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Differences Between Phonetics and Phonology

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Differences Between Phonetics and Phonology

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  • April 26, 2012
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UNIVERSITY OF LIVINGSTONIA
LAWS CAMPUS-FACULTY OF EDUCATION
DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGES & LITERATURE STUDIES
FROM:
PENJANI M. K. GONDWE-BED/008/10 {STUDENT}
TO:
MR. J. M. W. ZIMBA {LECTURER}
{SUBJECT}:
ENGLISH
{COURSE TITLE}:
INTRODUCTION TO PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY
{COURSE CODE}:
EENG 2401
{YEAR OF STUDY}:
TWO
{SEMESTER}:
FOUR
{TASK}:
DISCUSS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY
{SUBMISSION DATE}:
29TH MARCH, 2012

According to Firth (1930) phonetics and phonology are the two fields dedicated to the study of human speech sounds and sound structures. The difference between phonetics and phonology, by definition, is that phonetics is the field of language study concerned with the physical properties of sounds, and it has three subfields. Articulatory phonetics explores how the human vocal apparatus produces sounds. Acoustic phonetics studies the sound waves produced by the human vocal apparatus. Auditory phonetics examines how speech sounds are perceived by the human ear. Phonology, on the other hand, is concerned not with the physical properties of sounds, but rather with how they function in a particular language. Therefore, this paper discusses the main difference between phonetics and phonology.

To begin with, the letter k is both aspirated and unaspirated in different languages as it has been noticed in the following example, it illustrates the difference between phonetics and phonology. In the English language, when the sound k, usually spelled c, occurs at the beginning of a word, as in the word cut, it is pronounced with aspiration, that is, a puff of breath (Durkim, 1995). However, when this sound occurs at the end of a word, as in tuck, there is no aspiration. Phonetically, the aspirated k and unaspirated k are different sounds, but in English these different sounds never distinguish one word from another, and English speakers are usually unaware of the phonetic distinction until it is pointed out to them. Thus...