Sounds of language: Phonetics and Applied Linguistics


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Presentation for Applied Linguistics class: Phonetics for last trimester, presented at Jose Rizal University Graduate School

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Sounds of language: Phonetics and Applied Linguistics

  1. 1. SOUNDS OF LANGUAGE Jourdanne Timbreza Jose Rizal University Master of Arts, Major in Language Education
  2. 2. ABSTRACT To know a language, one must know the sounds of the language. The study of phonetics concerns itself with the physical properties and sounds of speech. Mainly, it is discusses how sounds are made and how these sounds are formed to create a coherent thought or message in a chosen language, which then will be passed onto listeners through the process of oral communication. Before one may speak in a language, he must know how words are said and which words to combine to make these words.
  3. 3. ABSTRACT Phones are unit of sounds which are then combined to form syllables. These syllables are then combined to make words. However, each syllable or phone, especially when combined, has a unique sound attached to them. This is where consonants and vowels enter the picture. They are then used to translate these syllables and phones into something a hearer may understand. How then should these elements be combined or used? This shall be the main topic of this paper.
  4. 4. ROLE OF SPEECH SOUNDS  The basic knowledge a speaker should learn before he learns a language is to recognize what the language he aims to learn sounds like. It is only then that he would be able to distinguish it's differences and even its common traits with others from various groups or families of language.  This point merely proves that to know a language also means to know the sounds of a language .
  5. 5. PHONETICS  Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that aims to study and describe the sounds and forms of both spoken and sign language respectively.  They could also be referred to as sound differences. From this information, it could be surmised that phonetics is mainly concerned with the production, description and differentiation of speech sounds.
  6. 6. PHONETICS  To the beginner, phonetics and phonology might be confused to be the same discipline or study. However, upon closer study, it should be noted that phonology concerns itself with phonemes, abstract cognitive units of speech and signs of language. Phonetics, on the other hand, concerns itself with speech sounds, phones, syllables, consonants and vowels. It also places utmost importance in the movement of the vocal tract as speech sounds are produced. .
  7. 7. THE SPEECH TRAIN  Idea or concept is formulated within the brain of the speaker. It will then be encoded into a common language which he and the hearer both understand.  From the brain, the message is sent to the vocal apparatus, which can also be associated with the organs that compose the vocal tract. The muscles and organs involved will then begin to position themselves in order to produce the appropriate speech sounds.
  8. 8. THE SPEECH TRAIN  The speech sounds travel through air until they reach the ears of the hearer.  After hearing the speech sounds, (4) the brain of the hearer starts to decode them until they arrive at a thought which would prompt their own response.
  9. 9. THREE BRANCHES OF PHONETICS  Articulatory Phonetics pertains to the production of speech sounds. It studies how the vocal tract reacts and begins the procedure of generating the sounds of a language.  Auditory linguistics pertains to interpretation of speech sounds within context.  Acoustic Phonetics concerned with the physical properties of sounds (how the word is pronounced through the speech sounds made)
  10. 10. THE VOCAL TRACT  The vocal tract is a group of organs involved in the production of speech sounds.  Egressive pulmonic airstream is air pushed out of the lungs.  Ingressive pulmonic airstream is produced when speech sounds are made by breathing in.
  11. 11. PARTS OF THE VOCAL TRACT  Lungs  Larynx  Pharynx  Nasal cavity  Oral cavity  Glottis
  12. 12. MANNER AND PLACE OF ARTICULATION  Place of articulation is defined as the point of contact where the restriction or obstruction of airflow occurs in the vocal tract.  Passive place of articulation is the more stationary part of the vocal tract where articulation occurs ranging from any part starting from the gums, upper teeth, roof of the mouth and back of the throat.
  13. 13. MANNER AND PLACE OF ARTICULATION  Active place of articulation is the more mobile part of the vocal tract. These are parts are usually found in some parts of the tongue and lips.
  14. 14. MAJOR PLACES OF ARTICULATION  Labials are divided into two kinds: Bilabial sounds are made by bringing both lips together. Labiodental sounds on the other hand, by allowing the bottom of the lip to touch the upper teeth.  Dentals are formed using the tongue and teeth. The tip of the tongue touches the upper teeth when making /th/ and /t/ sounds. Interdentals which occur when the tongue protrudes between the upper teeth and the lower teeth.
  15. 15. MAJOR PLACES OF ARTICULATION  Alveolars sounds occur when the blade of the tongue touches or slightly touches the alveolar ridge. This ridge is the roof of the mouth located behind the upper teeth. Another alveolar sound such as the /r/ sound allows the speaker to curl his tongue just behind the alveolar ridge. This is called as post-alveolar or retroflex.
  16. 16. MAJOR PLACES OF ARTICULATION  Alveolars sounds occur when the blade of the tongue touches or slightly touches the alveolar ridge. This ridge is the roof of the mouth located behind the upper teeth. Another alveolar sound such as the /r/ sound allows the speaker to curl his tongue just behind the alveolar ridge. This is called as post-alveolar or retroflex.  Palatals are made when the tongue makes contact with the palate. If the tongue touches part of the front palate, it is an alveo-palatal sound.
