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  1. Today • What is Phonetics? • Decoding the speech stream • Principles of phonetic transcription • IPA Readings: 3.1-3.2

  2. Phonetics • The scientific study of human speech sounds • How they are produced (articulatory) • How they are perceived (auditory) • Their physical properties (acoustic)

  3. “Why did Ken set the soggy net …on top of his deck?” X-ray movie

  4. Decoding the speech stream • The speech signal is a continuous stream of sound • No ‘spaces’ between words in speech

  5. Decoding the speech stream How many words in the following sentence?

  6. ...rather than his actual warning: “This guy is falling.” (true) Chicken Little parsed as saying: “The sky is falling” (untrue)...

  7. Decoding the speech stream How many sounds in the following words? ‘leaf’ ‘feel’

  8. Decoding the speech stream ‘leaf’ [lif] vs. ‘feel’ [fil] forwards ‘feel’ [fil] vs. ‘leaf’ [lif] backwards ‘lull’ vs. ‘llul’ backwards

  9. Decoding the speech stream • Sounds in a string are continuous, yet we perceive them as discrete, separate sounds

  10. Goals for Phonetics section: • Be able to identify human speech sounds • Learn symbols used for transcribing speech sounds • Describe and classify sounds according to articulatory properties

  11. Phonetic transcription • The most widely used tool in phonetics is transcription

  12. International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) • A standardized set of symbols for transcribing all possible human speech sounds • One-to-one correspondence between symbol and sound We will use “symbol” = IPA “letter” = spelling (orthography)

  13. Interactive IPA chart can be found at:

  14. Why use the IPA? • Some languages have no writing system • There is no one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds: • Same letter — different sounds dad, father, about, many • Same sound — different letters believe, people, amoeba, tree • Several letters used for one sound shoot, nation, chord, chip

  15. Why use the IPA? • One letter used for several sounds box, use • Some letters have no sound gnaw, sword, debt, damn, bomb [baks] [juz] [nç]...[bam]

  16. IPA preview • Some symbols will look and sound familiar: [b n w] • Some will look familiar, but sound strange: [x q] • Some will sound familiar, but look strange: [S T N] • Some will look and sound unfamiliar: [/ µ ß]

  17. IPA consonants [p]spit, tip, appear [b] ball, globe, amble [t]stack, pat, stuffed, pterodactyl [d]dip, card, drop, loved [k]skit, joker, attic, exceed [g]guard, bag, longer [/]uh-oh (the “catch” in your throat preceding both syllables), mitten [f]foot, laugh, philosophy, coffee [v]vest, dove, gravel [T]through, bath, thistle, ether, teeth [D]the, their, mother, either, teethe Hints: -Pay attention to how you SAY it; not how it’s spelled. -check your pronunciation against a native speaker’s.

  18. [s]soap, psychology, nice [z]zip, roads, kisses, xerox, design [S]shy, mission, nation, glacial, sure [Z]measure, vision, azure, casualty [h]who, hat, reheat [tS]choke, match, church [dZ]judge, george, jelly, region, residual [m]moose, lamb, smack [n]nap, snow, can, know [N]lung, thing, think, finger, singer, ankle

  19. [l]leaf, feel, mild, sleep [r]*reef, fear, prune, carry [R]writer, rider, latter, ladder, pretty [w]with, swim, mowing, queen, twin [j]you, beautiful, feud, use, yell * In the IPA, [r] is actually a trill like in Spanish “perro”. The IPA symbol for American ‘r’ is [®], but you can use either symbol since the text uses [r] for American ‘r’.