Etymological Guide to Phonetics Vocabulary

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Etymological Guide to Phonetics Vocabulary

Geoffrey Stewart Morrison

1

As with any technical field, learning phonetics involves learning a new set of vocabulary. I don’t give my students vocabulary tests per se, but I do expect them to be able to understand and use phonetic vocabulary. Most people learn vocabulary more easily if they have some sort of memory hook that relates the new vocabulary to something they already know. Another technique is to make up a story that somehow incorporates the new vocabulary item. If a vocabulary item is morphologically complex, and the meaning of some if its morphemes are already known, then this can cut down on the amount of new information to be learnt. My aim here is to provide students of phonetics with aids to learning vocabulary.

Most phonetic vocabulary items used in English have Greek or Latin origin, and so the memory hooks I present will be the Greek and Latin etymologies of the morphemes making up the English words. Some vocabulary items which appear to be arbitrary strings of letters on the page, are self explanatory once one knows the meaning of each of their morphemes.

This is not a book about etymology, and only a minimal amount of etymological research was conducted during the writing process (even if the etymology is wrong, it may still help a student to learn the vocabulary). Neither is this a dictionary; the reader is presumed to have obtained the meaning of the words from introductory textbooks or classroom presentations. In common with a dictionary, however, the words are presented in alphabetical order and their pronunciations and parts of speech are provided.

This is still a work in progress, should the reader find any errors or have suggestions for additions, they are encouraged to contact the author at gsm2@ualberta.ca

last update: 25 April 2006

© 2004/2005/2006 Geoffrey Stewart Morrison

2

acoustic

/ækustk/

adjective

Greek

κούω

akouoo

to hear.

ala

/ælæ/

noun

Latin

Ā LA

wing.

allo–

/ælo/

prefix

Greek

λλος

allos

other.

alveolar

/ælviol/

or

/ælvilr/

adjective

alveolar ridge,

alveolus

/ælvils/

noun, plural

alveoli

/ælvilai/

Latin diminutive of

ALVEUS

a hole or hollow. In phonetics the term has two references: In the alveolar ridge the alveoli are the sockets that the teeth fit into. In the lungs the alveoli are the sacs at the end of the final branches of the lungs.

apical

/æpkl/

adjective, combinatory form

apico

–, noun

apex

Latin

APEX

point.

approximant

/prksmnt/

noun

Latin

PROXIMUS

nearest.

articulatory

/rtkjultri/

adjective

Latin

ARTICUL Ā RE

to divide into joints.

ARTUS

joint.

aspirated

/aspretd/

adjective

Latin

SPIR Ā RE

to breathe.

arytenoid

/ærtnid/

adjective

arytenoid cartilages

but plural

arytenoids

can be used as a noun, combinatory form

ary–

Greek

ρύταινα

arutaina

a small pail or large label for drawing water.

ρύω to draw water. Plus the suffix

–oid

. The arytenoid cartilages are

ladle shaped

, if you have a detailed enough picture you should be able to figure out which part is the handle and which part the bowl.

auditory

/dtri/

adjective

Latin

AUDIRE

to hear. See

auris

.

auricle

/aurkl/

or

/rkl/

noun

Latin

AURICULA

external ear. See

auris

.

auris

/aurs/

or

/rs/

noun

Latin

AURIS

ear.

basilar

/bæslr/

adjective

Latin

BASILARIS

from

BASIS

base.

3

bronchia

/brki/

noun, plural

bronchi

,

bronchial

adjective

Greek βρόχος

brochthos

throat.

buccinator

/bknetr/

noun

Latin

BUCCINA

trumpet.

cepstrum

/kpstum/

noun,

cepstral

/kpstl/

adjective

An anagram of spectrum / spectral.

cochlea

/kklæ/

noun,

cochlear

adjective

Greek κοχλίας

kochlias

a snail with a spiral shell.

corniculate

/krnkjulet/

adjective

corniculate cartilages

From Latin

CORNICUL Ā TUS

horned.

CORNICULUM

little horn. The corniculate cartilages are little horns on the arytenoid cartilages. See

cornu

.

cornu

/krnu/

noun, plural

cornua

Latin

CORNUU

horn. The word is related to the English words corner and cornet.

Corti

/krti/

proper name,

organ of Corti

19 th century Italian anatomist Alfonso

Corti

.

cricoid

/kraikid/

adjective

cricoid cartilage

, combinatory from

crico–

Greek κρίκος

krikos

a ring, plus the suffix

–oid

. The cricoid cartilage is shaped like a ring.

dental

/dntl/

adjective,

dento

– combinatorial form

Latin

DENT Ā LIS

tooth. Related to the English word dentist.

depressor

/dprsr/

noun

Latin

D Ē PREIMERE

, prefix

DE

– down, plus

PREMERE

to press. Related to English word depression.

diaphragm

/daifræm/

noun

Greek διάφραγμος

diafragma

a barrier / the midriff. διά – prefix meaning through, between, across

Plus φράγμα fence.

digastricus

/daiæstkus/

noun

Latin prefix

DI

– two, plus

GASTRICUS

from Greek γαστήρ

gasteer

belly.

diphthong

/dp/

noun

Greek δίς

dis

twice, double. Plus φθόγγος

fthongos

a sound.

dorsal

/drsl/

adjective, combinatory form

dorso

–, noun

dorsum

Latin

DORSUM

back. Dolphins have a dorsal fin.

