What Are Phonetics and Phonology?

Topics: Phonetics, International Phonetic Alphabet, Language Pages: 7 (2172 words) Published: June 25, 2005

Phonetics is the branch of linguistics that deals with the production of speech by humans and. Phonetics looks at the physical manifestation of language in sound waves: how thers sounds are articulated and perceived. It is the science of speech sounds and the symbols by thich they are shown in writing and printing. This science is based on a study of all the parts of the body concerned in making speech. It includes the positions of the parts of the body necessary for producing spoken workds, and the effect of air from the lungs as it passes through the larynx, pharynx, vocal cords, nasal passages and mouth.

Phonetics sounds (phones) are actual speech sounds classified by the manner and place of articulation (that is by the way in which air is forced through the mouth and shaped by the tongue, teeth, palate, lips and in some languages by the uvula. The [r] of run and far are phonetically different because they are articulated differently. A phonetic system must indicate whether a vowel sound is long or short, runded, diphthongal (that is consiss of two sounds) or retroflex (made with the tip of the tongue curled up toward the palate). In addition the movement from one position to another, or glides, must be represented must be reprensented, stress pattern and pauses must e more exactly indicated, and pitch or intonation may also be noted.

Phonology on the other hand is central representation of sounds as part of a symbolic cognitive system; how abstract sound categories are manipulated in the processing of language. Therefore one can rightly say that phonetics is part of phonology because the former is intricately linked to the latter which is wider and broader in scope. phonology studies the patterns of sounds and their different positions in words

Phonetics and phonology are concerned with the forms of speech sounds. Sound can differentiate the meanings of the words. Phonetics studies actual sound by analyzing and modeling the speech signal. For example, the air pressure wave form can be recorded into a computer so that it can be visualized and analyzed in detail. Phonology deals with more abstract description of speech sound and tries to describe the regularities of sound patterns.

Phonetics and phonology have many possible applications both in theory and practice. Speech and speakers recognition and speakers synthesis is one of the applications. A speech does not only express the meanings of the words being used but can tell us the gender and even the approximate age of the speaker. It can also tell us what geographical area the speaker is from, the social class the person belongs to, whether the person is sick, tired, cold, happy or sad. In courts it is even used to help decide whether a suspect is telling the truth. This is because speech behaviour is one of the indications of speaker properties which are many and varied. For example a hoarse voice can indicate a night of heavy drinking, smoking a lot or just a natural voice quality. Foreign Language teaching and language teaching for hearing impaired persons, support of speech therapist, lexicography and forensic science are vital areas of application for phonetic and phonological knowledge.

Phonetics and phonology have links to many different disciplines. Linguistics (language), physics and electrical engineering, biology and psychology bring information together, which is important to obtain a broad and comprehensive view of speech.

Computational Linguistics is complementary to phonetics and phonology in that it focuses on the modeling of the higher levels of speech processing (morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) which are needed to describe the entire speech production and perception chain.

Since speech analysis procedures and many applications involve computers, computer science supplies important tools. Pedagogy is important in second language teaching for hearing-impaired persons. In other...

References: Compton 's Encyclopedia No. 19: 1981 by F.E Compton Company, Division of Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc

Encyclopedia Britannica Vol (IV) (1978)

London S. Dictionaries – The Art and Craft of Lexicography (1996), Cambridge, Melbourne
World Book Encyclopedia, (1990) World Book Incorporation, Chicago
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