Phonetics is defined as the study of the sounds of human speech using the mouth, throat, nasal and sinus cavities, and lungs.
Analytical Areas of Phonetics
- Auditory Phonetics: The study of speech perception and how the brain forms perceptual representations of the input it receives during the course of communication.
- Articulatory Phonetics: The study of the positions and movements of the lips, tongue, vocal tract, and other speech organs.
- Acoustic Phonetics: The study of the properties of the sound waves and how they are perceived by the inner ear.
Resources on Phonetics
- A Little Encyclopedia of Phonetics: Download this 93-page PDF file to use as a study guide for understanding the basic principles of phonetic analysis. Students will find the glossary of common terms to be particularly useful.
- The Sounds of Spoken Language: This resource from The University of Iowa contains animated articulatory diagrams, step-by-step descriptions, and audio recordings of sounds within the phonetic alphabet. A diagram of articulatory anatomy is also included for those who are having trouble replicating certain sounds.
- What is Phonetics?: Visit this site for a selection of exercises which illustrate the various characteristics of phonetic analysis. The exercises are automatically scored and correct answers are provided for your convenience.
- Doing Phonetics by Computer: Download software to assist with phonetic analysis. This free program is available for both Windows and Macintosh systems.
- ESL Phonetics Worksheets: Turn to this site for an assortment of free printable worksheets designed to assist students who are learning English as a second language.
- Studying Spoken English: This page provides an extensive listing of phonetics resources from across the Web.
- An example of phonetics is how the letter "b" in the word "bed" is spoken - you start out with your lips together. Then, air from your lungs is forced over your vocal chords, which begin to vibrate and make noise. The air then escapes through your lips as they part suddenly, which results in a "b" sound.
- An example of phonetics is the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which standardizes the pronunciation of words from any language so that anyone reading any word in any language can pronounce it properly.