Лекция: Initial consonant clusters
Initial two-consonant clusters are of two sorts in English:
1) /s/ followed by one of the following consonants /p, t, k, f, m, n, l, w, j/;
2) one of the consonants (except /s/) followed by /l, r, w, j/.
· When /s/ precedes /p, t, k/ they lose their aspiration (star, spear, sky).
2.1.1 Voiceless consonants + /n, m, l, r, w, j/
In the clusters of any voiceless consonant with the sounds /n, m, l, r, w, j/partial or complete devoicing of the second sound takes place, i.e. progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords can be observed here.
· /n, m, l, r, w, j/ become completely devoiced after /p, t, k/ in a stressed syllable (pleI, tjHn, kwIk). Notice that when /l, r, w, j/ follow /p, t, k/ they become slightly fricative, i.e. some friction is heard when we pronounce them.
· They become partially devoiced:
— after /p, t, k/ in an unstressed syllable or at a word boundary (prI'peq, 'rItn, 'help mI);
— after /sp, st, sk/ (spreI, stjH, skweq);
— after any voiceless friction consonant /s, f, S, T, h/(smaIl, fjH, SrJk, TrJ, 'hjHmq).
2.1.2 Combinations of alveolar consonants /t, d/ with /r/
In these clusters regressive assimilation affecting the place and the manner of articulation takes place. Under the influence of the post-alveolar /r/, the alveolar consonants /t, d/become post-alveolar, too (traI, drJm), they are pronounced with the tip of the tongue close to the back of the alveolar ridge.
Besides, in /tr/there is progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords: /r/becomes partially or completely devoiced.
So, in /tr/we have double (reciprocal/rI'sIprqkql/) assimilation.
2.1.3 Combinations of dental consonants /T, D/ with /r/
In these clusters progressive assimilation affecting the place and the manner of articulation takes place. Under the influence of the dental /T, D/ the post-alveolar /r/is replaced by an alveolar tap or a flapped variety of /r/ (TrJ, wID reIn) — a single short tap is made by the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge.
Besides, in /Tr/there is partial devoicing of /r/, i.e. progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cords takes place.
So, in /Tr/we have double assimilation.
2.1.4 Combination of consonants with /w/
/w/influences the preceding consonant and it becomes lip-rounded or labialized, i.e. regressive assimilation affecting the position of the lips takes place (dwel, swetq).
When /w/ is preceded by a voiceless consonant, /w/ becomes partially or completely devoiced i.e. progressive assimilation affecting the work of the vocal cordstakes place (twIst, swHp, kwaIt).
Thus, in clusters /tw, kw, sw/ double (reciprocal) assimilation takes place.