Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by VANewbie, Feb 6, 2011.
Feb 6, 2011
What are affricates?
The examples online only confuse me more. I can't seem to figure them out.
It looks like they are consonant that begin with your tongue attached to your teeth and then end with your tongue rounded off the teeth and the air coming from your tummy as in the s sound. So ch would be an affricate and so would ds and j.
The sounds of g, j, and h..as well as the blend tr dr and ch...
I don't know whether this will be "easy", exactly... but chances are that what would really make sense of this is "thorough", so let's scramble onto my linguistic hobbyhorse and hope we don't get bucked:
What the Rockingham doc says is not that the sounds of g, j, and h are affricates but that we pronounce the names of those letters with affricates:
the name of the letter <g> is pronounced "gee"
the name of the letter <j> is pronounced "jay"
the name of the letter <h> is pronounced "aitch".
The phoneme (speech sound) /h/, however, is not at all an affricate: it's the sound at the beginning of the words hero and hobo, and that is a fricative, which is to say a hissing or hushing consonant that's made when air escapes through the mouth noisily but without stopping. Among the other fricative phonemes of English:
- /f/ as in focal (voiceless) and /v/ as in vocal (voiced)
- voiceless and voiced "th" as in ether (the gas) and either (the conjunction)
- the sound we spell <sh> (voiceless) in the middle of the word rasher and the "zh" (voiced) sound in the middle of the word azure
The sound we spell <ch> as in chump is indeed an affricate, and so is the sound at the beginning of the word jump. An affricate can be thought of as stop plus fricative - but there are good reasons not to think of an affricate as a blend. First, an affricate functions in the language as a single consonant, not as a blend: that is, the words chip and gyp each consist of just three phonemes, not four, whereas the words trip and drip consist of four phonemes each. Second, part of the definition of "affricate" is that both the stop and the frication happen at the same point in the mouth: the closure in <ch> or <j> isn't where /s/ is, it's farther back in the mouth where
"sh" is. (It also involves a different part of the tongue: details on request.)
English has just the two affricates, but there are certainly languages with more. Russian has an alveolar affricate that sounds like the last two sounds in the word cats: that's the sound that we have trouble spelling in Tsar or Czar (which, by the way, are both cognates of Latin Caesar). German also has that sound, and spells it with <z> as in Zeit 'time' or the name of the composer Mozart, and German also has a bilabial affricate that it spells <pf> as in kopf 'head' or Pfeif 'pipe'.
Whether the blends <tr> and <dr> involve affrication seems to vary from dialect to dialect of English. In my pronunciation of the blend /tr/, the very tip of my tongue starts off exactly where it does for /t/ alone, just behind my front teeth, whereas for <ch> the front of my tongue just behind the tip (the "blade") is pressed against a point of the roof of my mouth that is farther back. I know plenty of speakers of English, however, whose <tr> and <dr> start out with exactly the same tongue shape and placement as their <sh> and <j>. (If you're not sure where your tongue goes, try saying the consonant and then, without moving your tongue, breathe in: the points on your tongue and the roof of your mouth where you feel cool air are the points that are in contact.)
Knew you would weigh in ,TG! Do you have a language arts superhero cape? You deserve one...always coming to the rescue!