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Phonetics & Phonology (by Anntina Fyvonnequehz)

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    Title:Phonetics & Phonology (By Anntina Fyvonnequehz-Open University Malaysia) TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. 0 Introduction3 2. 0 Vowel sounds3-4 3. 0 Sound – equals difficulties4-5 4. 0 Language Teaching6 5. 1 Phonemic awareness7 5. 2 Phonology Awareness8 5. 0 Conclusion9 1. 0Introduction Phonetics and phonology are the two fields dedicated to the study of human speech sounds and human speech structures. While phonetics deals with the physical production of these sounds, phonology deals with the study of sound patterns and their meanings both within and across languages.

    Many linguists have thought of phonology and phonetics as separate, largely autonomous, disciplines with distinct goals and distinct methodologies (Ohala 1991) Some even doubt whether phonetics is part of linguistics at all (Ohala, Sommerstein 1997) In certain aspect phonetics and phonology deal with many of the same things since they both have to do with speech sounds of human language. ( Devenport & Hannahs 1998) So for this paper I will try my best to show that phonetics is one of crucial areas of study for phonology.

    Without phonetics, I would maintain, (and allied empirical disciplines such as psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics) phonology runs the risk of being a sterile, purely descriptive and taxonomic, discipline; with phonetics it can achieve a high level of explanation and prediction (Ohala 1991) in vowel sounds, different sounds, and intonation and language teaching. 2. 0Vowel sounds Most speakers of English do not know the number of vowel sounds the language has.

    If we ask them, for sure the answer is five vowel sounds that is a e i o u which in actual fact representing the spelling of the vowel of English. Most kind of English have between 16 and 20 different vowel sounds but most English speakers are unaware of despite constantly using them (Devenport & Hannahs. 1998). The vowels of English vary with the regional origins of the speaker and also the sociolinguistic factors such as class and age. These make it difficult to describe the ‘vowel of the English’ as many English speakers do not have the same ones.

    Imagine a young learner confusion when he learns to pronounce the word ‘book’ with a longer, higher vowel [u:] from a Northern England speaker; [bu:k] and heard the same word spoken by a younger Southern English speaker with a high –mid back unround vowel[? ]and also a number of North American varieties too where most best seller movies are produced. As most of these movies were watched by our young learner, they will get confuse with the many varieties of sound of the vowel sound.

    Similarly different types of English may well have different numbers of vowels in their inventories: RP is usually considered to have 19 or 21 distinct vowels sounds, but many varieties of Scottish English have only 10 – 14 ((Devenport & Hannahs)Scottish English usually does not distinguish between ‘pool’ and ‘pull’, both having [u] So with phonetics transcription, the learner can clear his confusion that there are varieties of vowels sounds spoken by different English speakers and are able to refer to the RP (Received Pronunciation) for accepted sound of the words. 3. Sound: Equal Difficulties As we all know, English is a mixture of consistency and inconsistency. So the consistency of the English warrant that phonetics is worth studying to further enhance the phonology of the language. Many of the irregularities and inconsistencies of English orthography offer the same degree of difficulty to all speakers of English, no matter what accent they speak it with. For example, the reader faced with the written words river and diver gets no clue from the spelling to know that one is pronounced with short /? /, the other with long /a? /.

    We are all equally helped to some extent by the fact that we have a word /? r? v? / in our vocabulary and no */? ra? v? /, and a /? da? v? / but no */? d? v? /. In the case of the spelling wind, which corresponds both to /w? nd/ and to /wa? nd/, we have to rely on the context and our lexical and syntactic knowledge (noun, verb) to identify them correctly. The beginning reader trying to figure out the meaning of the spelling ove in move, love and grove, faces the same difficulty. And the same applies to the notorious ough in rough, dough, through and so on, and to many other cases.

    This is one of the principal reasons why people find it so difficult to spell correctly. That friend is spelt friend rather than the expected frend is an arbitrary oddity that is equally arbitrary and odd for everyone. The second syllable in driver and many other words leads us to expect the spelling er for the agent suffix; but in beggar it is ar, in sailor or and in the somewhat comparable martyr yr. That helps no one. To be successful spellers we need to be aware of the rule “i before e except after c”. That will help us with receive and deceive, related words as we see from reception and deception.

    But it is utterly arbitrary that we have to learn to put a p in receipt though not in deceit. The pair lose and loose are distinct for everyone in speech. They are supposed to be distinct in writing, too; but the spelling difference between them is arbitrary. and must be learnt by rote. We all know the difficulties even literate undergraduates often have with its and it’s: problematic, because they are homophonous. Examples of other pairs or triplets that are homophones for everyone, but spelt differently, are bear and bare, right, write and rite.

    Similarly, consider the words ‘tuck’, ‘stuck’ and ‘duck’’. The first two words each contain a sound represented in the spelling by the letter‘t’, and most English speakers would say that this ‘t’ sound in each of these words is the same and the letter ‘d’ was slightly different sound from the letter ‘t’. The difference can be explained well when we look in it phonetics properties of the sound mentioned. For most speakers of English, the‘t’ at the beginning of ‘tuck’ is accompanied by an audible outrush of air, known as aspiration.