4

egressive

/irsiv/

adjective

Latin

Ē GRESSUS

, prefix

EX

– meaning out of, plus

GRADI

to step or go.

ejective

/idktv/

noun or adjective

Latin

EJICERE

, prefix

EX

– out of, plus

JACERE

to throw.

epi–

/pi/

prefix

Greek preposition

¦

πι

epi

on, above, or over. The epicentre is the point on the earth’s surface directly above the focus of an earthquake. The epiglottis is above the glottis.

etymology

/tmldi/

noun,

etymological

adjective

Greek

¦

τυμος

etumos

true, real. Plus λόγος

logos

word and thought

Eustachian

/justen/

adjective

Eustachian tube

16 th century Italian anatomist Bartolomeo

Eustachio

.

falsetto

/flsto/

noun or adjective

Italian

falso

false.

formant

/frmænt/

noun

Latin

FORMA

shape.

fricative

/frktv/

noun

Latin

FRIC Ā RE

to rub. Related to the English word friction.

genio

/nio/

or

/dnio/

combinatory form

Greek γένιον

geneion

chin. γένυς

genus

the underjaw.

glottis

/lts/

noun, adjectival form

glottal

Greek γλωττίς

gloottis

is the mouthpiece of a smoking pipe. The glottis should look something like the opening in a pipe’s mouthpiece. See also

–glossus

.

glossus

/lsus/

noun

Greek γλ

ä

σσα

gloosa

tongue.

helicotrema

/hlikotrimæ/

or

/xlikotremæ/

Greek

©

λικτός

heliktos

curved, twisted (see

helix

), plus τρ

μα

treema

perforation, hole.

helix

/hilks/ or

/hlks/

noun

Greek

ª

λιξ

helix

a spiral, a coil, a curl, a twist.

©

λίσσω

helissoo

to turn round.

Hertz

/hrtz/

unit of measure

19 th

century physicist Heinrich Rudolf

Hertz

.

5

hyoid

/haiid/

adjective or noun,

hyo

– combinatory form

Shaped like the Greek letter υ

u

(

ß

ψιλόν

hupsilon

). See -

oid

.

incus

/kus/

or

/ks/

noun

Latin

INCUS

anvil.

INC Ū DERE

to forge.

ingressive

/nrsiv/

adjective

Latin

INGRESSUS

, prefix

IN

– in to, plus

GRADI

to step or go.

labial

/læbil/

or

/lebil/

adjective, combinatorial form

labio

– , plural noun

labii

Latin

LABIUM

lip.

lamina

/læminæ/

noun, plural

laminae

/læmini/

, adjectival forms

laminar

and

laminal

, combinatory form

lamino–

Latin

LAMINA

means a thin plate. Related to the English word laminate.

larynx

/lærks/

noun, plural

/lrndiz/

, adjectival form

laryngeal

/lrndl/

, combinatory form

laryngo

/lrio/

Greek λάρυγξ

larungx

the upper part of the windpipe. λαρυγγίζω

larungizoo

to shout loudly. See also

pharynx

.

lateral

/lætrl/

adjective

Latin

LATUS

side.

levator

/lvætr/

noun

Latin

LEV Ā RE

to raise.

malleus

/mælus/

or

/mæls/

noun

Latin

MALLEUS

hammer. Related to the English word mallet.

mandible

/mændbl/

noun

Latin

MANDIBULA

jaw, related to

MANDERE

to chew.

masseter

/mæstr/

noun

Greek μασάομαι

masaomai

to chew.

mastoid

/mæstid/

adjective

mastoid process

Greek μαστός

mastos

breast. See -

oid

. The mastoid process is breast shaped.

meatus

/mætus/

or

/mets/

noun

Latin

ME Ā RE

to pass.

6

membrane

/mmbren/

noun

Latin

MEMBR Ā NA

skin.

mentalis

/mntæls/

noun

Latin

MENTUM

chin.

monophthong

/mno/

noun

Greek μόνος

monos

alone (e.g., monolingual) plus φθόγγος

fthongos

a sound.

mylo

/mailo/

combinatory form

Greek μύλος

mulos

millstone. The mylohyoid muscle is shaped like the grooves in a millstone.

nasal

/næsl/

adjective, combinatory form

naso

Latin

NASUS

nose.

–oid

/id/

suffix (adjectiviser)

Greek suffix – ώδης

oodees

/ – ειδής

eidees

from the noun ε

É

δος

eidos

shape. An X-oid is something that is shaped like an X. Form example, a spheroid is shaped like a sphere, and an android

(

νδρώδης

androodees

) is shaped like a man (

νδρ – is a form of

νήρ

aneer

man).

omo

/mo/

combinatory form

Latin

UMERUS

shoulder or upper arm.

orbicularis

/rbkulæris/

noun

Latin

ORBIS

circle, disc. Related to the English word orbit.

oris

/ris/

noun

Latin

Ō R Ā RE

to speak.

