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Phonetics vs Phonology

Phonetics is the description and classification of speech sounds and how they are produced. The
International Phonetic Alphabet is used to represent speech sounds in symbols. It is the basis for
phonological analysis.

Phonology is the study of the speech sounds used in a particular language, how the sounds interact as a
system. It is the basis for further work in morphology, syntax, and discourse.

Hierarchy of fields of linguistics

Dialects: systems with different pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar

Accents: Standard English vocabulary and grammar, but different pronunciation

Black British (Jamaican)

Northern: Cumbrian, Geordie, Mancunian, Scouse, Yorkshire
Southern: Received Pronunciation (Queens English, BBC English), Cockney,
Estuary English (south-eastern English)
Scottish, Welsh, Irish English

See Youtube clip http://youtu.be/dABo_DCIdpM (WARNING: This clip contains some very rude language)

A grapheme is a basic unit of WRITING, i.e. letters.

A phoneme is a basic unit of SOUND.

In a fully phonemic orthography, ONE grapheme would correspond to ONE phoneme.

English has a "deep" orthography, i.e. in which there is not a one-to-one correspondence between the
letters and the phonemes in the language.

English has 26 letters of the alphabet but 44 phonemes.

Multiple graphemes may represent a single phoneme.

- Digraphs (two graphemes for a single phoneme): SH in ship, CH in chop, TH in math

- Trigraphs (three graphemes for a single phoneme): SSI in mission,

One grapheme may represent different phonemes. English has many homographs i.e. words with the same
spelling but different pronunciation.

Example: to read /ri:d/ read (past participle) /red/

One phoneme can be represented by different graphemes.

Example: The sound /f/ can be represented by

"f flat, fifty

"ff different

"ph elephant

"gh enough

Exercise 1

How many phonemes (sounds) are there in each word?

black sing
yellow half
one wrist
two knife
three ought
ship could
The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents spoken language.

IPA symbols are composed of letters and diacritics.

Most letters are either Latin or Greek: p b t
digraph th- is represented with (theta)

Diacritics are signs or glyphs that modify the meaning of the letters:

IPA has 107 different letters and 52 diacritics.

In IPA notation

/slashes/ are used to mark off phonemes (broad transcription)

[square brackets] are used for phonetic details (narrow transcription)


little /ltl/ or [l]

See ROACH p. xxii for the complete IPA

Short vowels

// pin, English, business

/e/ pen, bed, head

// pat, cat, bag

// putt, cut, come

// pot, what

// put, look, could

// the, a

Long vowels

/i/ sea, bee

// car, art

// or, board

/u/ too, blue

// girl, burn



// here, deer, dear, fierce

/e/ care, air, mayor, prayer GLIDE towards //

// poor, insure, tour, moor


/e/ take, pay, wait, ballet

/a/ five, sigh, height, buy GLIDE towards //

// noise, boy, lawyer

// no, road, sew, broken GLIDE towards //

/a/ round, renown, doubt


/p/ play, stop, speak, power // shell, nation, machine

/b/ bad, baby, big, object // genre, measure, vision

/t/ ten, later, little, pot /h/ hot, hair, whole, whose

/d/ day, advice, bed /m/ moon, lamp, lamb

/k/ character, quick, taxi /n/ can, snow, pneumonia

/g/ got, exam, ignore, finger // string, singer, tongue

/f/ food, laugh, telephone /t/ chair, match, future

/v/ vain, over, Stephen /d/ just, general, age, soldier

// thin, earth, method, both /l/ look, small, bottle, isle

// they, father, breathe, with /r/ real, train, wrong, write

/s/ small, since, scene, psalm /j/ yes, Europe, university

/z/ zoo, goes, xenophobe /w/ window, twin, quick

Exercise 2

Find the correct phonemic transcription for each word.

1. /t/ a. later

2. /ht/ b. joke

3. /k/ c. heart

4. /wk/ d. there

5. /'let/ e. doubt

6. /bt/ f. work

7. /pul/ g. shut

8. /dat/ h. think

9. /dk/ i. pool

10. /e/ j. bought

Exercise 3

Write the IPA symbol for the initial phoneme in each word












Exercise 4

Complete the transcriptions with one of the following dipthongs:

/e/ /a/ // // /a/ // /e/ //

make /m _ _ k/

sure / _ _/

bear /b _ _/

island /- - lnd/

employ /mpl _ _/

hear /h _ _/

town /t _ _ n/

home /h _ _ m/

sight /s _ _ t/

know /n _ _ /
Exercise 5

Which is the correct transcription?

/as/ ice eyes

/sl/ soil soul

/bri:/ breathe breath

/ / thin thing

/pzz/ poses possess

/vn/ vein vine

/f ilz/ feelings fillings

/kl/ uncle ankle

Now transcribe the other words.

Exercise 6

Write out the correct spelling of these place names.






Answers to exercises

Exercise 1

black 4 sing 3
yellow 4 half 3
one 3 wrist 4
two 2 knife 3
three 3 ought 2
ship 3 could 3

Exercise 2

1. /t/ g. shut
2. /ht/ c. heart
3. /k/ h. think
4. /wk/ f. work
5. /'let/ a. later
6. /bt/ j. bought
7. /pul/ i. pool
8. /dt/ e. doubt
9. /dk/ b. joke
10. /e/ d. there

Exercise 3

phone /f/
jet /d/
paper /p/
think //
shop //
chair /t/
hair /h/
school /s/
Europe /j/
college /k/
this //

Exercise 4

make /mek/
sure //
bear /be/
island /alnd/
employ /mpl/
hear /h/
town /tan/
home /hm/
sight /sat/
know /n/
Exercise 5

/as/ ice
/sl/ soul
/bri:/ breathe
/ / thing
/pzz/ poses
/van/ vine
/f ilz/ feelings
/kl/ ankle

eyes /az/
soil /sl/
breath /bre/
thin / n/
possess /pzes/
vein /ven/
fillings /flz/
uncle /kl/

Exercise 6

/kntbr/ Canterbury
/grent/ Greenwich
/lest/ Leicester
/ednbr/ Edinburgh
/wrk/ Warwick
/nrt/ Norwich