  17. 17. MAJOR PLACES OF ARTICULATION  Velars occur when the consonant sounds are made with the tongue touching the velum or soft palate.  Uvulars are made when the back of the tongue is raised to touch the uvula. The uvula is the fleshy bulge hanging down in the back of the throat.  Pharyngeals are made by pulling the root of the tongue back to the narrow of the pharynx.
  18. 18. MAJOR PLACES OF ARTICULATION  Glottal consonant sounds are made when there is a constriction of the glottis, which is the opening between the vocal folds.
  19. 19. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  The Manner of Articulation are concerned with how the airstream is affected when it is released from the lungs and pushed out of the mouth or nose, if it is blocked or partially blocked and vibrating or non-vibrating.
  20. 20. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  Stops are made when there is a complete closure or blockage of the airstream. These can be made from the glottis to the lips. When stops are made, the air is closed or restricted in the oral cavity for a few seconds before it is released to make a vowel sound.  Nasals are phones which lower the velum in order to permit the air to pass through the nose. The flow of air is stopped at the oral cavity but it may pass freely through the nasal cavity.
  21. 21. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  Fricatives are impartial blockages of places of articulation. Since the flow of air is constricted, there is friction which can either be voiced or voiceless.  Affricates are a combination of stops and fricatives. There is a restriction of air which is immediately followed by a gradual release of the closure, which causes friction.
  22. 22. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  Laterals are when both sides of the tongue are lowered to allow air to pass through them. The air proceeds through the sides of the tongue but is blocked by the tongue from going through the middle of the mouth.  Liquids are present in the /l/ and /r/ sounds. A restriction of air occurs, but not enough to cause friction. Acoustically, they have common elements. This is the reason why foreign speakers may sometimes interchange them or confuse them with one another.
  23. 23. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  Glides are also known as semi-vowels for they are consonants that resemble vowels. They are known to have the least constriction at the point of articulation. The articulators move but they do not meet each other. After articulating the consonant, the tongue glides in place to ready itself for the following vowel sound.  Approximants are similar to liquids in a way that articulators are close enough to each other but no actual friction occurs.
  24. 24. MANNER OF ARTICULATION  Trills are produced by rapid vibrations of an articulator. The vibrating sound is made when the tip of the tongue is against the alveolar ridge. Meanwhile, a flap is made by a flick of the tongue against the alveolar ridge. These two are also referred to as Rhotics.
  25. 25. CONSONANTS AND VOWELS  A consonant is defined as a speech sound that is made with either complete or partial closure of the vocal tract.  The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) was created to represent each consonant sound with a symbol. These symbols are known as letters, which are used in communication.  Vowel sounds are pronounced with an open vocal tract. There is no restriction of air at any point just above the glottis.
  26. 26. CONSONANTS AND VOWELS  The tongue may shift position within pronunciation of vowels the vocal tract, on the other hand is used as a resonating chamber for the passing airstream resulting to vibration. According to McGregor (2009), this means that all vowels are voiced in all languages.
  27. 27. CONSONANTS AND VOWELS  Diphthongs are known as gliding vowels. When the tongue is in constant motion throughout traveling from one vowel sound to another, a diphthong is produced. They are adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. To this extent, they are the opposite of monophthongs which refer to simple vowels. These monophthongs are made when the tongue is immobile and only one vowel sound emerges from a syllable
  28. 28. CONSONANTS AND VOWELS  Lip roundings are dependent on the position or shape of the lips, if they are rounded or spread. Rounded vowels are produced with pursed or rounded lips. The two types of rounding are: protruded and compressed. Protruded rounding pertains to when the corners of the mouth are drawn together like a tube while their inner surface remains visible. Compressed rounding, on the other hand, the lips are drawn together horizontally with only the outer surface visible.
  29. 29. CONCLUSION There are various sounds present in the English language. Speech sounds are often taken for granted, as many people do not seem to realize how important they are in terms of learning or acquiring a language. Oral communication plays a major role in phonetics. This can only suggest that the elements of spoken language such as phones, syllables, consonants, syllables and other phonetic properties are also vital principles of language that should not be overlooked. Therefore, the study of phonetics should always be considered in comprehending the concept of language.
  30. 30. REFERENCES: McGregor, W. B (2009) Linguistics: An Introduction. New York, Continuum International Group. Fromkin, V. , Rodman, R. &Hyams, N. (2010) Introduction to Linguistics. Singapore, Cengage Learning Asia Phonetics (n.d.) Retrieved on: February 24, 2010. Retrieved from: Consonants (n.d.) Retrieved on: February 26, 2013. Retrieved from: Diphthongs (n.d.) Retrieved on: February 19, 2013. Retrieved from:
  31. 31.  Lip Rounding (n.d.) Retrieved on: February 27, 2013. Retrieved from:  Hembree, D. (2013) What Are the Acoustic Properties for Describing Consonant & Vowel Sounds? Retrieved on: February 25, 2013. Retrieved from: sounds.html  Glossary of Phonetic Terms.(n.d.)Retrieved on: February 25, 2013. Retrieved from: us/library/hh361665%28v=office.14%29.aspx