A Review of A Textbook of English Phonetics for Indian Students by T. Balasubramanian
A Textbook of English Phonetics for Indian Students PDF
English is a global language that is widely used for communication, education, business, and entertainment. However, learning English as a second or foreign language can be challenging, especially when it comes to pronunciation. Pronunciation is the way a word or a language is spoken, or the manner in which someone utters a word. Pronunciation affects not only the clarity and accuracy of communication, but also the impression and attitude of the speaker and the listener.
a textbook of english phonetics for indian students pdf
For Indian students who want to learn or improve their English pronunciation, there is a useful and comprehensive textbook that can help them achieve their goals. It is called A Textbook of English Phonetics for Indian Students, written by T. Balasubramanian, a professor of linguistics at the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages in Hyderabad. This textbook is available in PDF format online, and it covers the essential aspects of English phonetics that are relevant and applicable for Indian students.
In this article, we will review the main features and contents of this textbook, and explain why it is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to master the pronunciation of English.
The Sounds of English
The first chapter of the textbook introduces the basic concepts and terms related to the sounds of English. It explains how sounds are produced by the vocal organs, how they are represented by symbols, how they are classified into different categories, and how they are transcribed into written forms.
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of symbols that is used to represent the sounds of any language in a consistent and universal way. The IPA symbols are based on the Latin alphabet, but they also include some additional symbols and diacritics to indicate specific features of sounds. For example, the symbol /p/ represents a voiceless bilabial plosive sound, which means that it is produced by blocking and releasing the air flow at the lips without vibrating the vocal cords.
The textbook provides a chart of the IPA symbols for the sounds of English, along with their names and examples. It also explains how to use IPA symbols to indicate syllable boundaries, word stress, and intonation patterns.
The classification of English sounds
The textbook also explains how English sounds are classified into two main types: vowels and consonants. Vowels are sounds that are produced with a relatively open vocal tract, allowing the air to flow freely. Consonants are sounds that are produced with a relatively closed vocal tract, creating some obstruction or friction in the air flow.
The textbook describes the criteria for classifying vowels and consonants according to their different features, such as height, backness, roundedness, length, tenseness, voicing, place, and manner of articulation. It also provides examples and diagrams to illustrate how these features affect the shape and position of the tongue, lips, jaw, and other vocal organs.
The transcription of English words
The textbook also teaches how to transcribe English words using IPA symbols, following the standard British pronunciation. It provides exercises and answers to help students practice and check their transcription skills. It also highlights some common spelling and pronunciation discrepancies in English, and explains some rules and patterns that can help students predict the pronunciation of unfamiliar words.
The Syllable and Stress in English
The second chapter of the textbook focuses on the concepts and rules of syllable and stress in English. It explains how syllables are formed, how they are structured, how they are counted, and how they are pronounced with different degrees of emphasis.
The structure and types of syllables
A syllable is a unit of sound that consists of one or more sounds grouped together. A syllable has a nucleus, which is usually a vowel, and it may also have an onset, which is a consonant or a cluster of consonants that precedes the nucleus, and a coda, which is a consonant or a cluster of consonants that follows the nucleus. For example, in the word cat, the syllable has an onset /k/, a nucleus /æ/, and a coda /t/.
The textbook explains how to identify and divide syllables in English words, using various criteria and conventions. It also describes the different types of syllables based on their structure, such as open or closed, heavy or light, simple or complex.
The rules and patterns of stress
Stress is the degree of emphasis or prominence given to a syllable in a word or a word in a sentence. Stress affects the loudness, length, pitch, and quality of a syllable or a word. For example, in the word present, the stress can be on the first syllable /ˈprɛzənt/ (a noun meaning a gift) or on the second syllable /prɪˈzɛnt/ (a verb meaning to show or give something).
The textbook explains how to mark and indicate stress in transcription, using symbols such as ˈ (primary stress), ˌ (secondary stress), and . (syllable boundary). It also explains how to apply the rules and patterns of stress in English words, depending on their structure, origin, function, and position.
The effects of stress on vowel quality
The textbook also explains how stress affects the quality of vowels in English. Vowels in stressed syllables tend to be more clear, full, and distinct than vowels in unstressed syllables, which tend to be more reduced, weak, and indistinct. For example, in the word photograph, the vowel in the first syllable /ˈfəʊtəgrɑːf/ is more clear and full than the vowel in the second syllable /ˈfəʊtəgræf/, which is more reduced and weak.
