Phonetics refers to the, “study of human sounds and phonology is the classification of the sounds within the system of a particular language or languages.” According to All About Linguistics, “Phonology is the study of the patterns of sounds in a language and across languages. Put more formally, phonology is the study of the categorical organization of speech sounds in languages; how speech sounds are organized in the mind and used to convey meaning. In this section of the website, we will describe the most common phonological processes and introduce the concepts of underlying representations for sounds versus what is actually produced, the surface form.”

Phonetics can be divided into three types according to the production (articulatory), transmission (acoustic), and perception (auditive) of sounds. These three categories of sounds must be recognized at the outset which include phones (human sounds), phonemes (units that distinguish meaning in a language), and allophones (non-distinctive units).

The sounds can be divided into consonants and vowels. The consonants can be categorized according to 1) place, 2) manner of articulation and 3) voice (voiceless or voiced). Vowels use a coordinate system called a vowel quadrangle which contains actual vowel values. Phonotactics is related to the combination of sounds possible and where sounds have the potential to occur in a syllable.

Differences between Phonetics and Phonology

It is not concerned with the semantic functions of soundsIt is concerned with the semantic functions of sounds
It sets the base for phonological analysisIt sets the base for further syntactical, morphological analysis, and more
It deals with the physical aspectIt deals with the mental or abstract aspect
It is concerned with the identificationIt is concerned with the interpretation
It is concerned with individualityIt is concerned with the interrelationship
Differences between Phonetics and Phonology

Similarities between Phonetics and Phonology

  • Both phonetics and phonology deal with the sounds of speech.
  • Both are mostly concerned with the spoken word.
  • Both study the patterns of sounds in a language.

Distinguishing between writing and sound is highly essential. There are various terms such as homophony, homography, and homonymy which are used to characterize the relationship between the written and the spoken form of words based on what the connection between the two is like.