Phonetics

Phonetics is the study of the sounds of human speech, or the equivalent aspects of sign.

There are three basic areas of study:

  • Articulatory phonetics: the study of the production of speech sounds by the articulatory and vocal tract by the speaker
  • Acoustic phonetics: the study of the physical transmission of speech sounds from the speaker to the listener
  • Auditory phonetics: the study of the reception and perception of speech sounds by the listener

Alveolar: Tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (nest, day, list, zoo, take, say)
Bilabial: Both lips together (ban, mat, pie)
Labiodental: Lower lip against upper front teeth (foe, vat)
Dental: Tip of the tongue against upper front teeth (the, thick)
Paletal: Front of the tongue against the palate (year)
Palato-Alveolar: Front of the tongue against the back of the alveolar ridge (shoe)
Velar: Back of the tongue against the palate (hose)
Retroflex: Tip of the tongue against the back on the alveolar ridge – not used in English
Stop: The articulators have completely closed off the flow of air (putten, kill)
Nasal: Air is directed through the nasal cavity (mennest, gang)
Fricative: Air passes through a small opening between articulators (fist, thin, sit, shell)
Approximant: Air passes through a medium opening between articulators (yes, will)
Trill: The tip of the tongue rolls against the alveolar ridge – Seldom used in English

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