-given grouping of sounds, the sounds of English can be classified as follows:

The sounds of English



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