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What is English phonetics and phonology

BASICS OF ENGLISH PHONETICS and what is phonetics in English language pdf free download
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Published Date:09-07-2017
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BASICS OF ENGLISH PHONETICS (course of lectures) Contents 1. Lecture I. Phonetics as a science 2. Lecture II. The classification of English consonants 3. Lecture III. The English vowel system 4. Lecture IV. Syllable formation and syllable division 5. Lecture V. Accentual structure of English 6. Lecture VI. The nature of English intonation 7. Lecture VII. Speech melody 8. Lecture VIII. Basic regional variants in English 9. Lecture IX. RP and General American Pronunciation 10. Lecture X. Conversational Style 11. Topics for reports Lecture I. PHONETICS AS A SCIENCE 1. Objects of Phonetics. 2. Branches of Phonetics. 3. Connection of Phonetics with other branches of Linguistics. 4. Theoretical and practical importance of Phonetics. Nowadays Phonetics is defined as an independent branch of Linguistics which studies the sound matter of the language, its semantic functions and the lines th of its development. Phonetics began to be developed as a science in the 19 century. The factors that stimulated its development were as follows: • a more thorough acquaintance with the functioning of the human speaking apparatus; • investigations of many linguists who studied languages that had not alphabets; • compiling alphabets for such languages. The objects, aims and value of Phonetics are defined on the basis of scientific conception of language based on the thesis that being the most important medium of human intercourse, language is at the same time directly and inseparably connected with thought. This connection manifests itself not only in the generally recognized fact that thoughts can be expressed in actual speech only by means of words organized into sentences pronounced with the proper intonation but also in the less obvious fact that thoughts can originate and be formulated in the human mind also only on the basis of words and sentences. It is clear that language can only exist in the material form of speech sound, though the sounds of speech do not constitute a separate independent element of language. Speech sounds are vibrating particles of air or sound waves or still in other words – a variety of matter moving in space and time. Speech sounds are produced by human organs of speech. Every speech sound is a complex of definite finely coordinated and differentiated movements and positions of various speech organs. They can be considered from the physiological phenomenon having its articulating and auditory aspects. Accordingly to it Phonetics is subdivided into three principal parts: the branch of Phonetics concerned with the study, description and classification of speech sounds as regards their reduction by the human speaking apparatus is called Articulatory Phonetics. Its oldest and simplest method of investigation is the method of direct observation (visual and auditory). This method is subjective. The objective methods require the use of various apparatus and devices such as the artificial palate, photography, X-ray photography, X-ray cinematography, laryngoscopy etc. The branch of Phonetics which is concerned with the study of the acoustic aspect is called Acoustic Phonetics. It uses kymograph (records, qualitative variations of sounds), a spectrograph (shows frequencies of a given sound and its amplitudes), auscilograph (records sound vibrations) and intonograph (investigates the fundamental frequency of speech as the component of intonation). The branch of Phonetics which studies the units serving people for communicative purposes is called Phonology. Besides we have Special Phonetics or Descriptive Phonetics, General Phonetics, Historical Phonetics, Comparative Phonetics. All the branches of Phonetics are closely connected with each other as well as with some other branches of Linguistics such as Lexicology, Grammar, and Stylistics. The connection of Phonetics with Lexicology lies in the fact that distinction of words is realized by the variety of their appearances. The phonetic course of a given language determines the sound composition of words. For example Turkish languages do not admit two or more consonants at the beginning of words while in some Slavonic languages such a phenomenon is widely spread (вкрасти, спритний). Sound interchange is a very vivid manifestation of a close connection of Phonetics with Morphology. It can be observed in the category of number (man – men; goose – geese; foot – feet). Sound interchange also helps to distinguish basic forms of irregular verbs (sing-sang- sung), adjectives and nouns (strong-strength), verbs and nouns (to extend-extent). Phonetics is closely connected with Syntax. Any partition of a sentence is realized with the help of pauses, sentence stresses, melody. Changes in pausation can alter the meaning of an utterance. For example: One of the travelers / said Mr. Parker / was likeable (direct speech). If the pause is after “said”, then we have another meaning of this sentence: One of the travelers said / Mr. Parker was likeable. The rising/falling nuclear tone determines the communicative type of the sentence: You know him – statement / You know him – general question. Phonetics is also connected with Stylistics through repetition of sounds, words and phrases. Repetition of this kind creates the basis of rhythm, rhyme and alliteration (repetition of sounds). Rhythm may be used as a special device not only in poetry but in prose as well: Round about the cauldron go In the poison’d entrails throw Double, double toil and trouble Fire burn, and cauldron bubble Investigations in historical aspects of languages and the field of dialectology would be impossible without an understanding of phonetics. The practical aspect of Phonetics is no less important. Teaching of reading and writing is possible only when one clearly understands the difference between the sounds and written forms of the language and the connection between them. Phonetics is also widely used in teaching correct pronunciation and allocution of actors, singers, TV announcers on the basis of established orthoepical norms. Orthoepy is the correct pronunciation of the words of a language. Phonetics is important for eliminating dialectical features from the pronunciation of dialect speakers; in logopedics (in curing various speech defects); in surdopedagogics (in teaching normal aural speech to deaf and dumb people). Acoustic Phonetics and Phonology are of great use in technical acoustics or sound technology that is the branch of science and technology which is concerned with the study and design of techniques for the recording, transmission, reproduction, analysis and synthesis of sound by means of various devices such as microphone, loud-speaker, radio and television sets, speech synthesizers etc. LECTURE II. THE CLASSIFICATION OF ENGLISH CONSONANT PHONEMES (as Compared with Russian Consonant Phonemes) 1.1. The particular quality of a consonant depends on the work of the vocal cords, the position of the soft palate and the kind of noise that results when the tongue or the lips obstruct the air-passage. There are two types of articulatory obstruction: complete and incomplete. A complete obstruction is formed when two organs of speech come in contact with each other and the air-passage through the mouth is blocked. An incomplete obstruction is formed when an articulating organ (articulator) is held so close to a point of articulation as to narrow, or constrict, the air- passage without blocking it. 1.2. Consonants are usually classified according to the following principles: ⇒ According to the type of obstruction and the manner of the production of noise. ⇒ According to the active speech organ and the place of obstruction. ⇒ According to the work of the vocal cords and the force of articulation. ⇒ According to the position of the soft palate. 1.3. According to the type of obstruction English consonants are divided into occlusive and constrictive. Occlusive consonants are produced with a complete obstruction formed by the articulating organs, the air-passage in the mouth cavity is blocked. Occlusive consonants may be: (A) noise consonants and (B) sonorants. According to the manner of the production of noise occlusive noise consonants are divided into plosive consonants (or stops) and affricates. In the production of plosive consonants the speech organs form a complete obstruction which is then quickly released with plosion, viz. the English p, b, t, d, k, g and the Russian …………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………… In the production of affricates the speech organs form a complete obstruction which is then released so slowly that considerable friction occurs at the point of articulation, viz. the English …, d…,and the Russian …………………………………………………………………….. In the production of occlusive sonorants the speech organs form a complete obstruction in the mouth cavity which is not released, the soft palate is lowered and the air escapes through the nasal cavity, viz. the English m, n, … and the Russian M, M', H, H'. Constrictive consonants are produced with an incomplete obstruction that is by a narrowing of the air-passage. Constrictive consonants may be: (A) noise consonants (or fricatives) and (B) sonorants. In the production of noise constrictives the speech organs form an incomplete obstruction, viz. the English f, v, 0, …, s, z, …, …, h and the Russian ……………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………… In the production of constrictive sonorants the air-passage is fairly wide so that the air passing through the mouth does not produce audible friction and tone prevails over noise. Constrictive sonorants may be median and lateral. In the production of median sonorants the air escapes without audible friction over the central part of the tongue, the sides of the tongue being raised, viz. the English w, r, j. In the production of lateral sonorants the tongue is pressed against the alveolar ridge or the teeth, and the sides of the tongue are lowered, leaving, the air-passage open along them, viz. the English 1, and the Russian ……………………………………………………………………………… ………………. 1.4. According to the active organ of speech English consonants are divided into labial, lingual and glottal. 1. LABIAL consonants may be (A) bilabial and (B) labio-dental. videlicet (Lot.) — namely The Russian p, p' are rolled, i.e. they are produced by the tongue tip tapping two or three times against the alveolar ridge. (A) Bilabial consonants are articulated by the two lips, viz. the English 1 p, b, m, w and the Russian п, п , б, б', М, M'. (B) Labio-dental consonants are articulated with the lower lip against the upper teeth. The English labio-dental consonants are f, v, the Russian labio-dental consonants are ф, ф', B, B'. 