Our good friend and colleague, Beth Grodzin, is scheduled to be teaching assistant for a phonetics class at Utah State University this summer. This is the second installment of back to basics phonetics suggestions and resources for SLPs. Here is a link to week one.
Phonetics Back to Basics
1) Diacritics for Syllable Stress
As you know, multisyllabic words can have more than one degree of stress. Examples of two syllable words with both primary and secondary stress include ˈenˌtree, ˈfrostˌbite, and ˌeˈrode. But not all multisyllabic words have multiple degrees of stress. Below are the rules for unstressed syllables:
Rules about stress
When the nucleus of a less stressed syllable contains /ə/, /ɚ/, /m/, /n/, or /l/, or a reduced form of /ɪ/ or/ʊ/, the syllable is considered completely unstressed. Examples include the words ˈsweater (unstressed /ɚ/), aˈlone (unstressed /ə/), ˈprism (unstressed /m/), and ˈtoggle (unstressed /l/).
When /ɪ/ is the nucleus of a final open syllable or the nucleus of the syllable /ɪŋ/ that syllable is unstressed. Examples include the words ˈshivering (unstressed /ɚ/ & /ɪ/) and baˈlogna (unstressed /ə/ & /ɪ/).
Clinically, it is important to start articulation therapy on the longer sounds found in stressed syllables.
2) Diacritics for Stop Consonant Production
It's important to properly label the voiceless stops: /p/, /t/, and /k/.
Rules about diacritics for English stop consonants:
Consonants should be aspirated at the beginning of any stressed syllable, in words such as came, tool, and put--/kʰeɪm/, /tʰul/, /pʰʊt/.
At the end of a word, they should be unreleased at the end of any word, such as in the words lake, hat, and sip--/leɪk̚/, /hæt̚/, /sɪp̚/.
When two voiceless stops occur together in the same syllable the first one is not released, as in stacked and reaped--/stæk̚t/, /rip̚d/.
When /p/, /t/, and /k/ are the second member of a consonant cluster, immediately following a fricative, they should be unaspirated, as in spam, star, and skin--/sp⁼æm/, /st⁼ɑr/, /sk⁼ɪn/.
Clinically, variations form the above may indicate a speech sound disorder. As always, it is important to rule out dialect as a cause of variation.
3) Use of non-English Phonemes
Sometimes, the best way to transcribe disordered speech involves the use of non-English phonemes. Use this chart as a reminder of the symbols you can use:
Common substitutions used in disordered speech
Children with phonological disorders may substitute glottal stops for other stops or fricatives. For example, a child might say /ʔʌʔɪ/ for puppy. Remember that glottal stops are normal in some English dialects.
Bilabial fricatives may be substituted for labiodental fricatives. Combined with other processes, a child might say /dəræɸ/ and /dʌβoʊ/ for giraffe and shovel.
Velar fricatives may be substituted for velar stops. In these cases, the stos do not exhibit full closure. This is seen in cleft palate speech and with other disorders. Examples include /xæt/ and /ɣeɪm/ for cat and game.
Cleft palate speakers sometimes produce fricatives in the pharynx. Examples include [ʢip] and [mɛʕɚ] for sheep and measure.
Lateralization can occur with the fricatives /s/ and /z/ and is sometimes known as a lateral lisp. Examples include [jɛɬ] and [ɮu] for yes and zoo. These symbols can also be used in deaffrication, as in [ɮɛlɪ] for jelly.
Individuals with speech sound disorders may also produce non-English affricates. /ts/ and /dz/ may replace /tʃ/ and /dʒ/. For example, watch becomes /wɑts/ and Jim becomes /dzɪm/.
Sometimes instead of gliding, a client will substitute the phoneme [ʋ] in place of an /r/.
Implosive and ejective stop consonants are often used by hearing-impaired speakers, people who stutter, and other individuals with phonological disorders. In producing an ejective the vocal folds are raised, while producing an implosive requires the vocal folds to be lowered . The airstream is glottal rather than pulmonic.
IPA Chart with Sounds
This is an especially helpful link for recognition of non-English phoneme sounds.