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 includes 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.

Syllables are the main structure for the organization of sounds. It consists of an:

● onset (beginning),

● a rhyme (everything after the beginning) which can be subdivided into a nucleus (vowel or vowel-like center), and

● a coda (right-edge).

Importance of Phonetics and Phonology in English Language Teaching

Correct Recognition

They enable learners to recognize and pronounce new words correctly.

Improves Word Reading Ability

They also improve the word reading ability of learners.

Suitable for all Learners

Beginner readers, as well as seasoned readers, can have an increased ability to pronounce words with ease.

Improves Spelling

They find patterns present in English which enables learners to learn spellings easily.

Improves Pronunciation

They also stress pronunciation and improve the learner’s pronunciation of all words.

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.