Archive for the ‘Phonetics & Phonology’ Category

Phonemic Analysis

A phonemic analysis tries to answer the question: What is a permissible (phonological) word in a particular language? A ‘classical’ phonemic analysis consists of: i. an inventory of phonemes ii. a list of allophonic rules (including allophones of course) iii. a statement of phonotactics (environments) — which phonemes go where These three steps provide an […]


Phonology (Greek phone = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics closely associated with phonetics. Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function – within a given language or across languages. Phonology is the study of how sounds are organized and […]

Prosody – Suprasegmental Features

In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation, rhythm and vocal stress in speech. These suprasegmental (Prosodic) features are phonetic features that are not properties of a single segment, but a syllable or higher unit, such as stress, length, tone and intonation. Tone A contrastive pitch of syllables which conveys different meanings of a word. In languages […]

Syllable and Syllable Structure (continued)

The syllables we have looked at so far are fairly simple ones. We have not, for example, represented the difference between short and long vowels. Such distinctions are represented by attaching the segments of the syllable into timing slots referred to as the skeletal tier. In order to do this, the nucleus is branched and […]

Syllable and Syllable Structure

Syllables are often described as the phonological building blocks of words. Linguistically a syllable is defined as a unit of speech that is made up of a syllable nucleus (usually a vowel) and one or more optional phones. The syllable has two immediate constituents: – onset any consonant(s) that precede the nucleus – rhyme the […]

Narrow Phonetic Transcription

The transcriptions we have considered so far were phonemic transcriptions, (also used synonymously with broad transcriptions) which contain the minimum amount of phonetic detail needed in order to be able to distinguish between words. A narrow transcription contains phonetic detail which can often be predicted by ‘rules’. Today, we will discuss some of the main […]

Phonemic & Phonetic Transcription

Phonemic Transcription Phonemic transcription uses a restricted set of symbols to capture the meaningful sound contrasts of a language. e.g. The first sound in these words are usually aspirated, but as English does not contrast aspirated vs unaspirated plosives (phonemically) the difference is not annotated in a phonemic transcription. Phonetic Transcription Phonetic transcription uses a […]


Vowels are sonorous, syllabic sounds made with the vocal tract more open than it is for consonant and glide articulation. Different vowel sounds (also called vowel qualities) are produced by varying the placement of the body of the tongue and shaping the lips. Vowel articulations are not as easy to feel as consonant articulations at […]

Manners of Articulation (Summarized)

Plosives & Stops A stop or plosive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. The term plosive is reserved for oral (non-nasal) stops. Nasals A nasals are produced when the velum is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Trills In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal […]

Manners of Articulation

Fricatives Fricatives are articulated with a less extreme degree of constriction than stops and plosives: close approximation. Fricatives are produced by bringing together two articulators to the point where the airflow is not quite fully blocked – leaving enough of a gap for air to escape, but as the articulators are so close together that […]