Practical English Phonetics

The main objective of the course is to improve, maintain and further improve the articulatory skills developed during performances of authentic English pronunciation for water-phonetic course. In the process of learning expands the general cultural and philological outlook of students, which contributes to the emergence of interest in the study of English. In addition, the course aims to develop different types of memory, the ability to work independently with the language.

During the training, the following tasks:

  • The development of pronunciation skills dialogic and monolog speech;
  • Comprehension skills and strategies of foreign speech at the hearing;
  • Training speech patterns of modern English language, including spoken and emotionally charged speech.

There are three modules in the course:




Phonetics, English Pronunciation, English. Native Speakers
Дисциплина (ы) ,
в которых используется данный курс
Foreign language (English)

140400 "Power and Electrical Engineering";

140100 "Thermal Engineering and Heat Engineering";

141403 "Nuclear power plants: design, maintenance and engineering";

141100 "Power Engineering"

Уровень обучения Bachelor's  Degree (БАКАЛАВРИАТ)
Семестр 2
Количество часов
(Всего / Аудиторные / СРС [кредиты])
106/70/36 [4]
Подразделение разработчик ЭОР Институт - Power Engineering Institute
Кафедра - Department of Foreign Languages
Разработчики ЭОР

Доцент   Н. А. Качалов

Начальник УМО, доц.  А. В. Глазачев

Зав.каф.АТЭС, доц. Л. А. Беляев

Зав.каф.ПГС и ПГУ, доц. А.С.Заворин

Доцент каф. ИЯЭИ Г.А.Низкодубов

Доцент каф. ИЯЭИ  В.М.Ростовцева

(если в курс входят ВЛР или ВЛ, то в разработчиках указывать создателей этих ресурсов)

Alexander V. Obskov

Art. Lecturer, Department of Foreign Languages Institute of Energy


Copyright ©2014.
Tomsk Polytechnic University, All rights reserved.

Phonetics (from the Greek word phone = sound/voice) is a fundamental branch of Linguistics and itself has three different aspects:

Articulatory Phonetics - describes how vowels and consonants are produced or “articulated” in various parts of the mouth and throat;

Acoustic Phonetics - a study of how speech sounds are transmitted: when sound travels through the air from the speaker's mouth to the hearer's ear it does so in the form of vibrations in the air;

Auditory Phonetics- a study of how speech sounds are perceived: looks at the way in which the hearer’s brain decodes the sound waves back into the vowels and consonants originally intended by the speaker.

The actual sound produced, such as a simple vowel or consonant sound is called phone.

Closely associated with Phonetics is another branch of Linguistics known as Phonology. Phonology deals with the way speech sounds behave in particular languages or in languages generally. This focuses on the way languages use differences between sounds in order to convey differences of meaning between words. All theories of phonology hold that spoken language can be broken down into a string of sound units (phonemes). A phoneme is the smallest ‘distinctive unit sound’ of a language. It distinguishes one word from another in a given language. This means changing a phoneme in a word, produces another word, that has a different meaning. In the pair of words (minimal pairs) 'cat' and 'bat', the distinguishing sounds /c/ and /b/ are both phonemes. The phoneme is an abstract term (a speech sound as it exists in the mind of the speaker) and it is specific to a particular language.

A phoneme may have several allophones, related sounds that are distinct but do not change the meaning of a word when they are interchanged. The sounds corresponding to the letter "t" in the English words 'tea' and 'trip' are not in fact quite the same. The position of the tongue is slightly different, which causes a difference in sound detectable by an instrument such as a speech spectrograph. Thus the [t] in 'tea' and the [t] in 'trip' are allophones of the phoneme /t/.

Phonology is the link between Phonetics and the rest of Linguistics. Only by studying both the phonetics and the phonology of English is it possible to acquire a full understanding of the use of sounds in English speech.

English Pronunciation

We use the term ‘accents’ to refer to differences in pronunciations. Pronunciation can vary with cultures, regions and speakers, but there are two major standard varieties in English pronunciationBritish English and American English.

Within British English and American English there are also a variety of accents. Some of them have received more attention than others from phoneticians and phonologists. These are Received pronunciation (RP)* and General American (GA).

Received pronunciation is a form of pronunciation of the English language, sometimes defined as the "educated spoken English of southeastern England". RP is close to BBC English (the kind spoken by British newscasters) and it is represented in the pronunciation schemes of most British dictionaries. RP is rather a social accent than regional, associated with the educated upper classes (and/or people who have attended public schools) in Britain.

English pronunciation is also divided into two main accent groups, the rhotic and the non-rhotic, depending on when the phoneme /r/ is pronounced. Rhotic speakers pronounce written "r" in all positions. They will pronounce the "r" in stork, whereas non-rhotic speakers won't, making no distinction between stork and stalk. Non-rhotic speakers pronounce "r" only if it is followed by a vowel - right, rain, room, Robert, far awey, etc.

Non-rhotic accents are British Received Pronunciation and some other types of British English, Australian, New Zealand and South African English. American English is rhotic (the "r" is always pronounced), with the notable exception of the Boston area and New York City. Rhotic accents can be found also in most of Canada. SE Britain is apparently the source of non-rhotic. England is non-rhotic, apart from the south-western England and some ever-diminishing northern areas. Scotland and Ireland are rhotic

* "Received" here is used in its older sense to mean "generally accepted".