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Differences in the articulation bases of the English and russjan consonants and their peculiarities






The differences in the articulation bases between the two languages-are " in the general tendencies their native speakers have, in the-way they move and hold their lips and the tongue both in speech and in silence, in the way they coordinate the work of the obstructor and1 vibrator mechanisms (lenis and fortis articulations), in the way they effect CV, VC and CC transitions (close and loose transitions)." *

The peculiarities of the articulation bases which give rise to the-differences in the system of consonants in English and in Russian are-the following:

(1) The English forelingual consonants are articulated with the'
apico-alveolar position of the tip of the tongue. The Russian forelin­
gual consonants are mainly dorsal: in their articulation the tip of the-
tongue is passive and lowered, the blade is placed against the upper
teeth. The Russian forelingual dorsal consonants are: /т, т', д, д\
н, н', с, с', з, з\ ч\ ц/. The Russian forelingual apical consonants-
are only: /л, л', ш, ш', ж/.

(2) In the production of the Russian consonants the bulk of the-
tongue is mainly in the front-mid part of the mouth resonator. When
Russian soft forelinguals are produced the muscular tension is concen­
trated in the " bunched up" front-mid part of the tongue; when the soft
backlingual consonants are produced the muscular tension is concen­
trated in the middle part of the tongue.

* Vassituev V. A. English Phonetics: A Theoretical Course.—M., 1970.— P. 117.


In the production of the English forelingual consonants the tip of the tongue and the front edges are very tense. It results in the de­pression in the front part of the tongue, which enlarges the size of the front resonator and lowers the tone of the apical consonants. The Eng­lish " soft" consonants are pronounced with the front secondary focus. They are /J\ 3, dfc, tf/ and the " soft" /1/. The English /J\ 5/ are short, the similar Russian consonants /ш':, ж': / are long. The front secon­dary focus is formed by the middle part of the tongue which produces " secondary" articulation simultaneously with the primary focus, or primary articulation (see p. 87).

The Russian /п\ б', м', н', ф\ в', т\ д\ с', з', л', ч, р', к', г7 are also pronounced with the front secondary focus, but the middle of the tongue in their production is raised higher to the hard palate, than during the secondary articulation in the production of the English soft consonants.

Russian students often use the hard /ш, ж/ phonemes instead of the soft English/J, 5/. Palatalization is a phonemes feature in Rus­sian (see below).

There is no opposition between palatalyzed—поп-palatalyzed consonants in English. The soft colouring of the English //, tf, < %, 1, 5/ is non-phonemic.

(3) The English /w/ and U] are pronounced with the back secon­
dary focus, formed by the back part of the tongue, which is raised to
the soft palate simultaneously with the formation of the primary
iocus. In the articulation of /w/ the primary focus is formed by the
lips, which are rounded but not protruded, as it happens when the
Russian /y/ is pronounced. The bilabial /w/ which is pronounced
with a round narrowing is very often mispronounced by the Russian
learners. They use the labio-dental /в/ or /v/ which are pronounced
with a flat narrowing instead of the English /w/.

The primary focus in the articulation of " dark" [I] is formed by the tip of the tongue pressed against the teethridge.

English voiceless plosives /p, k/ are aspirated, when followed by a stressed vowel and not preceded by /s/.

(4) The English voiceless iortis /p, t, k, f, s, J", tf/ are pronounced
more energetically than similar Russian consonants.

The English voiced consonants /b, d, g, v, 3, z, 5, d§/ are not replaced by the corresponding voiceless sounds in word-final posi­tions and before voiceless consonants, e.g. /'big ^eibl/.

(5) Consonant phonemes in English which have no counterparts
an Russian are the following:

1. the bilabial, constrictive median sonorant /w/,

2. the dental (interdental) fricative consonants /Э, Ö /,

3. the voiced bicentral affricate /«13/,

4. the post-alveolar constrictive median sonorant /r/,

5. the backlingual, nasal sonorant /ri/,

6. the glottal fricative /h/.

Consonant phonemes in Russian which have no counterparts in English are the following:


1. the palatalized consonants /п', б', т*, д', к1, г1, м\ н', ф', в',
С, з', р7,

2. the voiceless unicentral affricate /ц/,

3. the rolled post alveolar sonorant /p/,

4. the backlingual fricative voiceless /x/.

The most common mistakes that may result from the differences in the articulation bases of the English and Russian languages are the following:

— dorsal articulation of the English forelingual apical /t, d/,
~ the use of the Russian rolled /p/ instead of the English post-
alveolar constrictive hi,

— the use of the Russian /x/ instead of the English glottal,
fricative /h/,

— mispronunciation of the English interdental /0, 5/: the use
of /s, f/ for /e/ and /d, z/ for /Ö /,

— the use of the forelingual /n/ instead of the backlingual velar /n/,

— the use of the Russian dark /ш, ж/ instead of the soft English




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