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Vowel
發布時間:2019年08月16日     發布人:nanyuzi  
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Vowel

元音

 

One of the two general categories used for the classification of speech sounds, the other being consonant. Phonetically, they are sounds articulated without a complete closure in the mouth or a degree of narrowing which would produce audible friction; the air escapes evenly over the centre of the tongue. If air escapes solely through the mouth, the vowels are said to be oral; if some air is simultaneously released through the nose, the vowels are nasal. In addition to this, in a phonetic classification of vowels, reference would generally be made to two variables, the first of which is easily describable, the second much less so: (a) the position of the lips - whether rounded, spread, or neutral; (b) the part of the tongue raised, and the height to which it moves.

Relatively slight movements of the tongue produce quite distinct auditory differences in vowel (or vocalic) quality. Because it is very difficult to see or feel these movements, classification of vowels is usually carried out using acoustic or auditory criteria, supplemented by details of lip position. There are several systems for representing vowel position visually, e.g. in terms of a vowel triangle or a vowel quadrilateral such as the cardinal vowel system.

In establishing the vowel system of a language, several further dimensions of classification may be used. One criterion is in terms of the duration of the vowel (whether relatively ‘long’ or ‘short’ vowels are used). Another is whether, during an articulation, there is any detectable change in quality. If the quality of a vowel stays unchanged, the term pure vowel, or monophthong, is used. If there is an evident change in quality, one talks instead of a gliding vowel. If two auditory elements are involved, the vowel glide is referred to as a diphthong; if three elements, as a triphthong. In the distinctive feature theory of phonology, the term vocalic is used as the main feature in the analysis of vowel sounds.

Yet another way of classifying vowels is in terms of the amount of muscular tension required to produce them: vowels articulated in extreme positions are more ‘tense’ than those articulated nearer the centre of the mouth, which are ‘lax’.

 

給語音分類的兩大范疇之一,另一個范疇是輔音。元音可從語音學和音系學兩方面定義。語音學上,元音是口腔內沒有完全閉塞或收窄程度不足以產生可聞摩擦時發出的音;氣流均勻地從舌中央上方逸出。如果空氣只從口腔逸出,這樣的元音是口元音;如果一部分空氣同時從鼻腔逸出,這樣的元音是鼻元音。此外,語音學給元音分類一般參考兩個變項,第一個容易描寫,第二個描寫較困難:(a)雙唇的位置—是圓唇、展唇還是中性;(b)舌上抬的部分和上抬的高度。

舌的較小動作就會在元音音質上產生明顯的聽覺差異。由于觀察或感覺這些動作十分困難,元音的分類通常采用聲學或聽覺標準,輔之以詳細的唇位。從視覺上表示元音位置的方式有好幾種系統,例如用“元音三角形”或“元音四邊形”表示的基本元音系統。

在建立一種語言的元音系統時還可從其他幾個方面給元音分類。一個標準是元音的時長(相對而言是“長”元音還是“短”元音)。另一個標準是發音過程中音質有無可覺察的變化。如果一個元音的音質保持不變,就稱作純元音或單元音。如果音質有明顯變化,就稱作滑元音。如果包含兩個聽覺成分,這樣的元音滑音稱作二合元音;如果包含三個成分,稱作三合元音。在音系學的區別特征理論中,元音性用作元音分析的主要特征。

然而還有一種元音的分類是按照發音時所需的肌肉緊度:在極端位置發出的元音比較“緊”,在接近口腔中央位置發出的元音比較“松”。

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