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Basics of Phonetics and Phonology Study Notes

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Phonetics - The Basics
Phonetics→ The study of spoken sounds in the language
- We will learn phonetics from the perspective of carefully listening and perceiving speech sounds,
identifying and transcribing what is spoken
- We will avoid “prescriptivism” or judgments of what is “right” or “wrong” in speaking
- We will remain “descriptive” and observe differences in how the sounds of English are produced
by different speakers
Phonetics and Phonology
- Phonetics is the scientific study of the sounds of human language - their production, and learning
to perceive, identify and transcribe them
- Phonology is the study of the sound rules in language - what sounds can be combined and how
they influence each other.
- For example:
- Inconsistent, inadequate, impossible (note /m/ in impossible shows assimilation
because of the bilabial /p/ phoneme)
How is Speech Produced?
- Source filter model of speech production describes how individual consonants and vowels are
produced
- Speech begins with a breathy exhalation from the lungs. Air passing through the vocal folds
causes a buzzing sound (the source), which is modified by the articulators (filter) to produce the
phonemes in speech.
Differences
- The sources and filter of women, men, and children are different
- Men tend to have lower pitched voices and different filter shapes than women
- Children tend to have higher pitch voices and different filter shapes than both women and men
- This is all represented in the number of cycles or vibration per second that take place for men,
women, and children
Consonants and Vowels
- In terms of speech production, consonants and vowels are combined into syllables, which make
up the words we use in speech
- Consonants are categorized into voiced and silent, and by place and manner or production
- /p/ and /b/ are produced at the lips by stopping the air stream
- only voice differentiates them
- /s/ and /z/ are produced through friction lingual/alveolar
- only voice differentiates them
- Vowels are produced by moving the tongue and shaping the oral cavity
- The main articulators for vowels are the tongue, the lips, and the jaw
- The vowel quadrilateral is used to represent these changes
- Note that vowels constitute the nucleus in most syllables

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Perceiving the Sounds of Speech
- The sounds of speech are phonemes and we will refer to them as segments
- We must differentiate phonemic segments from the letters
- For example, the letter M corresponds to the phonemic segment /m/
- Whereas the letters SH correspond to the phonemic segment /ʃ/
Phonemes and letters
- There is also a mismatch between the number of letters (26 in the Roman Alphabet) to represent
43+ phonemes and allophones of English
- Written English does not maintain a 1:1 correspondence between graphemes (letters) and
phonemes
- Spellings/spoken productions are learned early in our schooling
- cauɡht--> /kɔt/
- thigh-->/θai/
Phonemes and Spelling
- Written and spoken language can be quite different in English
- Homophone words are spelled differently but are pronounced the same way:
- See and sea, meat and meet
- Important to keep this in mind when doing phonetic transcription
Supras/egmentals
- Consonants and vowels make up syllables that make up words or utterances
- Superimposed on the syllable sare features that include variations in stress and pitch
- We call these variations in stress and pitch “suprasegmentals”
- These are important to denote emphasis and even changes in the meaning of utterances we
produce
- Variations in stress in English can be used to differentiate between nouns and verbs and have a
grammatical function
- For example: “an insult” and “to insult
- this is a record” and “you should record
- Note that in nouns stress is in the first syllable and in verbs stress is in the last syllable
Suprasegmentals (continued)

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Phonetics - The Basics Phonetics→ The study of spoken sounds in the language - We will learn phonetics from the perspective of carefully listening and perceiving speech sounds, identifying and transcribing what is spoken - We will avoid “prescriptivism” or judgments of what is “right” or “wrong” in speaking - We will remain “descriptive” and observe differences in how the sounds of English are produced by different speakers Phonetics and Phonology - Phonetics is the scientific study of the sounds of human language - their production, and learning to perceive, identify and transcribe them - Phonology is the study of the sound rules in language - what sounds can be combined and how they influence each other. - For example: - Inconsistent, inadequate, impossible (note /m/ in impossible shows assimilation because of the bilabial /p/ phoneme) How is Speech Produced? - Source filter model of speech production describes how individual consonants and vowels are produced - Speech begins with a breathy exhalation from the lungs. Air passing through the vocal folds causes a buzzing sound (the source), which is modified by the articulators (filter) to produce the phonemes in speech. Differences - The sources and filter of women, men, and children are different - Men tend to have lower pitched voices and different filter shapes than women - Children tend to have higher pitch voices and different filter shapes than both women and men - This is all represented in the numb ...
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