Phonetics and how it Describes Sounds

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Phoneticsand how it Describes Sounds

TermPaper

December8th,2015

418Words

Inthe English language, speakers differentiate one word from anotherthrough the use of different sounds1.For example, English speakers use [s] and [z] to make a distinctionbetween the words sipand zip.In fact, most of the words in English contrast from each other so asto make a clear distinction of one word from another. Thus, in anidentical pair of words, the sounds sip and zip are distinguishedfrom each other by the consonants [s] and [z]. This paper exploresthe manner in which speech sounds are produced – phonology – andthe basic component of phonological analysis: phoneme.

SectionA

Phonologycan be perceived as the study of the manner in which the speechsounds in a particular language are utilised in that language to makea distinction between meaningful units – for example, words –from each other, and how sounds are arranged in a language. Thus, thestudy of phonology also takes the meaning of words into account, asopposed to phonetics which doesn’t2.

Aspointed out above, speakers distinguish different sounds through thewords that they use, for example, sip and zip. Pairs of words likethe before-mentioned are called minimal pairs, and can be used todemonstrate the impact of words on the sound that is produced. Thus,phonemes can be defined as the sound units that separate words fromeach other. Phonemes are usually enclosed in / / to make adistinction between them and sounds [s] and [z] or ordinary letters˂s˃ and ˂z˃.

SectionB

Agood way to perceive a phoneme is by thinking about it in terms of agroup of phonetically identical sounds, which can be considered asmembers belonging to a similar sound category. Thus, differentphonemes are representative of different sound categories, which, inturn, signals a difference in meaning3.For example, the difference between /t/ in eat, tea,two,eighth,and writer.From the before-mentioned illustration, a phoneme can have more thanone realisation. The different realisations, as illustrated in theabove example, are called allophones of the specific phoneme: /t/.Therefore, an allophone is perceivable as the variant of a phoneme.For example, thewords car and keys belong to the phoneme /k/. Thus phonetically theyare [kha:chi:z](h =aspiration and c =a palatal stop while). khand chare allophones ofthe /k/ phoneme.

Phonologicalrules determine how phonemes, as well as allophones, come into beingwithin a particular environment. In phonology, an environment isperceived as the neighbouring phonemes. Formally, a phonological rulecan be written as X – ˃ Y / W – Z. From the before-mentionedillustration, X, Y, W, and Z, are variables, which can be allophones,phonemes, or features4.

Conclusion

Asdiscussed above, Englishlanguage speakers differentiate one word from another through the useof different sounds. Phonology studies the manner in which the speechsounds in a particular language are utilised in that language to makea distinction between meaningful units – for example, words –from each other, and how sounds are arranged in a language5.Phonemes are a basic unit of phonology that can be defined as thesound units that separate words from each other while allophones areperceivable as the variants of phonemes.

References

ColoradoState University, `Phonetics And Phonology` [2012] Colorado StateUniversity &lthttp://wac.colostate.edu/books/sound/chapter4.pdf&gtaccessed 8 December 2015

Slideshare,`Ling101 Phonological Rules` (Slideshare.net,2011)&lthttp://www.slideshare.net/minhanviet/ling101-phonological-rules&gtaccessed 8 December 2015

1 Colorado State University, `Phonetics And Phonology` [2012] Colorado State University &lthttp://wac.colostate.edu/books/sound/chapter4.pdf&gt accessed 8 December 2015.

2 Colorado State University, `Phonetics And Phonology` [2012] Colorado State University &lthttp://wac.colostate.edu/books/sound/chapter4.pdf&gt accessed 8 December 2015.

3 Colorado State University, `Phonetics And Phonology` [2012] Colorado State University &lthttp://wac.colostate.edu/books/sound/chapter4.pdf&gt accessed 8 December 2015.

4 Slideshare, `Ling101 Phonological Rules` (Slideshare.net, 2011) &lthttp://www.slideshare.net/minhanviet/ling101-phonological-rules&gt accessed 8 December 2015.

5 Colorado State University, `Phonetics And Phonology` [2012] Colorado State University &lthttp://wac.colostate.edu/books/sound/chapter4.pdf&gt accessed 8 December 2015.

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