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phonetics

phonetics (fōnĕt´Ĭks, fə–), study of the sounds of languages from three basic points of view. Phonetics studies speech sounds according to their production in the vocal organs (articulatory phonetics), their physical properties (acoustic phonetics), or their effect on the ear (auditory phonetics). All phonetics are interrelated, since human articulatory and auditory mechanisms correspond to each other and are mediated by wavelength, pitch, and the other physical properties of sound. Systems of phonetic writing are aimed at the accurate transcription of any sequence of speech sounds; the best known is the International Phonetic Alphabet. Narrow transcription specifies as many features of a sound as can be symbolized, while broad transcription specifies only as many features of a sound as are necessary to distinguish it from other sounds. Each language uses a limited number of the humanly possible sounds grouped into phonemes, and the hearer-speaker is trained from childhood to classify them into these groups, rejecting as nonsignificant all sorts of features actually phonetically present. So the English speaker does not notice that he always makes a puff of air when he pronounces the p of pin and never makes the puff with the p of spin; for him they are the same sound. Yet in some languages (as in Sanskrit) just the presence or absence of that puff in both words would indicate a phonemic difference, and two words might differ in meaning because of the puff. In English the two sounds are considered variations of a single sound, the phoneme p, and as such are allophones. In the other situation, aspirated p (p with a puff) and unaspirated p are not allophones but separate phonemes. Phonemes include all significant differences of sound, including features of voicing, place and manner of articulation, accent, and secondary features of nasalization, glottalization, labialization, and the like. Whereas phonetics refers to the study of the production, perception, and physical nature of speech sounds, phonology refers to the study of how such sounds are combined in particular languages and of how they are used to convey meaning. Systematic sound change through time is treated by comparative and historical linguistics. See grammar; language; writing.

See K. Pike, Phonemics (1947); N. Chomsky and M. Halle, The Sound Pattern of English (1968); P. Ladefoged, A Course in Linguistic Phonetics (1982); G. Pullum and W. Ladusaw, Phonetic Symbol Guide (1986); I. R. MacKay, Phonetics (2d ed. 1987).

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PHONETICS

PHONETICS. The science or study of the sounds of SPEECH. There are three kinds: (1) Articulatory phonetics, the oldest branch of the subject, which investigates the ways in which sounds are made. Here, the phonetician is trained to recognize, produce, and analyse speech sounds. During the 20c, phonetics has developed as a laboratory subject, in which instruments are used to study the production of speech in the vocal tract: for example, by monitoring the positions and movement of organs, or breath flow and air pressure. Electropalatography uses an artificial PALATE to record, display, and store data on articulatory movements inside the mouth. (2) Acoustic phonetics is concerned with the study of speech as heard: that is, its waveform. For the study of vowels and consonants, the waveform is presented as a spectrogram, on which sounds appear as recognizable visual patterns. For the study of INTONATION, the PITCH, or more precisely the fundamental frequency, usually called Fo (‘ef nought’), is extracted and displayed. A speech workstation is a machine, usually based on a computer, that analyses and displays speech, and allows the user to replay, edit, or annotate the waveform. (3) Experimental phonetics usually involves the manipulation of the waveform and makes psycho-acoustic tests to identify which aspects of sounds are essential for understanding, and for the recognition of linguistic categories. Major applications of phonetics have been made in such areas as LANGUAGE TEACHING, speech therapy, and automatic speech synthesis and recognition. See ACCENT, CONSONANT, INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET, INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ASSOCIATION, PHONEME, PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION, PHONOLOGY, PRONUNCIATION, RHYTHM, STRESS, SWEET, VOICE, VOWEL.

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phonetic

pho·net·ic / fəˈnetik/ • adj. Phonet. of or relating to speech sounds: detailed phonetic information. ∎  (of a system of writing) having a direct correspondence between symbols and sounds: a phonetic alphabet. ∎  of or relating to phonetics: phonetic training. DERIVATIVES: pho·net·i·cal·ly / -ik(ə)lē/ adv. pho·net·i·cism / -ˈnetiˌsizəm/ n. pho·net·i·cist / -ˈnetisist/ n.

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phonetics

phonetics Study of the sounds of speech, divided into three main branches: articulatory phonetics (how the speech organs produce sounds); acoustic phonetics (the physical nature of sounds, mainly using instrumental techniques); and auditory phonetics (how sounds are received by the ear and processed). Linguists have devised notation systems to allow the full range of possible human speech sounds to be represented. See also linguistics

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PHONETIC

PHONETIC.
1. Relating to speech sounds and their production: phonetic elements, phonetic change.

2. Corresponding to or representing pronunciation in written or printed form: phonetic as opposed to ideographic writing, a phonetic alphabet, a phonetic transcription, phonetic spelling.

3. Relating to PHONETICS; phonetic training. See PHONIC.

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phonetic

phonetic pert. to or representing vocal sounds; (sb. pl.) science of speech-sounds. XIX. — modL. phōnēticus — Gr. phōnētikós, f. phōnētós, ppl. formation on phōneîn speak, f. phōnḗ voice, rel. to L. fāma FAME; see -IC.
Hence phonetician XIX.

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phonetics

pho·net·ics / fəˈnetiks/ • pl. n. [treated as sing.] the study and classification of speech sounds. DERIVATIVES: pho·ne·ti·cian / ˌfōnəˈtishən/ n.

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phonetic

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