Phonetics (from the Greek φωνή ("phonê") "sound" or "voice") is the study of the physical sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds (phones), and the processes of their physiological production, auditory reception, and neurophysiological perception.

Phonetics was studied as early as 2,500 years ago in ancient India, with Unicode|Pāṇini's account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his 5th century BC treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today order their consonants according to Unicode|Pāṇini's classification.

Types of phonetics

Phonetics as a research discipline has three main branches:
*articulatory phonetics is concerned with the articulation of speech: The position, shape, and movement of "articulators" or speech organs, such as the lips, tongue, and vocal folds.
*acoustic phonetics is concerned with acoustics of speech: The properties of the sound waves, such as their frequency and harmonics.
*auditory phonetics is concerned with speech perception: How sound is received by the inner ear and perceived by the brain.

It also includes a fourth branch:
*forensic phonetics is the use of phonetics (the science of speech) for forensic (legal) purposes.

Phonetics and phonology

In contrast to phonetics, phonology is the study of language-specific systems and patterns of sound and gesture, relating such concerns with other levels and aspects of language. While phonology is grounded in phonetics, it has emerged as a distinct area of linguistics, dealing with abstract systems of sounds and gestural units (e.g, phoneme, features, mora, etc.) and their variants (e.g., allophones), the distinctive properties (features) which form the basis of meaningful contrast between these units, and their classification into natural classes based on shared behavior and phonological processes. Phonetics tends to deal more with the physical properties of sounds and the physiological aspects of speech production and perception. It deals less with how sounds are patterned to encode meaning in language (though overlap in theorizing, research and clinical applications are possible).

ee also

* List of phonetics topics
* Speech processing
* Acoustics
* Biometric word list
* Phonetics departments at universities
* NATO Phonetic Alphabet

External links and references

* [ Comparative phonetics]
* [ Phonetics Laboratory of the Université du Québec à Montréal.]
* [ the Web Site of the Phonetic Sciences Laboratory of the Université de Montréal.]
* [ The International Society of Phonetic Sciences (ISPhS)]
* [ A little encyclopedia of phonetics] , Peter Roach, Professor of Phonetics, University of Reading, UK. (pdf)
* [ The sounds and sound patterns of language] U Penn
* [ UCLA lab data]
* [ UCLA Phonetics Lab Archive]
* [ EGG and Voice Quality] (electroglottography, phonation, etc.)
* [ IPA handbook]
* [ IPA-SAM Phonetic Fonts]
* [ Speech Analysis Tutorial]
* [ Lecture materials in German on phonetics & phonology, university of Erfurt]
* [ Real-time MRI video of the articulation of speech sounds, from the USC Speech Articulation and kNowledge (SPAN) Group]
* [ Beginner's course in phonetics, with some exercises]
* [ Praat - Phonetic analysis software]
* [ SID- Speech Internet Dictionary]
* [ Extensive collection of phonetics resources on the Web] (University of North Carolina)


* Abercrombie, D. (1967). "Elements of General Phonetics". Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.
* Ashby, Michael & Maidment, John. (2005). "Introducing Phonetic Science". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80882-0 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-00496-9 (pbk).
* Catford, J. C. (1977). "Fundamental problems in phonetics". Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32520-X.
* Clark, John; & Yallop, Colin. (1995). "An introduction to phonetics and phonology" (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19452-5.
*Gussenhoven, C & Broeders, A. (1997). "English pronunciation for student teachers". Wolters-Noordhoff BV Groningen, the Netherlands. ISBN 90 01 16703 9
* Hardcastle, William J.; & Laver, John (Eds.). (1997). "The handbook of phonetic sciences". Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-18848-7.
* Ladefoged, Peter. (1982). "A course in phonetics" (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
* Ladefoged, Peter. (2003). "Phonetic data analysis: An introduction to fieldwork and instrumental techniques". Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23269-9 (hbk); ISBN 0-631-23270-2 (pbk).
* Maddieson, Ian. (1984). "Patterns of sounds". Cambridge studies in speech science and communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
*Laver, J. (1994)."Principles of Phonetics". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
* Pike, Kenneth L. (1943). "Phonetics: A critical analysis of phonetic theory and a technic for the practical description of sounds". Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
* Pisoni, David B.; & Remez, Robert E. (Eds.). (2004). "The handbook of speech perception". Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22927-2.
* Rogers, Henry. (2000). "The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics". Harlow, Essex: Pearson. ISBN 0-582-38182-7.
* Stevens, Kenneth N. (1998). "Acoustic phonetics". Current studies in linguistics (No. 30). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-19404-X.

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  • phonetics — [fō net′iks, fənet′iks] n. [see PHONETIC] 1. the study of speech sounds, their production and combination, and their representation by written symbols 2. the description and analysis of the sounds of a particular language [the phonetics of… …   English World dictionary

  • Phonetics — Pho*net ics, n. 1. The doctrine or science of sounds; especially those of the human voice; phonology. [1913 Webster] 2. The art of representing vocal sounds by signs and written characters. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • phonetics — (n.) scientific study of speech, 1841, from PHONETIC (Cf. phonetic); also see ICS (Cf. ics) …   Etymology dictionary

  • phonetics — ► PLURAL NOUN (treated as sing. ) ▪ the study and classification of speech sounds …   English terms dictionary

  • phonetics — /feuh net iks, foh /, n. (used with a sing. v.) 1. the science or study of speech sounds and their production, transmission, and reception, and their analysis, classification, and transcription. Cf. acoustic phonetics, articulatory phonetics,… …   Universalium

  • phonetics — Synonyms and related words: ablaut, acoustic phonetics, articulatory phonetics, audiometer, auriscope, auriscopy, betacism, bowwow theory, cacography, comparative linguistics, derivation, descriptive linguistics, dialectology, dingdong theory,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • phonetics — The study of the characteristics of human sounds, especially those used in speech. Although phonetics is probably the least interesting branch of linguistics to a philosopher, the discovery that individual significant sounds are not physically… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • phonetics — [[t]fəne̱tɪks[/t]] (The form phonetic is used as a modifier.) 1) N UNCOUNT In linguistics, phonetics is the study of speech sounds. 2) ADJ: usu ADJ n Phonetic means relating to the sound of a word or to the sounds that are used in languages.… …   English dictionary

  • Phonetics departments at universities — The following universities have phonetics departments:* University of Cambridge (Head of Department: Professor Francis Nolan) * * University College London (Phonetics and Linguistics) * University of Helsinki, Finland (Department of Speech… …   Wikipedia

  • phonetics — noun plural but singular in construction Date: 1836 1. the system of speech sounds of a language or group of languages 2. a. the study and systematic classification of the sounds made in spoken utterance b. the practical application of this… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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