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Phonetics (from the Greek: φωνή, phōnē, “sound, voice”) is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds (phones), and the processes of their physiological production, auditory reception, and neurophysiological perception.
Phonetics was studied as early as 2500 years ago in ancient India, with Pāṇini‘s account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his 5th century BC treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today order their consonants according to Pāṇini’s classification.
Phonetic transcription is a universal system for transcribing sounds that occur in spoken language. The most widely known system of phonetic transcription, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), uses a one-to-one mapping between phones and written symbols. The standardized nature of the IPA enables its users to transcribe accurately and consistently between different languages. It can also indicate common pronunciations of words (e.g. [ðɪs] for the word “this”).
Phonetics as a research discipline has three main branches:
- articulatory phonetics is concerned with the articulation of speech: The position, shape, and movement of articulators or speech organs, such as the lips, tongue, and vocal folds.
- acoustic phonetics is concerned with acoustics of speech: The properties of the sound waves, such as their frequency and harmonics.
- auditory phonetics is concerned with speech perception: How sound is received by the inner ear and perceived by the brain.
Application of phonetics include:
- forensic phonetics: the use of phonetics (the science of speech) for forensic (legal) purposes.
- Speech Recognition: the analysis and transcription of recorded speech by a computer system.
 Phonetics and phonology
In contrast to phonetics, phonology is the study of language-specific systems and patterns of sound and gesture, relating such concerns with other levels and aspects of language. While phonology is grounded in phonetics, it has emerged as a distinct area of linguistics, dealing with abstract systems of sounds and gestural units (e.g, phoneme, features, mora, etc.) and their variants (e.g., allophones), the distinctive properties (features) which form the basis of meaningful contrast between these units, and their classification into natural classes based on shared behavior and phonological processes. Phonetics tends to deal more with the physical properties of sounds and the physiological aspects of speech production and perception. It deals less with how sounds are patterned to encode meaning in language (though overlap in theorizing, research and clinical applications are possible).
 See also
- List of phonetics topics
- International Phonetic Alphabet
- Speech processing
- Biometric word list
- Phonetics departments at universities
- NATO Phonetic Alphabet
- Buckeye Corpus
- ^ O’Grady (2005) p.15
- ^ a b O’Grady (2005) p.17
- ^ International Phonetic Association (1999) Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge University Press.
- ^ Ladefoged, Peter (1975) A Course in Phonetics. Orlando: Harcourt Brace. 2nd ed 1982, 3rd ed. 1993, 4th ed. 2001, 5th ed. Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth 2006. Japanese translation 2000.
- ^ Ladefoged, Peter & Ian Maddieson (1996) The Sounds of the World’s Languages. Oxford: Blackwells.
O’Grady, William et al (2005). Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction (5th ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s. ISBN 0312419368.
 External links
- the Web Site of the Phonetic Sciences Laboratory of the Université de Montréal.
- The International Society of Phonetic Sciences (ISPhS)
- A little encyclopedia of phonetics, Peter Roach, Professor of Phonetics, University of Reading, UK. (pdf)
- The sounds and sound patterns of language U Penn
- UCLA lab data
- UCLA Phonetics Lab Archive
- EGG and Voice Quality (electroglottography, phonation, etc.)
- IPA handbook
- IPA-SAM Phonetic Fonts
- Speech Analysis Tutorial
- Lecture materials in German on phonetics & phonology, university of Erfurt
- Real-time MRI video of the articulation of speech sounds, from the USC Speech Articulation and kNowledge (SPAN) Group
- Beginner’s course in phonetics, with some exercises
- Praat – Phonetic analysis software
- SID- Speech Internet Dictionary
- Extensive collection of phonetics resources on the Web (University of North Carolina)
 Further reading
- Abercrombie, D. (1967). Elements of General Phonetics. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.
- Ashby, Michael & Maidment, John. (2005). Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80882-0 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-00496-9 (pbk).
- Catford, J. C. (1977). Fundamental problems in phonetics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-32520-X.
- Clark, John; & Yallop, Colin. (1995). An introduction to phonetics and phonology (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19452-5.
- Gussenhoven, C & Broeders, A. (1997). English pronunciation for student teachers. Wolters-Noordhoff BV Groningen, the Netherlands. ISBN 90 01 16703 9
- Hardcastle, William J.; & Laver, John (Eds.). (1997). The handbook of phonetic sciences. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-18848-7.
- Ladefoged, Peter. (1982). A course in phonetics (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
- Ladefoged, Peter. (2003). Phonetic data analysis: An introduction to fieldwork and instrumental techniques. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23269-9 (hbk); ISBN 0-631-23270-2 (pbk).
- Ladefoged, Peter; Ian Maddieson (1996). The Sounds of the World’s Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.
- Maddieson, Ian. (1984). Patterns of sounds. Cambridge studies in speech science and communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Laver, J. (1994).Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Pike, Kenneth L. (1943). Phonetics: A critical analysis of phonetic theory and a technic for the practical description of sounds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
- Pisoni, David B.; & Remez, Robert E. (Eds.). (2004). The handbook of speech perception. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-22927-2.
- Rogers, Henry. (2000). The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics. Harlow, Essex: Pearson. ISBN 0-582-38182-7.
- Stevens, Kenneth N. (1998). Acoustic phonetics. Current studies in linguistics (No. 30). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-19404-X.