Palatal consonant phonemes /ʤ/, /ʧ/

From English Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

English has two consonants that are produced in the palatal or pre-palatal regions of the mouth: the affricate pair /ʤ/, /ʧ/, in which each is a blend of a stop plus fricative consonant which together function as a single phoneme.

  • The voiced affricate /ʤ/ as in judge, which is more properly written with a ligature in IPA as /d͡ʒ/ with no space between the letters; it is also written as /ǰ/, /ǧ/ /ǯ/ or /dž/ in some texts that do not strictly follow the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • The voiceless affricate /ʧ/ as in cheap, which is more properly written with a ligature in IPA as /t͡ʃ/ with no space between the letters; it is also written as /č/.

In teaching pronunciation, these are often distinguished from each other, from the English /s/ and /z/ sounds, the English post-alveoloar consonant phonemes /ʒ/, /ʃ/, and from post-alveolar or palatal consonants in the students' first language. In this article, slash marks like /ʧ/ indicate a phoneme, while angled brackets like <ch> indicate a letter or spelling.


1 Linguistic description

  • Manner of articulation: Both sounds are affricates, produced by first entirely stopping the air flow like a stop consonant, and then the tongue pulls back to create friction (like a fricative consonant), creating turbulence.
  • In manner of articulation, both sounds are sibilant affricates, produced by stopping and then pushing the air stream along the grooved tongue surface (the tongue blade, or the front section of the tongue) creating a hissing-style high frequency noise due to air turbulence.
  • Place of articulation: Both sounds are palato-alveolar, i.e., with the tongue blade touching an area ranging from behind the alveolar gum ridge to the pre-palatal area. In English, the tongue is apical, that is, the tongue blade is pointed up toward the alveolar/palatal region. The stop and friction is created between the tongue tip (apex) plus tongue blade area and the palatal-alveolar area.
  • The /ʤ/ sound is voiced, i.e., produced with vibration of the vocal cords.
  • The /ʧ/ sound is voiceless, i.e, produced without vibration of the vocal cords.


1.1 Cross-linguistic comparison

The voiced consonant /ʤ/ is not so common in European or other languages, except as a dialectal or allophonic variant in a few languages like Portuguese, or a fairly rare sound from loanwords, such as the German word Dschungel from the English jungle. The voiceless consonant /ʧ/ is fairly common in some European and other languages, most notably in German (e.g., Quatsch nonsense), and less often in Italian (e.g., ciao hello), Polish and Hungarian, and in a few others as allophones or dialectal variants. In German, the lips might be slightly more rounded for these sounds.

East Asian equivalents present some difficulties, as the equivalent or analogous sounds are produced differently and have different syllabic patterns. Chinese (Mandarin and other varieties), Japanese and Korean have dental-alveolar or alveolo-palatal affricates, which are produced with the front tongue blade. More importantly, while the English sounds are apical, with the tongue blade and tip pointing up toward the alveolar-palatal area, in these East Asian languages, the tongue blade is flat, and friction is created between the flat tongue blade and the alveolar-palatal area. This tongue position is termed laminal, as opposed to apical. Examples:

  • The voiceless affricate /tɕ/ in Chinese, as in Beijing, and in Korean, as in 자다 jada to sleep.
  • The voiceless aspirated affricate /t͡ɕʰ/ in Chinese, as in the syllable qing; in Korean, as in 차다 chada to kick; and in Japanese, as in nichi two.
  • The voiced affricate /dʑ/ which occurs as variant of /tɕ/ between vowels in Korean, e.g., 이제 ijae now.
  • A glottalized affricate /tɕʔ/ in Korean, produced with extra pressure from the glottis, e.g., 짜다 jjada to squeeze or salty.

For East Asians, their sibilant fricative sounds are more syllabically restricted. In English, these sounds can occur anywhere in a word in principle - word-initially as in show, medially as in vision or fission, and word-finally as in fish. East Asians may need to learn to pronounce these word-finally without inserting an extra vowel. Koreans and Japanese have particular problems, as their sibilant fricatives do not occur word-finally in their languages without an extra end vowel. This is also related to the laminal pronunciation of the Korean and Japanese fricatives. Thus, their pronunciation of fish can sound like fishy or fish-uh with a flat tongue.

