What is Phonetics?
Decoding the speech stream
Principles of phonetic
Readings: 3.1-3.2
The scientific study of human speech
How they are produced (articulatory)
How they are perceived (auditory)
Their physical properties (acoustic)
X-ray movie
“Why did Ken set the soggy net
…on top of his deck?”
Decoding the speech stream
The speech signal is a continuous stream
of sound
No ‘spaces’ between words in speech
Decoding the speech stream
How many sounds in the following words?
‘leaf’ ‘feel’
Decoding the speech stream
‘leaf’ [lif] vs. ‘feel’ [fil] forwards
‘feel’ [fil] vs. ‘leaf’ [lif] backwards
‘lull’ vs. ‘llul’ backwards
Decoding the speech stream
Sounds in a string are continuous, yet we
perceive them as discrete, separate
Goals for Phonetics section:
Be able to identify human speech sounds
Learn symbols used for transcribing
speech sounds
Describe and classify sounds according
to articulatory properties
Phonetic transcription
The most widely used tool in phonetics is
International Phonetic Alphabet
A standardized set of symbols for
transcribing all possible human speech
One-to-one correspondence between
symbol and sound
We will use “symbol” = IPA
“letter” = spelling (orthography)
Interactive IPA chart can be found at:
Why use the IPA?
Some languages have no writing system
There is no one-to-one correspondence
between letters and sounds:
Same letter — different sounds
dad, father, about, many
Same sound — different letters
believe, people, amoeba, tree
Several letters used for one sound
shoot, nation, chord, chip
Why use the IPA?
One letter used for several sounds
box, use
[baks] [juz]
Some letters have no sound
gnaw, sword, debt, damn, bomb
IPA preview
Some symbols will look and sound familiar:
[b n w]
Some will look familiar, but sound strange:
[x q]
Some will sound familiar, but look strange:
[S T N]
Some will look and sound unfamiliar:
[/ µ ß]
IPA consonants
spit, tip, appear
[b] ball, globe, amble
-Pay attention to how you
SAY it; not how it’s spelled.
stack, pat, stuffed, pterodactyl
-check your pronunciation
dip, card, drop, loved
against a native speaker’s.
skit, joker, attic, exceed
guard, bag, longer
uh-oh (the “catch” in your throat preceding both syllables), mitten
foot, laugh, philosophy, coffee
vest, dove, gravel
through, bath, thistle, ether, teeth
the, their, mother, either, teethe
soap, psychology, nice
zip, roads, kisses, xerox, design
shy, mission, nation, glacial, sure
measure, vision, azure, casualty
who, hat, reheat
[tS] choke, match, church
[dZ] judge, george, jelly, region, residual
[m] moose, lamb, smack
nap, snow, can, know
lung, thing, think, finger, singer, ankle
leaf, feel, mild, sleep
[r]*reef, fear, prune, carry
[R] writer, rider, latter, ladder, pretty
[w]with, swim, mowing, queen, twin
you, beautiful, feud, use, yell
* In the IPA, [r] is actually a trill like in Spanish
“perro”. The IPA symbol for American ‘r’ is [®],
but you can use either symbol since the text
uses [r] for American ‘r’.
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