OS

mouth. Related to the English word orifice.

ossicle

/skl/

noun

Latin

OSSICULUM

from

OS

bone.

palate

/pælt/

noun,

palatini

gentitive,

palatal

adjective

Latin

PALAATUM

for the roof of the mouth. Possibly related to Greek πλατύς

platus

flat.

parietal

/praitl/

adjective

Latin

PARIEES

wall.

pharynx

/færks/

noun,

pharyngeal

/frndl/

adjective,

pharyngo

/frio/

combinatory form

Greek φάρυγξ

farungx

throat. Related to φάραγξ

farangx

chasm or ravine.

phone

/fon/

noun

Greek φωνή

foonee

the sound of a voice. Related to the English word telephone.

7

phoneme

/fonim/

noun

Greek φώνημα

fooneema

something which is spoken. See also

phone

.

phonetics

/fntks/

noun,

phonetic

adjective

Greek φωνήτικος

fooneetikos

the study of speech sounds. See

phone

.

phonology

/fnldi/

noun

Greek φωνή

foonee

the sound of a voice, plus λόγος

logos

word and thought. Phonology is the thinking about, or mental representation of speech sounds.

plosive

/plosv/

noun

French

explosif

explosive.

process

/pross/

noun

An outgrowth, from Latin

PR Ō CESSUS

an advancement. Related to English procession and proceed.

pterygoid

/ptrid/

adjective

Greek πτέρυξ

pterux

wing, plus –

oid

. πτερόν

pteron

feather.

pulmonic

/plmnk/

adjective

French

pulmonique

from Latin

PULMO

lung.

radical

/rædkl/

adjective,

radico

– combinatory form

Latin

R Ā DIX

root.

resonance

/rznns/

noun

Latin prefix

RE

– again, plus

SON Ā RE

to sound.

retroflex

/rtroflks/

adjective

Latin

RETRO

behind, backwards. Plus

FLECTERE

to bend.

risorius

/rsrius/

noun

Latin

R Ī SIBILIS

from

R Ī D Ē RE

to laugh.

sagittal

/sæditl/

adjective

Latin

SAGITTA

arrow. The sagittal suture is a serrated line on the top of the skull where the

parietal

bones meet, maybe it is arrow shaped.

scala

/skælæ/

noun

Latin

SC Ā LA

ladder.

spectrum

/spktrm/

noun, plural

spectra

,

spectral

adjective,

spectro

– combinatory form

Latin

SPECERE

to look at. Originally applied to the frequencies of light.

8

stapes

/stæps/

or

/stepiz/

noun,

stapedius

noun

Latin

STAPEDA

stirrup.

ST Ā RE

to stand, plus

P Ē S

foot.

sterno

/strno/

combinatory form,

sternum

noun

Greek στέρνον

sternon

chest.

stylo

/stailo/

combinatory form,

styloid

adjective

Greek στ

Ø

λος

stulos

pillar. Related to the English words stylus and stool.

taxonomy

/tæksnmi/

noun

French

taxonomie

from Greek τάξις

taxis

an arrangement or order, and νόμος

nomos

meaning something assigned by law or custom.

tectorial

/tktril/

adjective tectorical membrane

Latin

TECT Ō RIUM

a covering.

TEGERE

to cover.

temporalis

/tmpræls/

adjective or noun

Latin

TEMPOR Ā LIS

genitive of

TEMPUS

the temple of the head.

trachea

/træki/

noun

Greek τράχηλος

tracheelos

neck.

trill

/trl/

noun or verb

Italian

trillo

from Middle Dutch

trillen

to vibrate.

thyroid

/airid/

adjective

thyroid cartilage

,

thyro–

combinatory from

Greek θυρεός

thureos

a large rectangular shield, the kind that Roman soldiers are usually depicted carrying. The shield is door shaped: θύρα

thura

door. Plus the suffix

–oid

. The thyroid cartilage is shaped like one of these shields, and shields the rest of the larynx.

tympanic

/tmpænk/

adjective

tympanic membrane

Greek τύμπανον

tumpanon

a kettledrum. τύπτω

tuptoo

to beat.

uvula

/uvjul/ or

/juvjul/

noun,

uvular

adjective

Latin diminutive of

Ū VA

grape. Note that this word is NOT uvelum.

velar

/vilr/

adjective,

velic

adjective,

velaric

adjective,

velum

/vilm/

noun,

veli

genitive

Latin

V Ē LUM

veil. Velar applies to sounds in which the body of the tongue approaches the velum.

Velic applies to the velic port, the opening between the velum and the nasopharynx. Velaric applies to the velaric air stream mechanism.

vestibular

/vstbjulr/

adjective

Latin

VEST Ī RE

to clothe.

VESTIS

clothing. Related to the English word vestibule.

vocalis

/vokæls/

noun,

vocal

/vokæl/

adjective

vocal ligament

Latin

V Ō C Ā LIS

having a voice.

V Ō X

voice.

zygomaticus

/ziomætkus/

or

/zaiomætkus/

noun

Greek ζε

Ø

γος

zeugos

yoke for beasts of burden.

9

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