Some languages have sibilant affricates that are more retroflexed, that is, with the tongue tip bent further back in the mouth and touching the central palatal area, behind where the /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ are produced. Learners will need to bend the tongue slightly forward.

  • The voiceless retroflex /tʂ/ as in Chinese 中 zhong middle.
  • The voiceless retroflex /tʂh/ as in Chinese chai tea.


1.2 Teaching /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ production

For those from a first language (L1) background from Europe and many other parts of the world, these sounds may not be so problematic. Some languages have /ʧ/ but no /ʤ/, so learning to hear and produce /ʤ/ is simply a matter of pronouncing /ʧ/ and then vibrating the vocal cords. Students can place their hands on their throats to feel the vibration. They can begin with the voiceless - voiced contrast between /s/ and /z/ to learn how to vocalize another unvoiced consonant.

Students whose L1 has alveolar-palatal or fully palatal sounds instead will need to learn to adjust their tongue position, bringing it more forward or more back. East Asians need to learn to pronounce these sounds with an apical tongue pointing toward the top of the oral cavity instead of the flat-tongue pronunciation. They will also need to learn to pronounce final /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ without inserting an extra vowel or extra air flow at the end.

It should be noted that the voiced consonant /ʤ/ is less common in English. It occurs mainly in words from Latin and Old French spelled with <j> and <dj> such as jury and adjure. The /ʧ/ is much more common and probably deserves more priority and attention; this occurs in words from Old French and Latin spelled with <ch>, and in Latin words with spellings like <-Ction> (consonant plus -tion in spelling) like abduction.


2 Practice activities and materials

Minimal pairs, which contrast a target sound with a sound that is a separate phoneme, are typical starting points for production and practice activities, particularly comparing the following, depending on the learners' levels and L1 backgrounds.

  1. /ʤ/ as badge with /ʒ/ as in beige
  2. /ʤ/ as badge with /z/ as in zebra
  3. /ʤ/ as badge with /ʧ/ as in chair
  4. /ʧ/ as in chair with /ʃ/ as in share

These contrasts should be shown with minimal pair contrasts in syllable-initial, consonant cluster, medial, and final position. For more on types of minimal pairs activities to train listeners to discern and produce sounds, see the following.

  1. Pronunciation: Listening exercises
  2. Pronunciation: Production exercises
  3. Pronunciation: Controlled activities
  4. Pronunciation: Interactive activities


2.1 Short narratives

The following are some short narratives that I wrote for practicing fricative and affricate (blend) consonants, namely, the sounds /s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /ʒ/, /ʧ/, /ʤ/.

1.

In the zoo at night, silence fell as the zoo visitors left. Crickets chirped as church bells rang out from an adjacent district. In the cages, crocs guarded their eggs as ducks lapsed into slumber. The elks cringed as already satisfied tigers nearby loudly belched. The asps blitzed about their dens, while hedgehogs rummaged for grubs, and black bats emerged from the warmth of their crypts. A lynx triumphed over its prey and plopped it down before its mates, as wolves glimpsed at the skunks kept safe from them by a chain link cage, and loathed the four-legged morsels that they could not grasp.


2.

Out by the oaks, ants who had waltzed amongst each other in the daytime relaxed for the night, as did ant lions that had delved into the sands. Spiders in their orbs wrapped their desiccated bugs and other victims that they had bagged in spider silk, like limbs set in casts. Under the light of the street lamps, various insects made their attempts at acts of courtship, but the less lucky dating applicants were jinxed by the heat of the light bulbs.


2.2 Word-final position

Watch out for these sounds at the end of words. There should not be an extra syllable.

