Talk:Voice (phonetics)

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Interlanguage links[edit]

I've just combined Voiced consonant and Voiceless consonant onto this page. I've copied the interlanguage links across but the result looks odd. Grateful to anyone who can suggest what should be done! Gailtb 07:40, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

It looks very awkward with the interlanguage links...but I suppose there's no other way... -- the GREAT Gavini 18:00, 14 September 2006 (UTC)



Does English have voicing in bilabial/avleolar/velar stops?[edit]

I've been doing some research into whether or not English really has voicing. I've come to the conclusion that a sentence like "Bob is going home" is actually [pɑp̬.ɪs.koiŋk.hom], rather than [b̥ɑb.ɪs.koiŋk.hom]. Thoughts? I wanna hear it all! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.8.225.58 (talk) 01:31, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Why, maybe. I share that impression. The article already states something alike: 'Articulatory voicing does not generally occur throughout the sound since airflow is blocked by the tongue in the pronunciation of the consonant ("closure")' (etc.). According to strict IPA definition, there should be no difference between [p] and [b̥] anyway (but, of course, [pʰ] is different from [p]). Your research, for accurate and meticulous it may be, unfortunately remains irrelevant to Wikipedia as long as it has not been published in some reliable place. You may be interested in the article Fortis and lenis, which states similar ideas and even comes with a few sources. -- mach 🙈🙉🙊 17:17, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/iverson/www/larygmc.pdf . Check out this paper. He argues that English isn't a voicing contrastive language, but rather a "spread glottis" contrastive language. He derives this research from Kim (1970).
Interesting. This is G. K. Iverson & J. C. Salmons (1995): «Aspiration and laryngeal representation in Germanic», Phonology 12, p. 369–396, I presume? I am a little bit disappointed that only Dutch is mentioned among the exceptional Germanic languages where the two-way obstruents distinction is not of the "spread glottis" type. The two-way distinction of Swiss German obstruents is not based on "spread glottis" either, but neither is it based on voice. Traditionally, it has been described as a tenseness distinction, but recent measurements account better for a length distinction (see J. Fleischer & S. Schmid 2006: «Zurich German», Journal of the International Phonetic Association 36/2, p. 243–253). I guess that in the view of Iverson & Gregory (1995), this would not be described as a two-way obstruent system at all, but as a one-way system with additional length, just like Finnish phonology. While that description is possible, it is awkward. -- mach 🙈🙉🙊 20:45, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


English most certainly has voicing in stops. You can have voicing during closure (just hold your nose and try), and that is relatively common intervocalically --- though you may not get voicing for the whole closure period because it is difficult to sustain as the transglottal air pressure equalizes. In any case, keep in mind that this only applies to the phonetic sense of "voice," which is differentiated from phonological voice in the article (I wrote that part). What you call the English phonological contrast --- voice, tense/lax, fortis/lenis, spread glottis --- is an entirely other question with no settled answer. There is more than one phonetic difference involved in the contrast and picking a primary one seems arbitrary to me. More in my dissertation http://razor.occams.info/pubdocs/dissertation.pdf. TwigsCogito (talk) 06:04, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
So what you're telling me, is that English has voicing, except it just isn't that the vocal chords are vibrating? If thats the argument, wouldn't it be the case that since there ISNT any voicing, West Germanic languages like English will associate the differences with other features and not voicing (such as amount of aspiration in onsets [a la Korean], length of vowels in codas)? I have never seen evidence for vocal chords vibrating in recorded speech seen through programs like Praat, unless you're Peter Ladafoged and you consciously create voicing and confuse linguistics students world wide. I've seen examples of an L1 English speaker who learns Afrikaans bilingually, both of which are West Germanic, but use English consonants which are drastically different than Dutch voicing. The reason is because Dutch HAS voicing, English does not, and this feature transfers to her L2. But maybe this is phonology and not phonetics.. so I'm not too sure. Emelius7 (talk) 15:44, 05 December, 2011


No, that's not what I'm saying at all. 1) If you compare the amount of glottal vibration between English p/b and on, and look at a wide enough set of data, you'll find that there is a difference. That doesn't mean all so-called voiced stops will have it, or that it will be uninterrupted during closure. Just saying it's one of many acoustic measurements that differ in some way between the two phones, and I don't think this is really in dispute. 2) Since there are many acoustic differences between the two phones (again, see my dissertation for details), I'm saying I don't believe that any particular one of these (voicing, aspiration, or otherwise) is the *one* that is responsible for the *phonological* difference, although certainly aspiration is the most salient in initial context. On this point I'm in the vast minority, since most tend to choose one acoustic or articulatory difference and stick with it (for English, typically aspiration). TwigsCogito (talk) 00:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Source?[edit]

I'm just an undergrad, but I'd never heard of this... There is a hypothesis that the contrast between fortis and lenis consonants is related to the contrast between voiceless and voiced consonants, a relation based on sound perception as well as on sound production, where consonant voice, tenseness and length are but different manifestations of a common sound feature. Links please! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.61.107.99 (talk) 05:52, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

It's funny that that sounds like something I would write, but not how I would write it. Maybe I should check the history to see if it was me. Anyway, what exactly is voice, tense, etc. is very hazy and there's no consensus as far as I'm aware. The sentence you quoted is vaguely how you might describe the point of view of Michael Jessen (1998, 2001), since he tries to subsume everything under a "tense/lax" contrast that is (IMO) quite abstract. When I finish my dissertation in the spring I'll update this section. TwigsCogito (talk) 21:35, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

"pods" example[edit]

"The English word "pods" is made up of a sequence of phonemes, represented symbolically as "/padz/", or the sequence of /p/, /a/, /d/, and /z/."

It seems to me that "pods" is, phonemically, /pɒdz/ rather than /padz/. /a/ is not a phoneme of English according to Wikipedia:IPA_for_English, although [a] may be a common realisation of /ɒ/. Lfh (talk) 11:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

It's really just notation. The IPA page lists "phones" in English, not phonemes. Phones are sounds, so the label matters. But phonemes are abstract so what you call them is a matter of notation. OTOH, the IPA notation in square brackets is wrong, as you say. (My bad.) Fixing it now. TwigsCogito (talk) 21:35, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

You are right, I just thought it was WP convention to label the "pods" vowel as /ɒ/ rather than /a/. But I can see that the idea is to pick a word whose phoneme symbols are all taken from the regular alphabet, for ease of explanation - which is no bad thing - so I will leave /padz/ undisturbed. Lfh (talk) 18:54, 20 October 2009 (UTC)