Phonetics and Phonology

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Introduction

English is a widespread language, spoken all over the world. It is the mother tongue of people of different nationalities, such as: British, American, Australian, Canadian and South African. It is the second language (language of instruction, used in administration and education) of several countries in Asia and Africa and it is learned as a foreign language in almost every country.

Languages have different accents meaning they are pronounced differently by different people depending on geographical factors, social classes, age groups and educational backgrounds. When we speak of an accent, however, it is important to differentiate it from a dialect, which we use to refer to a variety of a language that differs not only in pronunciation but in vocabulary, grammar and word-order, too. The term accent refers to pronunciation differences only.

Pronunciation can be studied from two points of view: the phonetic and the phonological.1

Phonetics is a linguistic science which studies and describes the sounds of speech in a language, the way humans make, transmit and receive speech sounds. Phonetics can be divided into articulatory phonetics which studies the way the vocal organs are used to produce speech sounds, there is acoustic phonetics which studies the physical properties of speech sounds, and auditory phonetics which studies the way people perceive speech sounds. In this paper I concentrate mostly on the articulation of speech sounds in the English language, with little mention of their acoustic and auditory characteristics.

Phonology is the study of sound system of a language, the general properties displayed by this system; it studies how sounds function in relation to each other, the way the speech sounds form systems and patters in human languages.

The accent that I concentrate on in this paper; the accent that is one that is most recommended for foreign learners studying British English, is the accent that is familiar as being



References: 1. An introduction to language, fifth edition 2. Roach, P. (1991). English Phonetics and Phonology, A practical course, second edition, Cambridge University Press 3. Crystal, D. (1995). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, Cambridge University Press 4. Yule, G. (2010). The Study of Language, fourth edition, Cambridge University Press 5. Wells, J. C. (1998). Pronunciation Dictionary, ISBN 0 582 05383.8, Longman 6. McMahon, A. (2002). An Introduction to English Phonology, Edinburgh University Press 7. Carr, P. (2013). English Phonetics and Phonology, An Introduction, second edition, Blackwell Publishing LTD books.google.com/books?isbn=1118347471 8. Jeffries, S. (27 March 2009), The G2 Guide to Regional English, The Guardian, section G2, p. 12 http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/mar/27/regional-english-dialects

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