2. LINGUAL consonants may be (A) forelingual, (B) mediolingual,and (C) backlingual. (A) Forelingual consonants are articulated by the blade of the tongue, the blade with the tip or by the tip against the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge. According to the position of the tip English forelingual consonants may be (a) apical, and (b) cacuminal. (a) Apical consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against either the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge, viz. the English …, …, t, d, 1, n, s, z and the Russian л, л', ш, ш':, Ж, Ж':, Ч'. Note. The Russian T, T', д, Д', H, H', c, c' з, з' are dorsal, i. e. they are articulated by the blade of the tongue against either the upper teeth or the alveolar ridge, the tip being passive and lowered. (b) Cacuminal consonants are articulated by the tongue tip raised against the back part of the alveolar ridge. The front of the tongue is lowered forming a spoon-shaped depression, viz. the English r and the Russian p, p'. (B) Mediolingual consonants are articulated with the front of the tongue against the hard palate, viz. the English j and the Russian й. (C) Backlingual consonants are articulated by the back of the tongue against the soft palate, viz. the English k, g, … and the Russian K, 1 K', г, г', x, x . 3. GLOTTAL consonants are produced in the glottis, viz. the English h, … (the glottal stop). According to the point of articulation forelingual consonants are divided into (1) dental (interdental or post-dental), (2) alveolar, (3) palato-alveolar, and (4) post-alveolar. (1) Dental consonants are articulated against the upper teeth either with the tip, viz. the English …, …, the Russian л, л', or with the blade of the tongue, viz. the Russian T, T'. (2) Alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge: the English t, d, n, 1, s, z and the Russian p, p'. (3) Palato-alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip and blade of the tongue against the alveolar ridge or the back part of the alveolar ridge, while the front of the tongue is raised in the direction of the hard palate: the English …, …, …, … and the Russian ш, ш':, Ж, ж':. (4) Post-alveolar consonants are articulated by the tip of the tongue against the back part of the alveolar ridge: the English r. According to the point of articulation mediolingual and backlingual consonants are called palatal and velar, respectively. 1.5. Most consonants are pronounced with a single obstruction. But some consonants are pronounced with two obstructions, the second obstruction being called coarticulation. Coarticulation may be front (with the front of the tongue raised) or back (with the back of the tongue raised). The tongue front coarticulation gives the sound a clear ("soft") colouring, viz. 1, …, …, …, d , and all the Russian 3 palatalized consonants. The tongue back coarticulation gives the sound a dark ("hard") colouring, viz. the English dark 1, w, the Russian ш, ж, л. 1.6. According to the work of the vocal cords consonants are divided into voiced and voiceless. According to the force of articulation consonants are divided into relatively strong, or fortis and relatively weak, or lenis. English voiced consonants are lenis. English voiceless consonants are fortis. They are pronounced with greater muscular tension and a stronger breath force. The following English consonants are voiceless and fortis: p, t, k, …, f, …, s, …, h. The following English consonants are voiced and lenis: b, d, g, …, v, …, z, …, m, n, …, w, 1, r, j. The Russian voiceless consonants are weaker than their English counterparts; the Russian voiced consonants are stronger. 1.7. According to the position of the soft palate consonants are divided into oral and nasal. Nasal consonants are produced with the soft palate lowered while the air- passage through the mouth is blocked. As a result, the air escapes through the nasal cavity. The English nasal consonants are m, n, …, the Russian — M, M', H, H'. Oral consonants are produced when the soft palate is raised and the air escapes through the mouth. The following English consonants are oral p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, …, …, s, z, …, …, h, …, d , w, 1, r, j and the 3 1 Russian п, п , б, б', T, T', Д, д', K, K', ф, ф', B, B', c, c', з, з', ш, ш': Ж, ж':, ч', ц, л, , …………………………………………………………………………. LECTURE III. THE ENGLISH VOWEL SYSTEM 1. General principles of vowel formation. 2. Classification of vowel phonemes. 