Acoustic Phonetics: A course of basic readings

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Even most highly educated people would need to be warned how to pronounce such toponyms as Puyallup, Sequim, Spokane.

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Or last names such as Vajda. A phonetic alphabet is necessary for dictionaries and guides to help English speakers pronounce their own language. Furthermore, a standard phonetic transcription is essential when describing different English dialects. Not every speaker of English pronounces the same word in the same way. It is obvious that some sort of phonetic transcription is necessary as a guide to pronouncing unfamiliar English words as well as a means of transcribing English dialects.

Although we will discuss un-English sounds found in languages, you will only be responsible for knowing the IPA symbols used in English. These are listed on pp and again on the inside cover of you textbook. Notice that, like the system of scientific names, the IPA also uses Latin as a base, adding extra symbols or diacritic marks for various modifications of the basic sounds. Because each IPA symbol stands for one basic sound regardless of the language being transcribed, it differs from the actual Latin alphabet, which often use the same symbol for different sounds in different languages cf.

The difference between IPA symbols and those used by many American linguists for several sounds can be found on p The symbol used in your book for the sound [r] also differs from the IPA. You may use either symbol for these sounds, but the IPA variants are best. Also, your book mixes dialects in its transcription. Explain [O] and [A]; [A] and [a].

Acoustic Phonetics: A course of basic readings - AbeBooks - D. B. Fry:

You should transcribe English words as you pronounce them in your dialect. Although some of the IPA symbols are not yet accepted by all linguists witness the choice of symbols for several American sounds , and although new sounds will no doubt be discovered that require new symbols, the IPA is still the most versatile writing system ever devised. Therefore, all linguists and linguistics students should learn and use it. Aside from the temporary, logistic problems of getting everyone to use the IPA, there is another more intrinsic limitation inherent to this or any other universal writing system.

At the present time it is true that all sounds which contrast to reflect differences in meaning in any known language are represented in the IPA. It is also true that new symbols can easily be added to accommodate the discoveries of new sounds. The permanent, intrinsic problem with the IPA is that real sounds are infinitely variable. Sound spectrograms show that a single sound varies slightly each time it is pronounced. Thus, the IPA could only capture a part of each individuals unique accent, or way of speaking called an idiolect. The differences here, of course, are not meaningful.

But when comparing sounds across languages, the minute differences become more important. What seems to be the same sound in different languages may actually vary in minute degrees. Thus, the IPA would not be able to transcribe all the phonetic detail of, say, a Russian accent in English. The IPA ignores minute differences between sounds if those differences never contrast with one another in any single language.

The IPA symbols, therefore, are generalizations. The sounds of speech, however, are more complicated. Thus, when comparing nearly identical sounds from language to language one must be aware that the IPA is only accurate up to a point. To get a complete picture of native pronunciation, one must fill in the tiny phonetic details left out by the IPA.


There is no real solution for this problem. One could invent a slightly different symbol for all the different examples of, say, aspirated "t" or glottal "t," but inventing different symbols for extremely similar sounds in each language would defeat the very purpose for which the IPA was invented. The ultimate uniqueness of sounds in each individual language renders the IPA an imperfect and incomplete alphabet, despite the fact that it is the closest thing to an ideal alphabet we will probably ever have.

This inevitable problem derives from the very nature of speaking and writing. Sound can only be depicted with discrete graphic units to a certain degree of precision. The only thing more complete and accurate would be the use of sound spectrograms instead of symbols to denote actual sounds. Because similar sounds are in reality minutely variable from language to language, the IPA is not a truly perfect alphabet.

Because of the nature of language, no alphabet can truly be perfect--the more so if applied across languages.

Beginners Books

With a finite set of symbols an alphabet can only approximate the infinite number of actual sound variations in speech. Once again, a universal linguistic descriptive device cannot claim to be as accurate and universal as Mendeleyev's Periodic Table of Elements, where a finite number of units the elements actually can be used to describe an almost infinite number of combinations.

