    What is Phonetics?

Decoding the speech stream Principles of phonetic transcription IPA Readings: 3.1-3.2


 The scientific study of human speech sounds    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 ?” http://hctv.humnet.ucla.edu/departments/linguistics/VowelsandConsonants/course/chapter1.1/chapter1.1.htm

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 sounds

Goals for Phonetics section:

 Be able to


human speech sounds  Learn symbols used for


speech sounds 


and classify sounds according to articulatory properties

Phonetic transcription

 The most widely used tool in phonetics is


International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

 A standardized set of symbols for transcribing all possible human speech sounds  One-to-one correspondence between symbol and sound We will use “symbol” = IPA “letter” = spelling (orthography)

Interactive IPA chart can be found at: http://hctv.humnet.ucla.edu/departments/linguistics/VowelsandConsonants/course/c hapter1/chapter1.html

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 Some letters have no sound gnaw, sword, debt, damn, bomb [ba ks ] [ ju z] [ nç ]...[ba m ]

IPA preview

    Some symbols will look and sound familiar: [b n w] Some will


familiar, but


strange: [x q] Some will sound familiar, but look strange: [S T N] Some will look and sound unfamiliar: [ / µ ß]

IPA consonants

[p] spit, tip, appear [b] ball, globe, amble [t] stack, pat, stuffed, pterodactyl [d] [k] [g] [/] [f] dip, card, drop, loved skit, joker, attic, exceed guard, bag, longer foot, laugh, philosophy, coffee _x0008_ Hints: -Pay attention to how you SAY it; not how it’s spelled.

-check your pronunciation against a native speaker’s.

uh-oh (the “catch” in your throat preceding both syllables), mitten [v] [T] [D] vest, dove, gravel through, bath, thistle, ether, teeth the, their, mother, either, teethe

[s] [z] [S] [Z] [h] [tS] who, hat, reheat choke, match, church [dZ] judge, george, jelly, region, residual [m] moose, lamb, smack [n] [N] soap, psychology, nice zip, roads, kisses, xerox, design shy, mission, nation, glacial, sure measure, vision, azure, casualty nap, snow, can, know lung, thing, think, finger, singer, ankle

[l] [j] 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’.