Phonetics

Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. 


What is an example of phonetics? 

An example of phonetics is the difference between the pronunciation of "Z" and "S" in English. Our vocal cords vibrate when we pronounce "Z" but not when we pronounce "S".

Why is phonetics important?

Phonetics not only guides the learner in decoding the sound, it also helps them to know how a word must be spelt out while writing. When you spell a word with a phoneme, it is called Grapheme. Graphemes are the symbols that are used to identify a single phoneme – a letter or group of letters that represent the sound.



Types of Phonetics

1. Articulatory

2. Auditory

3. Acoustics

The transmission of the speech is dissected in these three parts:

Articulatory phonetics (Production) studies how the movement of the air stream and the speech organs coordinates in the production of the sound. Such as when we pronounce words like read, write, pen, and paper it belongs to articulatory phonetics.

On the other hand, auditory phonetics (Perception) is a vast area, where your ability to distinguish sounds, length, pitch, and loudness influences your reaction. It simply means your ability to decode what you hear and what you have perceived.

And Acoustic phonetics (Transmission) deals with how the sound travels through the medium of air between the mouth of the speaker and the ear of the listen. Meaning, how the sound wave travels from the speaker to the listener.

Why it is crucial to learn Phonetics!

1. Builds Confidence

When learners by themselves can decode sounds and their relation to the pronunciation of letters and their combination in words, communication becomes a natural process for them. Even when the words seem unfamiliar to them, instead of getting overwhelmed they will be able to associate words with clear conceptualization.

2. Helps in Recognition and Interpretation

Be it young learners or adults, once they know how to use phonetics in everyday life, they can easily recognize the sound each letter makes and how they must be pronounced when they are in combination with each other. One of the core objectives of learning phonetics is to make learners capable of interpreting the words even when they listen from a person having a different accent.

3. Helps to Spell Words Correctly

Phonetics not only guides the learner in decoding the sound, it also helps them to know how a word must be spelt out while writing. When you spell a word with a phoneme, it is called Grapheme. Graphemes are the symbols that are used to identify a single phoneme – a letter or group of letters that represent the sound. And effective communication can only be completed when learners can use the language appropriately in both reading and writing.

4. Improves Fluency

When it comes to the fluency of a speaker, two things matter the most:

Phonetics does take care of both. Fluency indicates the ‘ease’ with which one can read text. Moreover, when learners can decode words it builds a memory dictionary in their minds and with times this helps to build up the comprehension skill within oneself.

Phonetics - Syllabus

Level 1, 2, 3 

Syllabication (the division of words into syllables, either in speech or in writing)

Schwa (an unstresses vowel that sounds like a soft u(/uh/) or short i (i)

Morphology (important skill for students to develop reading & spelling)

Orthography (correct spelling of words)

Spelling Rules