3. English vowels as units of phonological system. The distinction between vowels and consonants is based upon their articulatory and acoustic characteristics. Unlike consonants vowels are produced with no obstruction to the stream of the air and on the perception level their integral characteristics is a musical sound or tone formed by means of periodic vibrations of the vocal cords in the larynx. The resulting sound waves are transmitted to the supra-laryngeal cavities (the pharynx and the mouth cavity) where vowels receive their characteristic timbre. It is known from acoustics that the quality of the sound depends mainly on the shape and size of the resonance chamber. In the case of vowels the resonance chamber is always the same but the shape and size of it can vary. It depends on the different positions of a tongue in the mouth cavity, slight changes in the position of the pharynx, the position of the soft palate and the lips. In producing vowels the muscular tension is equally spread over all speech organs. Yet the tension may be stronger or weaker, hence the distinct or indistinct quality of vowels. As vowels have no special place of articulation because the whole speech apparatus takes part in their production, their classification and articulation description are based on the work of all organs of speech. English vowel phonemes are mutually dependent and form a system which is determined by phonetic and phonologic causes. Each vowel phoneme possesses some specific features which distinguish it from any other vowel phoneme. The system of vowel phonemes has become stabilized in accordance with the linguistic roles of the phonemes and questions such as: a) the role of vowel phonemes in syllable formation; b) the phoneme distribution in words; c) the role of vowel phonemes in phoneme alternations. Our native phoneticians suggest the classification of English vowels according to the following principles: - the stability of articulation. English vowels are subdivided into monophthongs, diphthongs and diphthongoids (…………..). The problem of the phonemic status of English diphthongs is debatable. The question is whether they are mono- or biphonemic units. Russian and Ukrainian scholars grant them the monophonemic status because of their articulatory morphological and syllabic indivisibility. The monophonemic character of English diphthongs is proved by the fact that neither a morpheme nor a syllabic boundary can pass between the nucleus and the glide. E.g. clear(ing) ……………. The experimental study of the duration of diphthongs proved that it is the same as that of monophthongs. Any diphthong can be commuted for any vowel. E.g. …………………………………………………………………...... - the position of a tongue. According to the horizontal position of a tongue, Russian and Ukrainian phoneticians distinguish five classes of English vowels: I. front II. front-retracted III. mixed or central IV. back V. back-advanced British phoneticians do not distinguish II and V. The oppositions based upon the horizontal movements of a tongue include: 1) front versus back. E.g. 2) front versus mixed. E.g. 3) front versus back advanced. E.g. 4) front retracted versus back advanced. E.g. 5) back versus back advanced. E.g. According to the vertical movements of a tongue the British phoneticians distinguish three classes: 1) high or close ……………… 2) mid or half-open ……………… 3) low or open ………………. Russian and Ukrainian phoneticians give more detailed classification distinguishing in each group two subclasses: broad and narrow variations of the three vertical positions of a tongue. The basic oppositions based upon the vertical movements of a tongue are: 1) high (close) versus mid. E.g. 2) low (open) versus mid. E.g. 3) low (open) versus close. E.g. - the position of the lips. According to it we distinguish rounded or labialized and unrounded or non-labialized vowels. (The lips’ position of English vowels is phonologically irrelevant (unimportant). - length or quantity or duration. It is clearly expressed in the monophthongs. E.g……………………………………………………………………… …………….(The length of vowels is not a phonologically relevant feature.) - tenseness. Experimental analysis has shown that long vowels are tense, short vowels are lax. But this quality is purely articulatory and not phonologically relevant. CONCLUSION: the vocalic system of English vowels is characterized by certain specific phonologically relevant articulatory features. Lecture IV. SYLLABLE FORMATION AND SYLLABLE DIVISION IN ENGLISH The syllable may be defined as one or more speech-sounds forming a single uninterrupted unit of utterance which may be a whole word, e.g. …… man, ai I or part of it, e.g. …………. morning. In English a syllable is formed (1) by any vowel (monophthong or diphthong) alone or in combination with one or more consonants and (2) by a word-final sonorant (lateral or nasal) immediately preceded by a consonant, e. g. (1) … are, hi: he, it it, m…n man. (2) 'teibl table, 'r……. rhythm, 'g...dn garden Learners of English should remember that sonorants in word-final position are not syllabic when they are preceded by a vowel sound. Cf. Syllabic sonorants Non-syllabic sonorants s…dn sadden s…nd sand 'd..znt doesn't do..nt don't 'r……. Russian 'r……. Russian The English sonorants w and j are never syllabic since they are always syllable initial. The syllabic consonants that commonly occur in English words are the sonorants n and 1. There are few words in English with the syllabic m, while the syllabic … only occurs as a result of progressive assimilation of the forelingual consonant n to the preceding backlingual consonant k or g, which takes place in a few English words, e. g. …………… — ……….. bacon, ai k..n go.. — ai ………. / can go. In the Russian language the sonorants l, m, n at the end of a word after a consonant may be both syllabic and non-syllabic. The Russian learners of English are apt to make the English sonorants in this position non-syllabic. To avoid this mistake the learner must make an additional articulatory effort while pronouncing the English syllabic sonorant and lengthen it slightly. Cf. Many