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Phonetics: The Sounds of Language

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1 Phonetics: The Sounds of Language

2 Three ways of approaching phonetics:
Articulatory Phonetics: Physiological mechanism of speech production. Acoustic Phonetics: The physical properties of sound waves. Auditory Phonetics: Perception of the sounds by the brain.

3 Phonetics of languages
You can make a lot of noises with your mouth, but only some of these are used in speech. Almost every language uses a different set of these possible sounds. We will mostly focus on English sounds for now.

4 Tomato or Tomahto?

5 Differences in pronunciation
Tomato/Tomahto Do you say pin/pen in the same way? Do you say push or poosh? How do you say ‘car’? How about ‘dawn’?

6 How do you best symbolize the different pronunciation?
There are lots of conventions used. (see p. 41) How well does the English alphabet represent sounds?

7 5 problems with English spelling
The same sound can be represented by different letters: sea, see, scene, receive, thief, ameoba, machine One letter can represent several different sounds: fish, light; chart, character Two sounds may be represented by a single letter: I; use; judge Two letters may be used to indicate a single sound: ship, three, leisure, enough Some letters represent no sound at all: base, knight, psychology

8 International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
The IPA is consistent, unambiguous, and there is always a one-to-one sound to symbol correspondence. IPA has been developing since 1888 These symbols can be used to transcribe the sounds of any language. The system represents each sound of human speech with a single symbol. The symbol is enclosed in brackets [ ].

9 IPA, continued IPA website
To use a symbol to describe what someone says, we put the symbols in square brackets “[ ]”. You will need to be able to: identify the number of sounds in a word transcribe English words using IPA translate from IPA into English spelling See page 43 for examples of symbols

10 Articulation of sound Articulation is the motion or positioning of some part of the vocal tract with respect to some other vocal tract surface in the production of a speech sound English uses a pulmonic (=lung) egressive (=blowing out) air stream mechanism. Vowels are usually the nucleus of the syllable and consonants are usually the onset (start) or coda (end) of the syllable.


12 To describe articulation for consonants:
Is the sound voiced or voiceless? (action of the vocal folds) Where is the airstream constricted? (place of articulation) How is the airstream constricted? (manner of articulation) Descriptions are in the order of Voicing+Place+Manner




16 Places of Articulation
Bilabial  [p], [b], [m] Labiodental  [f], [v] Interdental  [], [] Alveolar  [t], [d], [s], [z], [], [r], [n]

17 Places of Articulation
Palatal  [], [], [t], [d], [] Velar  [k], [g], [N], [w] Glottal  [h]

18 Places of Articulation


20 Manner of Articulation
Plosive (Stop): Complete and momentary closure of airflow through the vocal tract. [p], [t], [k], [b], [d], [g] Nasal: The airflow passes through the nasal passages. [n], [m], [] Fricative: Continuous airflow through the mouth. [f], [], [s], [], [h], [v], [], [z], []

21 Manner of Articulation
Affricate: The stop articulation is released and the tongue moves rapidly away. [t], [d] Liquid: Air escapes through the mouth along the lowered sides of the tongue. [], [r] Glide: semi-consonants. [ j ], [w]

22 The consonant chart See page 53 for the consonant chart

23 Some practice Voiced bilabial stop Voiceless labiodental fricative
Voiced bilabial nasal Voiceless velar stop Describe [n] Describe [w] Describe [g] Describe [m]

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