The Organisation of Sounds in Phonetics and Phonology 

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.”

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).

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 organisation of speech sounds in languages; how speech sounds are organised 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.”

Organization of Sounds in Phonetics and Phonology

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).

Prosody refers to the features of words and sentences which are above the level of individual sounds. For instance, stress, pitch, and intonation. In English, stress is frequently contrastive. In English, unstressed syllables show a characteristic phonetic reduction. The words that contain the same are called weak forms.

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.

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