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The subject matter of phonetics Essay

Phonetics is a science devoted to the physical analysis of the sounds of human speech, including their production, transmission, and perception. Phonetics is traditionally divided into two branches: acoustic, concerned with the structure of the acoustic signal itself, and articulatory, concerned with the way these sounds are produced. Theoretical Phonetics studies speech sounds:

1) from every point of view.

Articulatory point of view – every speech sound is a complex of definite finely coordinated and differentiated movements and positions of the various speech organs. Acoustic – speech sounds have certain physical properties.

Phonological – speech sounds are studied through the phonological oppositions. Auditory – all of speech sounds have infinite number of features. 2) studies mechanisms of vowel and consonant production:

Vibrator mechanism – vocal cords
Resonator mechanism – oral cavity, nasal cavity
Obstructer mechanism – tongue, VC, teeth
Power mechanism – lungs, diaphragm
3) sounds are studied not only separately but in clusters and in speech. Thus we’ve come to kinetics and kinesthetic factors. 4) the matter of analysis:

– description – setting down as many as possible features which are present in sounds. – classification – mentioning those features by which sounds utter. One of the main subjects is intonation. Theoretical phonetics views it from the point of view of different schools and approaches: Russian – intonation consists of speech melody, tones, change in pitch. British – intonation is a contour, that is a unit of intonation consisting of pre-head, head, nucleus and tail. American – intonation is pitch. Differences in pitch cause differences in meaning. Speaking about sounds we usually view them in words, which consist of syllables. This is another subject of theoretical phonetics – syllable division and different approaches to it. 2. The way phonetics is connected with other branches of linguistics and other sciences Phonetics is an independent branch of linguistics like lexicology, grammar and stylistics.

It studies the sound matter, its aspects and functions. Phonetics is connected with linguistic and non-linguistic sciences: acoustics, physiology, psychology, logic, etc. The connection of phonetics with grammar, lexicology and styl­istics is exercised first of all via orthography, which in its turn is very closely connected with phonetics. Phonetics formulates the rules of pronunciation for separate sounds and sound combinations. The rules of reading are based on the relation of sounds to orthography and present certain difficulties in learning the English language, especially on the initial stage of stud­ying.

Thus, vowel sounds, for instance, are pronounced not only as we name the letters corresponding to them: the letter a as /ei/, the letter e as i’v.l, the letter i as /ai/, the letter у as /wai/, the letter u as i{j)n:l, the letter о as /эй/, jnq a can be pronounced as: /ae/— can, /a/ — car, 7sa/—care-, e can be pronounced as: Id—them, [з:1—fern, libl—here, etc. Through the system of rules of reading phonetics is connected with grammar and helps to pronounce correctly singular and plural forms of nouns, the past tense forms and past participles of English regular verbs, e.g. /d/ is pronounced after voiced consonants (beg— begged), It!—after voiceless consonants (wish—wished), /id/—after It! (want—wanted).

It is only if we know that /s/ is pronounced after voiceless consonants, /z/ after voiced and /iz/ after sibilants, that we can pronounce the words books, bags, boxes correctly. The ending -ed is pronounced /id/ following /t/ or /d/, e.g. waited /iweitid/, folded /ifauldid/. Some adjectives have a form with /id/, e.g. crooked /’kru-kid/, naked /ineikid/, ragged /’rsegid/. One of the most important phonetic phenomena—sound interchange—is another manifestation of the connection of pho­netics with grammar. For instance, this connection can be observed in the category of number. Thus, the interchange of It—v/, /a—z/, /Ö—Э/ helps to differentiate singular and plural forms of such nouns as: calf—calves II—v/, leaf—leaves II—v/, house-houses /s—z/. Vowel interchange helps to distinguish the singular and the plural of such words as: basis—bases /’beisis—

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