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Aug 10, 2023
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Phonology and Phonetics . Phonetics is considered to be a study of characterized speech sounds (yule, 2010). In simple terms phonetics can be defined as speech sounds. When a person says they know a language, it means they know the sounds of that language ...... Phonetics looks at the physical aspects of speech sounds which include their production and transmission. Phonetics focuses on the articulatory and acoustic properties of sounds. For one to understand phonetics, they would need to understand the basic building blocks of speech sounds commonly known as phonemes. Phonemes distinguish meaning in a language. Phonology refers to the abstract sound system of a language. Phonology is the study of the sound system of a language (...) as well as the mental representations of sounds. In simple terms phonology describes the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language (Yule, 2010). When looking at phonology, we look at the exploration of patterns and rules that govern how phonemes are combined and organized in English to form words. These phonological rules regulate which sounds are acceptable in different positions within words (across word boundaries). It is worth noting that the sound system of a language consists of phonemes that are utilized according to phonological rules. Phonological rules relate to spoken and written language principles which are in control of the changes of sounds during speech. Phonological rules describe how a speaker produces speech sounds stored in the brain. Phonetics and phonology may be related but they differ. The difference between phonetics and phonology is mainly that phonetics concerns itself with articulation as well as pronunciation whereas phonology looks at the mental representations of sounds as well as rules that map mental representation to pronunciations. Phonology concerns itself with the blueprint of each sound type serving as the constant basis of all variants in different physical articulation of that sound type in various c ontacts (Yule, 2011). For example, the sound [t] in the words 'star' and 'writer' may be seen as the same letter yet differ when it comes to speech. Phonetics is concerned with how the vocal tract produces the sounds of language (articulatory phonetics), the physical properties of the sounds of language (acoustic phonetics), as well as how listeners comprehend the sounds of language (auditory phonetics). Phonology allows us to differentiate meaning in the sounds we hear. Phonemes and syllables . A phoneme is known and defined as the smallest unit of sounds ( ......). They are considered the basic units of speech sounds that works to differentiate words from one another. In the English
language/grammar, we have (44) forty-four phonemes which include vowels and consonants. Commonly, slash marks are used to indicate a phoneme /k/ whereas the square brackets [k] are used for each phonetic or physically produced segment. Phonemes are represented by single written symbols. These symbols are from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and they are used to represent phonemes. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) was invented in 1888 (......). The aim was to have a system would give a correspondence between sounds in a language and their phonetic symbols. It is alleged and believed that a person who knows how to pronounce any word in any language. IPA symbols help represent pronunciations of words, for example, mug can be represented as [m^g]. A syllable is considered to be a human speech unit that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound. It is important to know that the number of syllables in a word is not related to the number of phonemes in the same word. Syllables can be formed by a combination of one or more phonemes. A syllable consists of vowels which may also be accompanied by consonants. For example, the word "Elephant" has three syllables which are Ee-e-phant. Phonemes and syllables are very distinct even though they are concepts in phonology. Remember phonemes are the basic units of sound in a language and syllables units of sound that have one or more vowels. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word "apple" has two syllables that identify as /ap/ /el/ whereas the same word has three phonemes being /a/, /p/, /l/. Another example is that of the word "cat", this word has three phoneme: /k/, /a/, /t/ yet only one syllable: /kat/. Intonation and word stress Intonation refers to the fall and risk of pitch in speech. Intonation helps convey emotions, attitudes and meanings in English. The main aim of intonation is to examine the melodic patterns of English speech. Intonations are crucial to convey meaning as well as apply emphasis in spoken English/English grammar. For questions one can use rising intonations and falling intonations for statements. A rising intonation at the end of a sentence can signify a question. Intonation is an important aspect of sound formation in English pronunciation that can affect meaning. For example, pronouncing a word 'sorry' with a high pitch of rising intonation can imply a question or inquiry for something to be repeated. Yet, the same word pronounced with a falling intonation may be received as a statement of apology. Word stress o the other hand refers to the emphasis that is put on certain syllables in a word. Word stress also has the potential to affect meaning through emphasis. It is believed that English is a
stressed language, meaning that some of its words have stressed syllables more than others. Word stress affects how a word is pronounced and understood upon being received. An example of stressed word in English is 'report' 're-port'. 'port' in the word is a stressed syllable. In 'medical', 'me- ' is the stressed syllable. One can argue or believe that the word stress comes before a suffix, even though there is an exception to this rule. English is known to be a language with a lot of exception especially when it comes to its rules. As a result, it can be noted that in order to speak clear English, one needs to use and apply the correct word stress. It is essential to use correct word stress when speaking English because it has the potential to change or filter the meaning of the word.
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