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Phonetics & Phonology


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ablaut
Alternation in the vowels of related word forms, especially in Germanic strong verbs.
affricate
A phoneme which combines a plosive with an immediately following fricative or spirant sharing the same place of articulation.
allophone
Any of the various phonetic realisations of a phoneme in a language, which do not contribute to distinctions of meaning.
alveolar
(of a consonant) pronounced with the tip of the tongue on or near the alveolar ridge.
bilabial
(of a speech sound) formed by closure or near closure of the lips?
cardinal vowels
Each of a series of vowel sounds used as a standard reference point to assist in the description and classification of vowel sounds in any language.
consonant
A basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partly obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable.
contrastive
Refers to any elements which are in opposition to each other. A phonetic distinction is contrastive if it has significance on the phonological level, i.e. if it distinguishes meaning.
dental
(of a consonant) pronounced with the tip of the tongue against the upper front teeth (as th) or the alveolar ridge.
devoiced
A voiced speech sound, pronounced without vibration of the vocal cords, making it voiceless.
diphthong
A sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another
discrete
A characteristic of human language where there is no continuous transition from one unit to another.
fricative
Denoting a type of consonant made by the friction of breath in a narrow opening, producing a turbulent air flow.
glide
A sound produced as the vocal organs move towards or away from articulation of a vowel or consonant.
glottal
A term referring to sounds produced by a closing of the vocal folds.
homophone
Each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling.
homorganic
Any set of sounds which are articulated at the same point in the vocal tract.
intonation
That part of the sound system of a language which involves the use of pitch to convey information. It consists of both accent (concerns individual words) and sentence melody (concerns word groups).
IPA
A system of transcribing the sounds of languages which consists of some Latin and Greek letters and a variety of additional symbols and diacritics. The goal is to represent each recognisable sound in a unique fashion. The IPA was developed at the end of the last century; the acronym stands for International Phonetic Alphabet.
labial
(of a consonant) requiring partial or complete closure of the lips (e.g. p, b, f, v, m, w), or (of a vowel) requiring rounded lips (e.g. oo in moon).
labio-dental
(of a sound) made with the lips and teeth.
labio-velar
(of a sound) made with the lips and soft palate.
manner of articulation
The formation of a speech sound by constriction of the air flow in the vocal organs at a particular place (e.g. the tongue, teeth, or palate) and in a particular way (as a plosive, affricate, etc.).
minimal pair
Any two words which are only distinguished by one feature.
monophthong
A vowel that has a single perceived auditory quality.
nasal
(of a speech sound) pronounced by the breath resonating in the nose.
palatal
(of a speech sound) made by placing the blade of the tongue against or near the hard palate.
palatalisation
Making (a speech sound) palatal, especially by changing a velar to a palatal by moving the point of contact between tongue and palate further forward in the mouth.
palato-alveolar
(of a consonant) articulated by placing the tongue against the alveolar ridge and close to the hard palate.
paradigmatic
Of or denoting the relationship between a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles.
phone
A speech sound; the smallest discrete segment of sound in a stream of speech.
phoneme
Any of the perceptually distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from another.
phonemics
The study of phonemes or distinct units of sound in a language.
phonetic
A reference to a phenomenon in the area of phonetics (often as opposed to phonology).
phonetics
The study and classification of speech sounds for a specific language.
phonological
A reference to the phonology of a language, i.e. to the deeper and more abstract organisation of the sounds of a language.
phonology
The system of contrastive relationships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundamental components of a language.
pitch
The quality of a sound governed by the rate of vibrations producing it; the degree of highness or lowness of a tone.
place of articulation
The point in the vocal tract at which a sound is produced. This can be anywhere from the lips at the front to the glottis.
plosive
Denoting a consonant that is produced by stopping the airflow using the lips, teeth, or palate, followed by a sudden release of air.
rhotic
Relating to or denoting a dialect or variety of English (e.g. in most of the US and south-western England) in which r is pronounced before a consonant (as in hard) and at the ends of words (as in far).
rhythm
All the patterns of strong and weak syllables in a language.
schwa
The unstressed central vowel (as in a moment ago), represented by the symbol /ə/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
sibilant
(of a speech sound) sounded with a hissing effect.
stop
A consonant produced with complete closure of the vocal tract.
stress
Emphasis given to a particular syllable or word in speech, typically through a combination of relatively greater loudness, higher pitch, and longer duration.
syntagmatic
Of or denoting the relationship between two or more linguistic units used sequentially to make well-formed structures.
transcription
A system of representing sounds in writing unambiguously.
unstressed
(of a syllable) not pronounced with stress.
vocal folds
Two muscular folds running from the front of the thyroid cartilage backwards to the front ends of the arytenoid cartilages.
voiced
A feature which characterises sounds that are produced with vibration of the vocal folds.
voiceless
A feature which characterises sounds that are produced without vibration of the vocal folds.
vowel
A speech sound which is produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract, with vibration of the vocal cords but without audible friction, and which is a unit of the sound system of a language that forms the nucleus of a syllable.