We don't need to speak in order to use language. Language can be written, broadcast from tapes and CDs, and produced by computers in limited ways. Nevertheless, speech remains the primary way humans encode and broadcast language. Speaking and writing are different in both origin and practice. Our ability to use language is as old as humankind is. It reflects the biological and cognitive modification that has occurred during the evolution of our species. Writing is the symbolic representation of language by graphic signs. It is comparatively recent cultural development. Spoken language is acquired without specific formal instruction, whereas writing must be taught and learned through deliberate effort. The origins of the written language lie in the spoken language, not the other way round. .
The written form of language is usually a generally accepted
standard and is the same throughout the country. But spoken
language may vary from place to place. Such distinct forms of
language are called dialects! The varieties of the language are
conditioned by language communities ranging from small groups to
nations. Speaking about the nations we refer to the national
variants of the language. According to A.D. Schweitzer national
language is a historical category evolving from conditions of
economic and political concentration which characterizes the
formation of nation. In the case of English there exists a great
diversity in the realization of the language and particularly in
terms of pronunciation. Though every national variant of English
has considerable differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and
grammar; they all have much in common which gives us ground to
speak of one and the same language — the English language.
Every national variety of language falls into territorial or
regional dialects. Dialects are distinguished from each other by
differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. When we refer
to varieties in pronunciation only, we use the term accent. So
local accents may have many features of pronunciation in common and
are grouped into territorial or area accents. For certain reasons
one of the dialects becomes the standard language of the nation and
its pronunciation or accent - the standard pronunciation.
The literary spoken form has its national pronunciation standard. A
standard may be defined as "a socially accepted variety of language
established by a codified norm of correctness" (K. Macanalay).
Standard national pronunciation is sometimes called "an orthoepic
norm''. Some phoneticians however prefer the term "literary
2. Classification of pronunciation variants in English. British and
American pronunciation models.
Nowadays two main types of English are spoken in the
English-speaking world: British English and American English.
According to British dialectologists (P. Trudgill, J. Hannah, A.
Hughes and others), the following variants of English are referred
to the English-based group: English English, Welsh English,
Australian English, New Zealand English; to the American-based
group: United States English, Canadian English. Scottish English
and Ireland English fall somewhere between the two, being somewhat
According to M. Sokolova and others, English English, Welsh
English, Scottish English and Northern Irish English should be
better combined into the British English subgroup, on the ground of
political, geographical, cultural unity which brought more
similarities - then differences for those variants of
Teaching practice as well as a pronouncing dictionary must base
their recommendations on one or more models. A pronunciation model
is a carefully chosen and defined accent of a language.
In the nineteenth century Received Pronunciation (RP) was a social
marker, a prestige accent of an Englishman. "Received" was
understood in the sense of "accepted in the best society". The
speech of aristocracy and the court phonetically was that of the
London area. Then it lost its local characteristics and was finally
fixed as a ruling-class accent, often referred to as "King's
English". It was also the accent taught at public schools. With the
spread of education cultured people not belonging to upper classes
were eager to modify their accent in the direction of social
In the first edition of English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917),
Daniel Jones defined the type of pronunciation recorded as "Public
School Pronunciation" (PSP). He had by 1926, however, abandoned the
term PSP in favour of "Received Pronunciation" (RP). The type of
speech he had in mind was not restricted to London and the Home
Counties, however being characteristic by the nineteenth century of
upper-class speech throughout the country. The Editor of the 14th
Edition of the dictionary, A.C. Gimson, commented in 1977 "Such a
definition of RP is hardly tenable today". A more broadly-based and
accessible model accent for British English is represented in the
15th (1997) and the 16th (2003) editions – ВВС English. This is the
pronunciation of professional speakers employed by the BBC as
newsreaders and announcers. Of course, one finds differences
between such speakers - they have their own personal
characteristics, and an increasing number of broadcasters with
Scottish, Welsh and Irish accents are employed. On this ground J.C.
Wells (Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 33rd edition - 2000)
considers that the term BBC pronunciation has become less
appropriate. According to J.C. Wells, in England and Wales RP is
widely regarded as a model for correct pronunciation, particularly
for educated formal speech.