The textbook introduces the concept of weak forms and strong forms of words in English, which are different pronunciations of the same word depending on whether they are stressed or unstressed. For example, the word and can be pronounced as /ænd/ (strong form) when it is stressed, or as /ən/ (weak form) when it is unstressed. The textbook provides a list of common words that have weak forms and strong forms in English, along with their transcription and examples.
The Intonation of English
The third chapter of the textbook deals with the concept and function of intonation in English. It explains how intonation is produced by varying the pitch of the voice, how it is represented by symbols and graphs, how it conveys different meanings and attitudes, and how it interacts with other features of speech.
The functions and features of intonation
The types and patterns of intonation
The textbook also explains how intonation can be classified into different types and patterns based on the direction and range of pitch movement. It introduces the terms tone unit, tonic syllable, and tone, which are used to describe and analyze intonation in English. A tone unit is a stretch of speech that has one main pitch movement. A tonic syllable is the syllable that carries the main pitch movement in a tone unit. A tone is the type of pitch movement that occurs on the tonic syllable.
The textbook describes four basic types of tones in English: fall, rise, fall-rise, and rise-fall. It also describes some common patterns of intonation that combine these tones in different ways, such as high fall, low rise, fall-rise-fall, etc. It provides examples and graphs to illustrate how these types and patterns of intonation can affect the meaning and attitude of speech.
The transcription of intonation
The textbook also teaches how to transcribe intonation in English using symbols and graphs. It explains how to use symbols such as / (tone unit boundary), * (tonic syllable marker), \ (falling tone), / (rising tone), \/ (fall-rise tone), /\ (rise-fall tone), etc. to indicate the intonation of a tone unit. It also explains how to use graphs or pitch contours to show the variation of pitch over a stretch of speech. It provides exercises and answers to help students practice and check their transcription skills.
The Pronunciation Problems of Indian Students
The fourth chapter of the textbook addresses the specific pronunciation problems that Indian students face when learning or speaking English. It explains the sources and examples of these problems, and provides strategies and tips for overcoming them. It also suggests some resources and tools that can help students improve their pronunciation.
The sources and examples of pronunciation errors
The textbook identifies three main sources of pronunciation errors for Indian students: interference from the mother tongue, influence from regional varieties of English, and lack of exposure to standard models of English. It explains how these sources can affect the pronunciation of sounds, syllables, stress, and intonation in English. It also provides examples of common pronunciation errors that Indian students make, such as pronouncing /v/ as /w/, /f/ as /p/, /θ/ as /t/, /ð/ as /d/, etc.
The strategies and tips for improving pronunciation
The textbook also provides some practical strategies and tips for improving pronunciation in English. It suggests some activities and exercises that can help students practice and develop their listening and speaking skills, such as minimal pair drills, tongue twisters, shadowing, recording, etc. It also advises students to pay attention to the feedback and correction from teachers, peers, or native speakers, and to monitor their own progress and improvement.
The resources and tools for learning pronunciation
The textbook also recommends some useful resources and tools that can help students learn and improve their pronunciation in English. It suggests some books, websites, apps, podcasts, videos, etc. that can provide students with information, guidance, examples, models, exercises, etc. related to pronunciation. It also encourages students to explore and use these resources and tools regularly and effectively.
In conclusion, A Textbook of English Phonetics for Indian Students is a comprehensive and helpful textbook that covers the essential aspects of English phonetics that are relevant and applicable for Indian students. It explains the concepts and rules of sounds, syllables, stress, and intonation in English in a clear and systematic way. It also addresses the specific pronunciation problems that Indian students face, and provides strategies and tips for overcoming them. It also suggests some resources and tools that can help students learn and improve their pronunciation in English.
This textbook is available in PDF format online, which makes it easy to access and download. It is suitable for anyone who wants to master the pronunciation of English as a second or foreign language.
Who is the author of A Textbook of English Phonetics for Indian Students?
The author is T. Balasubramanian, a professor of linguistics at the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages in Hyderabad.
What are the main topics covered in this textbook?
The main topics are the sounds, syllables, stress, and intonation of English, and the pronunciation problems of Indian students.
What are the benefits of learning English phonetics?
Learning English phonetics can help improve the clarity and accuracy of communication, and the impression and attitude of the speaker and the listener.
What are some common pronunciation errors that Indian students make?
Some common errors are pronouncing /v/ as /w/, /f/ as /p/, /θ/ as /t/, /ð/ as /d/, etc.
What are some resources and tools that can help learn pronunciation?
Some resources and tools are books, websites, apps, podcasts, videos, etc.