    There is no such outrush for the‘t’ in the ‘stuck’, which actually sounds quite like the ‘d’ in ‘duck’ . Phonetically we have three closely related but slightly different sounds but as far as the speaker is concerned, there are only two quite different sounds. The speaker usually unaware of the differences in ‘t’ sounds and also difference between the ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds So if one did not study phonetics with phonology one will only know that ‘t’ sounds behave in the same way as far as the system of English sounds concerned and ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds behave differently. 4. 0Language Teaching

    Teachers should be knowledgeable about the phonetics and phonology of English because the sound system is primary and the basis for the spelling system As teachers, they have to teach English pronunciation to students who are not native speakers of English. Besides they have to teach poetry, which requires that they teach about rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and other poetic devices that manipulate sound. Other than that it is important to understand accents and language variation and to react appropriately to them and to teach appropriate language attitudes about them to students .

    We are so literate that we tend to “hear” the sounds of our language through its spelling system, and phonetics/phonology provides a corrective to that and knowledge of phonetics and phonology provide systematic and well-founded understandings of the sound patterns of English. 4. 1Phonemic awareness Scientific evidence shows that teaching children to manipulate the sounds in language (phonemes) helps them learn to read. This remains true under a variety of teaching conditions and with a variety of learners across a range of grade and age levels.

    Teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading when compared to instruction without any attention to phonemic awareness. Improvements in students’ phonemic awareness enhance reading, and spelling. Phonics instruction is a way of teaching reading that stresses learning how letters correspond to sounds and how to use this knowledge in reading and spelling. Phonics instruction can be provided systematically. Systematic phonics instruction occurs when children receive explicit, systematic instruction in a set of pre-specified associations between letters and sounds.

    Children are taught how to use these associations to read, typically in texts containing controlled vocabulary. Systematic phonics instruction leads to significant positive benefits for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and for children with difficulty learning to read. Kindergartners who receive systematic beginning phonics instruction read better and spell better than other children, and first graders are better able to decode and spell words. My 5 years old son , Daneil is able to show significant improvement in his ability to understand what he read after he received phonics lessons from his tuition teacher..

    Similarly, phonics instruction helps my older children spell and decode text better, although their understanding does not necessarily improve. Personally I believe that children should be taught basic phonetics and phonology early in their schooling years to enable them to learn language better. Phoneme awareness facilitates growth in printed word recognition. Even before a student learns to read, we can predict with a high level of accuracy whether that student will be a good reader or a poor reader by the end of third grade and beyond ( Torgesen, 1998, 2004).

    Prediction is possible with simple tests that measure awareness of speech sounds in words, knowledge of letter names, knowledge of sound-symbol correspondence, and vocabulary. 4. 2Phonology Awareness Besides phonic awareness, phonological awareness is also critical for learning to read any alphabetic writing system. According research done by Florida Center for Reading shows that difficulty with phoneme awareness and other phonological skills is a predictor of poor reading and spelling development. The phonological processor usually works unconsciously when we listen and speak.

    It is designed to extract the meaning of what is said, not to notice the speech sounds in the words. It is designed to do its job automatically in the service of efficient communication. But reading and spelling require a level of metalinguistic speech that is not natural or easily acquired. On the other hand, phonological skill is not strongly related to intelligence. Some very intelligent people have limitations of linguistic awareness, especially at the phonological level. Phonological awareness is critical for learning to read any alphabetic writing system (Ehri, 2004; Rath, 2001; Troia, 2004 in module 1.

    Phonological awareness is even important for reading other kinds of writing systems, such as Chinese and Japanese. There are several well-established lines of argument for the importance of phonological skills to reading and spelling. 5. 0Conclusion Phonetics is one of the disciplines that helps to provide answers to phonology’s questions about why speech sounds behave as they do. Moreover, in its growth over the past couple of centuries it has developed a respectable level of scientific rigor in creating and testing models of various aspects of the speech mechanism.

    Phonology can benefit from phonetics’ methods, data, and theories (Ohala 1991). I believe phonology cannot be studied without phonetics especially as as a teacher . We need to teach our young students the basic of phonetics and phonology to help them in becoming a better reader and spellers too. These too will ease parents and teacher burden to answer the why and how the words sound the way it does. ( 2013 words) References 1 Bowen, C. (2002). The difference between an articulation disorder and a phonological disorder. Retrieved from www. peech-language-therapy. com/phonetic_phonemic. htm on (date). 2. Wells. John. (2001)Phonics and accents of English: a view from phonetics, UCL www. phon. ucl. ac. uk/home/wells/phonics-phonetics. htm 3. Sommerstein, A. H. 1977. Modern phonology. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press 4. Davenport. M & Hannahs. S. J (1998) Introducing Phonetics & Phonology. New York. Oxford University Press Inc. 5. Florida Center for Reading Research 227 N. Bronough St. , Suite 7250 ? Tallahassee, FL 32301 (module 1) http://www. fcrr. rg ? 850-644-9352 6. Torgesen, J. K. , & Burgess, S. R. (1998). Consistency of reading-related phonological processes throughout early childhood: Evidence from longitudinal-correlational and instructional studies. In J. Metsala & L. Ehri (Eds. ), Word recognition in beginning reading . Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 7. Ohala, J. J. 1991. “The integration of phonetics and phonology,” Proceedings of the XIIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Aix-en-Provence, 19-24 Aug 1991. Vol. 1, . 1-16

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