Phonetics is concerned with the different sounds of a language in many ways: representation, production, physical properties and perception of the sounds of a language are the four branches that you will be introduced to in the following subchapters. The information provided here will serve as a background for the other chapters of the module phonetics & phonology, so please make sure to read through the texts carefully and to check your knowledge with the many exercises attached.

  • Representation
    Phonetic alphabets are designed (and necessary) for writing down utterances in a way that records how they sound. They are systems, in which each symbol represents only one sound, and each sound is represented by only one symbol. Use this subchapter to make yourself familiar with phonetic alphabets in general and the IPA in particular. Test yourself on various transcription exercises.

  • Production
    Articulatory phonetics describes how the human speech organs, also called vocal organs, or articulators, in the vocal tract are used in order to produce, or articulate, speech sounds. This subchapter provides basic information on the anatomy of your speech organs and on speech production that will come in handy when you work through the next subchapters on phonetics...

  • Physical Properties
    Acoustic phonetics studies the physical properties of speech sounds, i.e. the nature of sound waves produced in human language. You will find some interesting information on the physics of sound in this subchapter and will be introduced to several technical terms that you might find useful when someone asks you: What exactly is sound?...

  • Perception
    Auditory phonetics investigates the perception of speech sounds by the listener, i.e. how the sounds are transmitted from the ear to the brain, and how they are processed. Even though we will mainly be concerned with articulatory phonetics in this module, you will find various exercises that will challenge your perception. This is why you should become acquainted with how your auditory system works. This subchapter will explain to you, how your ears and brain work while perceiving language...

Once you have read through the information provided above, move on to the rubric

Airstream mechanisms

  1. Overview
  2. Exercises
  3. Tools