This discrepancy, once again, illustrates the unique nature of human language. Even if linguists devised a complete set of transcriptions symbols--perhaps based on sound spectograph readings rather than on the Latin alphabet--the phonetician's task would still be incomplete. This is because languages change over time, and new symbols would have to be devised as sounds changed. Each chapter features summary tables and illustrations, a list of terms, and exercises for student practice. All illustrations are adapted or reprinted from Wikipedia and all terms can be found in a glossary in the back of the book.

ISBN 13: 9780521107457

The majority of the exercise sets ask the reader to pronounce challenging real or fake words to develop intuition and sensitivity. Some questions also ask the reader to restate information found in the chapter, draw sagittal diagrams, or write the names of speech sounds. Supplementary review questions for Chapters are provided in Appendix C. The simple, modular presentation of this book also makes it suitable as a reference or as supplemental reading for an Introductory Phonetics or Field Methods course. In addition, it would also be useful for individual study since it is presented straightforwardly and works to actively engage the reader.

The charts and tables offered in this book, those from Wikipedia and those created by the authors, are generally clearly printed and helpful, and the book takes care to offer sagittal diagrams in every section. Students using this book as a reference in drawing their own sagittal diagrams will find clear instructions and plenty of illustrative examples.

About This Item

Chapters often contain summary tables, which are filled with useful information for reference, but often require some deciphering and could use some shading or other formatting to manage the amount of material condensed within. Chapter topics get gradually more advanced, but are loosely ordered, offering the instructor or individual reader the flexibility to select relevant topics and to use the text as a reference when eliciting data on specific types of phonetic phenomena from a language assistant.

Kenneth Pike and Dr. Peter Ladefoged, to whom the book is dedicated—and their experience in the field, offering anecdotes and tips throughout. Each chapter offers general information on its topic as well as clarification of confusable concepts and useful conventions, but the authors also speak directly to the reader, asking for active reading, practice, and introspection.

Study-Unit Description

Most such engagement is designed to make English-speaking readers more conscious of their own biases and more careful in their own productions of non-native sounds. Furthermore, previously discussed sounds are incorporated into later pronunciation exercises, which increase in complexity and specificity throughout the book. Exercises are tailored to accustom the English-speaking reader to unfamiliar sounds such as labial-velars in Chapter 20 and unfamiliar phonotactics such as initial velar nasals in Chapter These pronunciation activities are potentially useful to students trying consciously to overcome their own struggles to produce unfamiliar sounds, but with no accompanying audio tracks, it would be difficult for the reader to check whether an attempted production is successful.

A course taught by a trained phonetician could get around this shortcoming with instructor-produced utterances in class or in audio recordings, but the reader engaged in individual study will have a difficult time verifying pronunciations, particularly in data sets exemplifying typologically odd distinctions such as the 3-way laryngeal contrast in Korean voiceless stops Chapter In some cases, chapters work around the lack of an audio companion by grounding the reader in English sounds.

Mike Davenport and S. Introducing Phonetics and Phonology. Peter Ladefoged and Kieth Johnson.

A Course in Phonetics. Stamford: Cengage Learning. Home Courses Phonetics. Mohammed Modhaffer Linguistics. Reading: Aims and scope of phonetics 30 minutes Reading: Branches of Phonetics 30 minutes Reading: Speech organs 60 minutes Reading: Processes of speech production 30 minutes Reading: Phonation 45 minutes Reading: Consonant classes 30 minutes.

This is what you are going to learn in this unit.

Reading: What is a vowel sound? About this course This course introduces basic concepts in Phonetics, articulation, articulators, types of sounds vowels and consonants , segmentals and suprasegmental sounds, International Phonetic Alphabet and many more. Mohammed Modhaffer Assistant Professor. FAQs What is this course about? What is this course about? What background should I have to join this course? What are the requirements to get a certificate of completion? What is the minimum mark for passing this course? In order to obtain a certificate, you should score at least 50 out of Can I retake this course?

Yes you can retake as many time as you can until you get a certificate.