Our good friend and colleague, Beth Grodzin, is scheduled to be teaching assistant for a phonetics class at Utah State University this summer. We asked her to guest blog for us the next two weeks, providing us some back to basics phonetics suggestions and resources for SLPs.
1) Stressed and Unstressed Syllables
Remember to use the correct symbol in stressed and unstressed syllables:
- The diphthong /eɪ/ used in stressed syllables and at the ends of words regardless of stress. So the words late (one syllable word--stressed syllable), debate (two-syllable word--stressed syllable), and freeway (two-syllable word--unstressed syllable) are transcribed with /eɪ/--/leɪt/, /dibeɪt/, /friweɪ/. Use of the /eɪ/ diphthong is a result of vowel lengthening. The /e/ symbol is used in unstressed syllable. For example, rotate and decade are transcribed as /roʊtet/ and /dɛked/.
- The /oʊ/ diphthong is also used in stressed syllables and at the ends of words regardless of stress, so the words coat, alone, and tiptoe are all transcribed with /oʊ/--/koʊt/, /əloʊn/, /tɪptoʊ/. The /o/ symbol is used in unstressed syllables. For example, domain and telephone are transcribed as /domeɪn/ and /tɛlɛfon/.
- The symbol /ʌ/ occurs in stressed syllables, as in the words bud and under--/bʌd/, /ʌndɚ/. The /ə/ symbol is used in unstressed syllables, as in the words alone and backup--/əloʊn/, /bækəp/.
- While the /ɝ/ is a tense vowel, the /ɚ/ is considered lax. The words dirt and hurdle use the symbol for stressed syllables, /ɝ/--/dɝt/, /hɝdl/. The words banker and gender use the symbol for unstressed syllables, /ɚ/--/beɪŋkɚ/, /dʒɛndɚ/.
The rules above apply to stand-alone words only. In connected speech, you will need to assess whether a one-syllable word is stressed or unstressed within the sentence to determine proper use of vowel symbols.
2) R-Colored Vowels
Keep your r-colored vowels straight with this handy chart:
3) The Tap
The tap (ɾ) is used for two primary reasons. First, use a tap in words where the first syllable is stressed and there is an intervocalic “t” or “d.” For example, ladder and butter would be transcribed as /læɾɚ/ and /bʌɾɚ/. Second, use a tap when an intervocalic “t” is at the end of a stressed syllable. For example, waited and pouted would be transcribed as /weɪɾɪd/ and /paʊɾɪd/.
1) Typing Phonetic Symbols
If you are like me and have no interest in setting up each of your devices with a phonetic keyboard, here is a resource for you. At http://ipa.typeit.org/ you can type any phonetic symbols, and then cut and paste into your document.
2) Transcription Practice
Here is a practice website recommended by Dr. Sonia Manuel-Dupont, Utah State University Professor: http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/~kjohnson/English_Phonetics/
As she noted, when you Google “IPA Transcription Practice,” a tremendous number of websites appear. If you are feeling rusty, this is a great way to re-establish your transcription skills.