Phonetics (pronounced /fəˈnɛtɪks/, from the Greek: φωνή, phōnē, 'sound, voice') is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

35
votes
11answers
9k views

What is it called when words are deliberately spelled incorrectly but pronunciation is kept unchanged?

For example, Night -> Nite Through -> Thru The -> Da Though -> Tho Nite even appears in some dictionaries as having the same meaning as night. What is it called when words are ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What did we gain in return for the loss of phonemic vowel length from Old English?

In Old English, vowel length was phonemic, but stress and certain kinds of consonant voicing were not. In Modern English, that situation is reversed: vowel length is no longer phonemic, but stress ...
14
votes
5answers
547 views

Regarding the “i” in “think” vs “bit”

This is a phonetics question. I am teaching English as a Second Language. In phonetics, we all know the "i" in "think" is a "short i" sound. Additionally, the "i" in "bit" is a "short i" sound. ...
13
votes
2answers
430 views

Describing the phonetic interaction between the F and the T in often

In the word often, the labiodental non-sibilant fricative f precedes the alveolar stop t, which is then followed by the vowel e. The Oxford Dictionaries Online offers two accepted pronunciations: ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I distinguish “can” & “can't” from pronunciation?

It's very difficult for me to separate them. I was just listening to some video and it said "Fat cells can’t reproduce themselves." What I thought I've heard is "... CAN reproduce ..." Frankly, ...
10
votes
1answer
139 views

Night rain vs Night train, gemination?

The Wikipedia article on gemination claims that gemination of /t/ is the distinguishing factor between the pronunciation of the two phrases night train and night rain. In my whole life, I've almost ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

American refusal of the IPA: why?

Are there any historical or political reasons for the rather consistent refusal of the International Phonetic Alphabet on the part of American academics? Did Mark Twain's ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Phonetic term for switching first two letters in a word

I read a grammar book a few years ago and remember coming accross a term for switching the first two letters in a word. I cannot for the life of me remember what the term is. An example would be the ...
8
votes
1answer
610 views

What does the phonetic symbol after the comma mean here?

I was checking the Pronunciation of enshrine from ODO which lists: Pronunciation: /ɪnˈʃrʌɪn, ɛn-/ Does it mean that there are two different accepted pronunciations?
8
votes
1answer
143 views

In English, can a whole syllable be aspirated?

Living in Merseyside, I've noticed a phonetic oddity that I can't find described anywhere [I did a Web search and found a transcript of Liverpool speech on a Liverpool University site, but no mention ...
7
votes
2answers
74k views

What is the difference between “phonetic” and “phonemic”?

I've read several descriptions but I still don't understand. From what I can gather, the main (or only) difference is phonemics is not concerned with "nondistinctive elements" but I don't know what ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the [ʊ] sound pronounced with lip rounding?

This [ʊ] sound is the vowel sound for words like hook, pull, and good. When I began to learn English a bit more seriously two decades ago, I used a book that taught me to pronounce it shorter and ...
7
votes
2answers
212 views

How widespread is labialization of [ʃ] and [ʒ] in 'dish' and 'beige'?

I'm reading The Sounds of Japanese (Vance 2008), which is an introductory textbook in Japanese articulatory phonetics. The first chapter lays out some basic concepts in phonetics, and although the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

When does realisation of velar nasal /ŋ/ as alveolar nasal [n] happen along with tensing of the preceding vowel (/ɪ/ to [i])?

I have observed some English speakers in North America who seem to produce this assimilation in words like "running" /ˈrʌnɪŋ/ (as /ˈrʌnin/) or "winning" /ˈwɪnɪŋ/ (as /ˈwɪnin/). I'm specifically ...
6
votes
3answers
458 views

'Sag' and 'slant': Is the vowel /æ/ the same in both words?

/sæg/ /slænt/ Transcriptions from Cambridge American English Dictionary Both the words' IPA transcriptions have an /æ/ symbol. Do those two /æ/s sound the same? Are they both short or ...
6
votes
2answers
876 views

Onomatopoeia Across Languages

Every language has its stock of onomatopoeic expressions, but they vary across nationalities and cultures. For example, the American “bow wow” (a rapper’s name) has its Japanese equivalent in ...
6
votes
2answers
691 views

What happened to voiced velar fricative [ɣ] and velar approximant [ɰ] in English language?