/ʃ/ /ʒ/ /ʧ/ /ʤ/
fish

English
reddish
selfish
squeamish
outlandish              

beige

rouge
barrage
deluge
mirage
collage              

church

wretch
besmirch
attach
unlatch
reattach              

scourge

language
adage
sewage
beverage
advantage              


3 Minimal pairs

3.1 /ʤ/ as badge with /ʒ/ as in beige

Very few word pairs exist for the /ʒ/ - /ʤ/ distinction; near-minimal pairs are in parentheses.

medial final
(beige)
(leisure)
version              
(badge)
(ledger)
virgin              
(beige)               (page)              


3.2 /ʤ/ as badge with /z/ as in zebra

Most minimal pairs involve word-final contrasts.

initial medial final
Tsar jar

zany Janie
zealous jealous
zee G
Zen gen
zest jest
zip gyp
Zoe Joey
zone Joan
zoo Jew              

maser major

overzealous overjealous
reason region              

arraigns arrange

A's age
assemblies assemblage
baas barge
backstays backstage
bandies bandage
baronies baronage
bills bilge
bins binge
buzz budge
cabbies cabbage
carries carriage
chains change
chars charge
collies college
curries courage
dhotis dotage
does doge
doses dosage
doze doge
errs urge
flans flange
fours forge
frizz fridge
fuzz fudge
gays gage
gaze gage
grains grange
hews huge
ill-uses ill-usage
intermarries intermarriage
jaws George
K's cage
leas liege
lees liege
Les ledge              

mains mange

marries marriage
Mars Marge
messes message
miscarries miscarriage
Ms midge
pays page
peonies peonage
peris peerage
potties pottage
presses presage
purrs purge
rains range
raise rage
rays rage
remarries remarriage
res Reg
says sedge
screws Scrooge
seas siege
sees siege
seize siege
sirs serge
sirs surge
spinneys spinach
stays stage
storeys storage
stories storage
strains strange
tunnies tonnage
twins twinge
uses usage
ways wage
weighs wage              


3.3 /ʤ/ as badge with /ʧ/ as in chair

A fair number of minimal pairs exist for the /ʧ/ - /ʤ/ distinction.

initial medial final
chain

char
charred
Chas
chaw
cheer
cheese
cherry
chess
chest
chested
Chester
chew
chill
chin
chink
chip
chipped
chive
choice
choke
choker
chore
chug
chump
chunk
chunky              

Jane

jar
jarred
jazz
jaw
jeer
G’s
jerry
Jess
jest
jested
jester
Jew
gill
gin
jink
gyp
gypped
jive
Joyce
joke
joker
jaw
jug
jump
junk
junkie              

catcher

etching
lecher              

cadger

edging
ledger              

batch

beseech
catch
cinch
etch
H
hotchpotch
larch
leach
leech
lunch
march
match
perch
perched
retch / wretch
rich
search
searches
splotch              

badge

besiege
cadge
singe
edge
age
hodgepodge
large
liege
liege
lunge
marge
Madge
purge
purged
Reg
ridge
surge
surges
splodge              


3.4 /ʧ/ as in chair with /ʃ/ as in share

initial medial final
had Chad

shaft chaffed
shah char
shan't chant
shard Chard
share chair
shat (vulgar / taboo) chat
shatter chatter
sheaf chief
shear / sheer cheer
sheet cheat
sherry cherry
shied chide
shilling chilling
shin chin
shine chine
shipboard chipboard
ship (vulgar / taboo) chip
shit chit
shock chock
shoe chew
shoo chew
shop chop
shopper chopper
shore chaw
shore chore
shows chose
shuck chuck
splosh splotch
swish switch              

fuchsia future

washer watcher              

bash batch

Boche botch
bush butch
cache catch
cash catch
chic cheek
crush crutch
dish ditch
hash hatch
hush hutch
lash latch
leash leach
leash leech
marsh march
mash match
mush much
nosh notch
push putsch
racial Rachel
rash ratch
reddish Redditch
wash watch
wish which
wish witch              



4 See also


4.1 Other pages

Portal:Phonology