Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Experimental-Phonetic Analysis of Rhythmic Structures in the English Language

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

Experimental-Phonetic Analysis of Rhythmic Structures in the English Language

Article excerpt


The article has been written on the basis of experimental-phonetic method in the study of rhythmic structures in the English language. The main aim of the investigation is to define and systematize the inner laws of the language and to show their role in the formation of rhythmic groups, as well as, to analyse the acoustic parameters and prosodic features of rhythmic structures and interrelation of components in their intonation. For the purpose of investigation we preferred to choose dialogical texts (particularly political talk shows) recorded from American TV Channel CNN and some other dialogues. In order to measure the acoustic parameters of the rhythmical groups the computer program PRAAT has been used.

Keywords: rhythmic structures, prosody, syllable, proclitic, enclitic, acoustic parameters

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1. Introduction

In the introduction of the article it is pointed out rhythmic structures of the utterances in the English texts have been investigated from the experimental-phonetic aspect. The author of the article has made an attempt to highlight the prosodic features (frequency, intensity, time) of rhythmic groups, and to show their role in the formation of rhythmic structures. She has also introduced linguists' different approaches to the problem of rhythm within the frames of metrical phonology. Despite much excellent work has been done on such topic as rhythm, the experimental-phonetic analysis of rhythmic groups has received little investigation. In the article the author has introduced the tables indicating prosodic features of rhythmic groups.

In the conclusion of the research the author tried to generalize her considerations obtained from the result of the investigation.

2. Scope of the Study

Discourse on how globalization affects language, increasingly discusses the idea of language learning and what it means is to analyse every aspect of the language thoroughly.

The traits of the language learning involve such aspects as phonology, morphology, syntax and so on. The study of intonation, as one of the most important fields of phonology, is considered to be of great importance in linguistics. Though there have been many approaches to intonation, none of them can be satisfying, as one of them highlights the acoustic, the other the articulatory, and the third one the emotional aspect of intonation (Veysalli, 2009). However, all the definitions accept the fact, that intonation is the complex unity of certain components, as melody, stress, rhythm, tempo and pause.

The total meaning of an act of speech and information transmitting depends on a number of language signals, among which rhythm is considered to be one of the most important. In the act of speech rhythm regulates it by means of alternation of language units at a relatively equal period of time. The alternation of speech elements as syllable, stress, rhythmic group is not accidental, all is carried out with the principle of geometric range: a:b=b:c=c:d and so on (Mahnken, 1953). This feature of the rhythm evokes different emotional-esthetic feelings in a man which is observed both in poetry and prose. It is worth noting that rhythmically properly organized speech makes it better understood than that where rhythm is broken. Abercrombie was the first who paid attention to the phenomenon in which "rhythmic beating" is formed between interlocutors. He writes "When starting the conversation each member of the dialogue tries to keep on the " rhythmic beating" already formed, in other words, he is tuned up to the rhythm of his interlocutor." (Andreyeva, 1978).

For Mechonic rhythm is the "movement" that acts in all aspects of the language, it is the movement of the meaning in speech, it is the organization of meaning in the discourse. For him, if the meaning of the speech is the result of speech activity, then rhythm is its realization (Meschonnic, 1982). …

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