History of English Language

Topics: International Phonetic Alphabet, English language, X-SAMPA Pages: 6 (1761 words) Published: August 26, 2008
History of the English Language

One thing that makes human culture possible is the language, not thought. We cannot form a precise though without the power of words. Surely, we can relay on pictures, but language is the tool that will help the idea construct more completely, precisely, with more detail and finesse. Animals communicate, but their way of communication is based on cries consisted of limited number of symbols which have general meaning. Example:

In case of danger:
-A human with the help of words can specify the problem methodically saying what the problem is, how it happened, where it came from… -An animal (bird) can only cry that there is danger, but no more Therefore, the language of the animals lacks structure.

What is a language?

A language is a signaling system that allows us to communicate and expand our ideas. A language uses signals that may be oral and written.
It is common to use facial expressions and gestures in oral language.

Vocal Sounds

How do we create sounds? It starts with the vocal cords. Vocal cords are one of the speech organs that modify the flow of breath. They are placed in the larynx and have a lip like structure. They modify the breath stream by adjusting these lips to various positions (from fully open (the air passage is unobstructed) to fully closed (the air passage is completely blocked)). The closer the vocal cords are, the more they vibrate. Sounds created in this manner are called voiced, whereas sounds created while the vocal cords are fully open are called voiceless. From there the flow of breath is modified with the lips, the nose, or both. The quality of the vowel is determined by the position of the tongue. Depending where the tongue is, different vowels are produced. RP or Received Pronunciation is a pronunciation used by the people in South of England who have been educated at public schools. Vowels are divided concerning their length also. They can be short or long. It depends on how much time is spent in their production. Short vowels can be found in words like cut, put, pack etc. Long vowels can be found in: food, meet etc. When producing vowels, the speech organs are stationery while the vowel is uttered. However, there are exceptions where the speech organs change their position in the course of the production. Those vowels are called gliders or diphthongs and it means that the tongue swiftly glides from one sound to another. It can be said that a diphthong is a vowel that has two sounds. In all vowels, the mouth passage is unobstructed. If it is obstructed at any time during the production of a speech-sound the resulting sound will be a consonant. Fricative is produced by narrowing the breath/air passage so that the stream of air that passes trough creates audible friction. 1. /f/ (the phoneme spelled f in fine): voiceless labiodental fricative. 2. /v/ (the phoneme spelled v in vine): voiced labiodental fricative. 3. // (the phoneme spelled th in thistle): voiceless interdental fricative. 4. /ð/ (the phoneme spelled th in this): voiced interdental fricative. 5. /s/ (the phoneme spelled s in sue): voiceless alveolar fricative. 6. /z/ (the phoneme spelled z in zoo): voiced alveolar fricative. 7. /s
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