For American English, the selection (in EPD) also follows what is
frequentlyheard from professional voices on national. network news
and information programmes. It is similar to what has been termed
General American, which refers to a geographically (largely
non-coastal) and socially based set of pronunciation features. It
is important to note that no single dialect - regional or social -
has been singled out as an American standard. Even national media
(radio, television, movies, CD-ROM, etc.), with professionally
trained voices have speakers with regionally mixed features.
However, Network English, in its most colourless form, can be
described as a relatively homogeneous dialect that reflects the
ongoing development of progressive American dialects. This
"dialect" itself contains some variant forms. The variants involve
vowels before [r], possible differences in words like cot and
caught and some vowels before [l]. It is fully rhotic. These
differences largely pass unnoticed by the audiences for Network
English, and are also reflective of age differences. What are
thought to be the more progressive (used by educated, socially
mobile, and younger speakers) variants are considered as first
variants. J.C. Wells prefers the term General American. This is
what is spoken by the majority of Americans, namely those who do
not have a noticeable eastern or southern accent.
3. Types and styles of pronunciation
Styles of speech or pronunciation are those special forms of speech
suited to the aim and the contents of the utterance, the
circumstances of communication, the character of the audience, etc.
As D. Jones points out, a person may pronounce the same word or
sequence of words quite differently under different
Thus in ordinary conversation the word and is frequently pronounced
[n] when unstressed (e.g. in bread and butter ['bredn 'butэ], but
in serious conversation the word, even when unstressed, might often
be pronounced [ænd]. In other words, all speakers use more than one
style of pronunciation, and variations in the pronunciation of
speech sounds, words and sentences peculiar to different styles of
speech may be called stylistic variations.
Several different styles of pronunciation may be distinguished,
although no generally accepted classification of styles of
pronunciation has been worked outand the peculiarities of different
styles have not yet been sufficiently investigated.
D. Jones distinguishes among different styles of pronunciation the
rapid familiar style, the slower colloquial style, the natural
style used in addressing a fair-sized audience, the acquired style
of the stage, and the acquired style used in singing.
L.V. Shcherba wrote of the need to distinguish a great variety of
styles of speech, in accordance with the great variety of different
social occasions and situations, but for the sake of simplicity he
suggested that only two styles of pronunciation should be
distinguished: (1) colloquial style characteristic of people's
quiet talk, and (2) full style, which we use when we want to make
our speech especially distinct and, for this purpose, clearly
articulate all the syllables of each word.
The kind of style used in pronunciation has a definite effect on
the phonemic and allophonic composition of words. More deliberate
and distinct utterance results in the use of full vowel sounds in
some of the unstressed syllables. Consonants, too, uttered in
formal style, will sometimes disappear in colloquial. It is clear
that the chief phonetic characteristics of the colloquial style are
various forms of the reduction of speech sounds and various kinds
of assimilation. The degree of reduction and assimilation depends
on the tempo of speech.
S.M. Gaiduchic distinguishes five phonetic styles: solemn
(торжественный), "scientific business (научно-деловой), official
business (официально-деловой), everyday (бытовой), and familiar
(непринужденный). As we may see the above-mentioned phonetic styles
on the whole correlate with functional styles of the language. They
are differentiated on the basis of spheres of discourse.
The other way of classifying phonetic styles is suggested by J.A.
Dubovsky who discriminates the following five styles: informal
ordinary, formal neutral, formal official, informal familiar, and
declamatory. The division is based on different degrees of
formality or rather familiarity between the speaker and the
listener. Within each style subdivisions are observed. M.Sokolova
and other's approach is slightly different. When we consider the
problem of classifying phonetic styles according to the criteria
described above we should distinguish between segmental and
suprasegmental level of analysis because some of them (the aim of
the utterance, for example) result in variations of mainly
suprasegmental level, while others (the formality of situation, for
example) reveal segmental varieties. So it seems preferable to
consider each level separately until a more adequate system of
correlation is found.
The style-differentiating characteristics mentioned above give good
grounds for establishing intonational styles. There are five
intonational styles singled out mainly according to the purpose of
communication and to which we could refer all the main varieties of
the texts. They are as follows:
2.Academic style (Scientific).
4.Declamatory style (Artistic).
5.Conversational style (Familiar).
But differentiation of intonation according" to the purpose of
communication is not enough; there are other factors that affect
intonation in various situations. Besides any style is seldom
realized in its pure form.
Spoken and Written language