English words may be pronounced with a neutral vowel before the final sonorant, in which case the latter becomes non-syllabic. Cf. ……….. and ………… arrival, 'spe..l and spe…l special,'r……n and ………n Russian, di'vi..n and di'vi…n division, '………. and 'o……… open, 'b…….n and 'b……….. bottom. These are only words which are spelt with a vowel letter before the final sonorant. Compare radical which may be pronounced 'r……….. or 'r…………., with miracle which has only one pronunciation, namely ………..kl. However, there are many words in English which are spelt with a vowel letter before the final sonorant and yet have only one pronunciation — that with a ………….. syllabic final sonorant, e. g. capital ….pitl, garden dn, 'pardon ………dn, eaten 'i:tn, button 'b...tn, lesson 'lesn, season 'si:zn. Since no rules can be formulated as to which words spelt with a vowel letter before the final sonorant may be pronounced with a neutral vowel sound in the last syllable, the learner of English is recommended to make the final sonorant always syllabic in such words. He must also be careful to make the sonorant n always syllabic in the contracted negative forms of auxiliary and modal verbs, e.g. 'iznt isn't, ….nt wasn't, 'h…vnt haven't, …znt hasn't, d..znt doesn't, didnt didn't, w..dnt wouldn't, ….dnt shouldn't, kudnt couldn't, 'm……. mightn't, 'n…dnt needn't, '………. mustn't, '……… oughtn't. The sonorants may often lose their syllabic character when they occur in the middle of a word before a vowel belonging to a suffix. Cf. Every syllable has a definite structure, or form, depending on the kind of speech-sound it ends in. There are two types of syllables distinguished from this point of view. (1) A syllable which ends in a vowel sound is called an open syllable, e.g. ai /, hi: he, ..ei they, 'r……… writer. (2) A syllable which ends in a consonant sound is called a closed syllable, e.g. it it, '…….. hundred, m…n man. The open and closed syllables referred to here are phonetic syllables, i.e. syllables consisting of actually pronounced speech-sounds. These phonetic syllables should not be confused with the open and closed syllables sometimes referred to in the so-called reading rules. Inseparably connected with syllable formation is the second aspect of the syllabic structure of words, namely syllable division, or syllable separation, i.e. the division of words into syllables. Syllable division is effected by an all-round increase in the force of utterance, including an increase in muscular tension and in the force of exhalation, or the on-set of a fresh breath-pulse, at the beginning of a syllable. This can be illustrated by pronouncing the preposition without in two different, but equally correct ways, as far as syllable division is concerned, namely wi'………. and wi…………. In the first case (wi'………) an increase in the force of utterance, including the on-set of a fresh breath-pulse, takes place at the beginning of the consonant …, and the point of syllable division is, therefore, between the vowel i and the consonant …: wi'……... In the second case (wi……..) an increase in the force of utterance with the on-set of a fresh breath-pulse takes place at the beginning of the diphthong a.., and the point of syllable division is, therefore, between the consonant … and the diphthong a.. (care should be taken not to pronounce the initial vowel of the syllable with a glottal stop: wi..'a..t and not wi…aut). Most English form words, however, have only one pronunciation as far as syllable division is concerned. Thus, in the pronoun another, which, like the preposition without, consists of two morphemes, the first two syllables are always divided by the syllable boundary between the neutral vowel and the consonant n, namely …………... The pronunciation of this word with the point of syllable division between the consonant n and the vowel … (……….) would be wrong, although it would not be a phonological mistake. Correct syllable division at the junction of words, however, may be of phonological importance in English, as wrong syllable division in this case may lead to the confusion of one word with another, or to a phonological mistake. For example, the sequence of the English speech-sounds .., n, ei, m pronounced with the point of syllable division between the neutral vowel .. and the consonant n means a name ..'neim, while the same sequence of sounds pronounced with the point of syllable division between the consonant n and the diphthong ei means an aim ..n 'eim. Compare also: .. 'nais 'ha..s a nice house — ..n 'ais 'ha..s an ice house, ……………………… she saw the meat — …………………………… she saw them eat. It is clear from these examples that correct syllable division is just as important as correct articulation of speech-sounds. Even when there is no danger of confusing words because of wrong syllable division at the junction of words, the learner of English should take care not to pronounce the final consonant of a word in such a way as if it were the first sound of the following stressed word. Cf. Correct syllable division Incorrect syllable division ……………………. ……………………… The lesson is over. ……………………… ………………………. The students stand up. The division of English words into syllables is governed by the following principal rules. Because of their weak off-glide the English long monophthongs, diphthongs and the unstressed short vowels i, .., .. always occur in a phonetically open syllable (that is to say, the point of syllable division is immediately after them) when they are separated from a following syllabic sound by only one consonant, e.g. 