7.1 Phonetic & Phonological Analysis: How do various phonation types come about?

Chapter  7

7.1 Examine the phenomenon that creates the various phonation types that exist in language

Analyses of Phonation

 Phonation type

The phonation types are as a result of the different states of the glottis. Phonation has to do with the generation of acoustic energy at the larynx by the action of the vocal folds.

The state of the glottis determines the presence or lack of vibration that accompanies a human speech sound.

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The Four States of the Glottis

a) Voiced state

This phonation state is achieved with a narrowed glottis so that the air stream causes the vocal cords to vibrate. The sounds articulated with this state of the glottis are known as voiced sounds.

Example

/b/ – voiced bilabial plosive

/d/ – voiced alveolar plosive

/z/ – voiced alveolar fricative

/i/ – Vowels

b) Voiceless state

This phonation state is achieved with an open glottis so that the airstream flows out with no vibration of the vocal cords. The sounds articulated with this state of the glottis are known as voiceless sounds.

Example

/p/ – voiceless bilabial plosive

/t/ – voiceless alveolar plosive

/s/ -voiceless alveolar fricative

c) Whisper state

This phonation state is achieved with a considerably narrowed glottis so that the airstream flows out with a strong hushing noise. To practice, fill your lungs and then softly say ‘ee’. What you have articulated is known as the ‘whispered mid-low front vowel’ – /∂/. The whispered breath takes longer to flow out than the one utilized for a voiceless state.

Activity

Alternately say the sounds /e/ and /h/

If you say the sounds correctly, you will perceive the difference between the two flow outs of the airstream mechanism. That is the difference between the voiceless and whisper phonation states.

d) Creaky state

This phonation state is achieved with the glottis completely closed along most of its length except near the front-end opening. This state of the glottis allows air to escape in a low frequency through a small vibrating segment near the front end of the glottis. Each explosive burst of air is heard distinctly.

 

Activity

Say /a/ from a low to a very low pitch.

If you say it correctly at some point the vibration is so low that you can perceive the individual explosives bursts of air. These individual bursts of air are known as creaks. The sounds articulated with this state of the glottis are voiced.

 

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