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2 - Phonetics and phonology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

Zsuzsanna Fagyal
Affiliation:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Douglas Kibbee
Affiliation:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Frederic Jenkins
Affiliation:
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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Summary

Preliminaries

Sounds, spelling, and the IPA

Phonetics and phonology are related areas of the study of the sounds of languages. The phonetics concentrates on the physical properties of sounds, i.e. how speech sounds are articulated (‘articulatory phonetics’), how these articulations are manifested in the acoustic waveform (‘acoustic phonetics’), and how acoustic information is perceived and processed to form mental representations of sounds in the brain (‘auditory phonetics’, psycholinguistics). The phonetic sciences are also involved in documenting the sounds of the world's languages (e.g. Grimes and Pittaran 1996, Maddieson 1984), collecting information about endangered languages (e.g. Gordon 2003), lending expertise to forensic investigators on speaker identity and language identification (‘forensic phonetics’, e.g. Byrne and Faulkes 2004), and collaborating with paleo-anthropologists on issues such as the anatomical capacity of the Neanderthal to produce intelligible speech (e.g. Lieberman and Crelin 1971, Boë et al. 2002).

Systematic studies of the sound systems of languages go back to the earliest studies of Sanskrit in ancient India. In Western scientific thought, largely under the influence of structuralism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the study of the physical properties of speech sounds (‘phonetics’) became separated from – although remained associated with – studies of the function of speech sounds within and across languages. This latter approach received the name of ‘phonology’ from the association of the Greek words phone ‘voice/sound’ and logos ‘speech/voice’.

Type
Chapter
Information
French
A Linguistic Introduction
, pp. 17 - 78
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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