'm………. meeting, 'a……. army, 'o………… ordinarily, ……………. voices, 'hau……. housing, pi:….. people, ……….. garden, ……….. fallen, ………… to eat. A short stressed vowel in the same position, i.e. when separated from a following syllabic sound by only one consonant, always occurs in a closed syllable, the syllable boundary being within the consonant, e.g. ……. city, '………. many, 'sp……… Spanish, 'b…… body, 'st..di study, …….. little, 'medl meddle. It is in such words that the checked character of the English short stressed vowels is especially manifest. In Russian words with only one consonant between two vowels the first syllable is always open, e.g. cu-Jia, eo-du, 9-mu, ny-Jix, 6u-/iu. The free character of the Russian vowels makes the Russian learner of English apt to forget that the English stressed short vowels can only occur in a closed syllable. As a result of this he tends to make the first syllable open in all English words with only one consonant sound between a vowel and a following syllabic sound. Cf. LECTURE V. ACCENTUAL STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH 1. Factors of accent. 2. Kinds of accent. 3. Degrees of word accent. 4. Accentual tendencies in English. 5. Accent in simple, derivative and compound words. 6. Functions of word accent. While pronouncing words, we can distinguish syllables which are articulated with different degrees of prominence. Syllables given a special degree of prominence may occur at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of words. A greater degree of prominence given to one or more syllables in a word which singles it out through changes in the pitch and intensity of the voice and results in qualitative and quantitative modifications of sounds in the accented syllable is known as word accent. Languages differ from each other in the principal means by which the special prominence of speech sounds is achieved and word accent thus effected. One of such means is the pronunciation of a syllable in a word with greater force of utterance as compared with that of the other syllables of the same word. Word accent effected by these means is called dynamic or force stress. A syllable can be made especially prominent by uttering each on a different pitch level than the other syllable or syllables of the same word. Word accent effected by these means is called musical or tonic accent. A syllable becomes more prominent when its vowel is pronounced longer than another vowel or other vowels of the same timbre. Word accent effected by these means is called quantitative accent. In most languages stressed syllables are made prominent by the combination of several all the above mentioned means. Scandinavian languages make use of both dynamic stress and tonic accent in a more or less equal degree. Word accent in English, German, French, Russian, and Ukrainian is traditionally considered to be predominantly dynamic. Some oriental languages such as Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese as well as some African languages are regarded as having exclusively or predominantly tonic word accent. In Japanese the sound sequence hana when said with even tone, means “nose”, when higher tone on the first syllable – “beginning”, when higher tone on the last syllable – “flower”. Recent investigations of the acoustic nature of word accent in English and Russian have shown that word stress in these languages is effected rather by creating a definite pattern of relationships among all the syllables of every disyllabic or polysyllabic word. From a purely phonetic point of view a polysyllabic word has as many degrees of stress as there are syllables in it. For example, Daniel Jones suggested the following distributions of stress in the word “opportunity” ……………........ Figure 1 denotes the strongest degree of stress. The majority of British phoneticians distinguish three degrees of stress in English. They call the strongest stress primary, the second strongest stress – secondary, while all the other degrees of stress are called weak. The American descriptivists (e.g. B. Block, J. Trager) denote a greater number of degrees of word stress numbering them from 1 – loudest to 4 – weakest or calling them by descriptive names such as loud, reduced-loud, medial, weak. They group the first three together as strong. Some other American descriptivists (H.A. Gleason) distinguish the following degrees of word stress: primary stress, secondary stress, tertiary stress and four-weak stress. The distinction between secondary and tertiary stresses is very subtle. The result is that the discrimination of these two degrees of stress syllables in particular words is a subjective matter and even phonetically trained linguists sometimes differ from each other in this respect. Different types of word accent are distinguished according to its position. From this point of view we can speak about fixed (ліс – лісу) and free (рука – руку) word accent. Fixed word accent is characterized by the fixed position of stress (French, Italian, Polish, Latin). Free word accent is characterized by the fact that in different words of the language different syllables are stressed. Free word accent has two sub-types: constant which always remains on the same