The voiced velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in various spoken languages. Wikipedia says that it is not found in English today, but did exist in Old English.1 Why did this sound ...
6
votes
3answers
165 views

'Parasitic' Phonemes

In searching for the reason for the message -> messenger shift, I came across the theory of the 'parasitic n.' Essentially, the idea is that during the post-Norman Conquests period in England, ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

phonetics vs. phonology [closed]

I'm reading an article about phonetics and phonology, and it clamis that they are different. But I can't locate where the difference is located. Referring to my dictionary, I can see: Phonetics: ...
5
votes
1answer
139 views

How can I teach an English speaking person to say my name correctly (Kjetil) [closed]

I have a purely Norwegian name, Kjetil. It is old norse and means "kettle" or "helmet". A couple of times now, aquaintances and new friends have asked me in chat or person how my name is really ...
4
votes
3answers
24k views

Is there a definitive spelling for the shortened version of “as per usual”?

A shortened version of the phrase “as per usual” is now used as slang when referring to something that is typical or expected, often in an exaggerated or hyperbolic manner. For example: Bill: ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does English really have triphthongs?

Does English really have triphthongs? EDIT/TDLR: It appears that quite a few people have misunderstood this question. In a nutshell, it is asking why many sources, even scholarly ones, claim that the ...
4
votes
2answers
170 views

Can you hear the difference between 'Writer' and 'Rider'? Why?

Apologies in advance for the slightly blog-like nature of this question. The Background Some of the comments in relation to this question here: Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position ... ...
4
votes
1answer
455 views

What is it called when a word is translated phonetically from a foreign language to English?

For example, the word "jihad." Translated, the word means "struggle" or "strive" and I am sure there are others. The word "jihad," is just taking the pronunciation of the word in the native tongue, ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Retroflex approximants in AE dialects

While looking up the best way to describe the aboriginal pronunciation of Uluru (/uluɻu/), I stumbled across retroflex approximants. The linked Wikipedia page states: The retroflex approximant ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Pronunciation of double G: soft “gg” versus hard “gg”

When I was a student, I was taught double G is normally hard, as in "agglomerate", "aggregate", "foggy", "aggressive", "dagger", "trigger", "niggard", "doggerel", etc, the exceptions being ...
4
votes
3answers
152 views

/ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ as phonemes?

From what I understand on phonetics/phonology, /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ can simply be considered as allophones of /ɪr/, /er/, /ʊr/, but most traditional dictionaries treat them as distinct phonemes. Is that ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Are what-cha and arent-cha examples of elision?

Are these words examples of elision? What effect do they create? If a child says them what does this suggest about their language development? Thanks for any help!!
4
votes
1answer
281 views

Plurals in phonetic spelling

If I spell doing as doin' then how should I spell doings? Would it simply be doin's?
3
votes
2answers
104 views

schwa sound in IPA?

I have a small problem in schwa sound: When I used Oxford online dictionary and searched "fossil", Its pronunciation is /ˈfɒsl/, but the Cambridge Dictionaries Online gave me: /ˈfɒs. ə l/ As you can ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How many phonemes are in the word “queen”?

I am in the process of digging into phonemes as a way to help teach our son to read. I don't remember ever having formal instruction on the role of phonemes in speech, and I am actually having a lot ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the proper way to mark a letter stressed in a name?

I have a friend named Chloe (pronounced Clo-ee). She writes her name using an accent mark over the e. A friend of ours thinks that the accent mark means unstressed, so that her name is pronounced ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Do we have any English dictionary that shows precisely both letters and diacritics?

Dictionary uses IPA to depict the sound. However, most of them do not include diacritics, and thus it is very hard for learner to distinguish the sound. See this quote from Wiki IPA symbols are ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Theoretical Phonemes [closed]

I have been looking at IPA recently and I was wondering if there are any sounds that can theoretically be created by humans but do not exist or have not existed in any known languages. Or maybe a ...
3
votes
2answers
148 views

Do we need to put extra sound W or J in front of L in the case of /ei+L/ or /ee+L/ or /ai+L/ or /oo+L/ or /oi+L/ in American English?

Ok, let see the sale /seɪl/, that is from IPA but when speak American English, do we have to put /seɪ-jl/ (sound like sei jo) Similarly, feel /fiːl/ will become /fiː jl/ or mile /maɪl/ will become ...
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Linking /r/ and elision

In one of my lectures after learning about several processes of connected speech (namely assimilation, elision and linking) we were faced with a transcription exercise with which I have slight problem ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

Why is “I believe in woman” ok? Or isn't it? (from Slade's “My Oh My”)

This first line of the song is I believe in woman, my oh my. I'm not a native speaker, but that sounds odd to me. I'd either expect women (I believe in women [in general]) or some kind of determiner ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How many “monophthongs” are there in RP? Do all the varieties of spoken English in the UK have the same number?

A monophthong is a pure vowel sound. The monophthongs can be contrasted with diphthongs, where the vowel quality changes within the same syllable, and hiatus, where two vowels are next to each ...
3
votes
1answer
262 views

The “Bibles” of American English Phonetics

Daniel Jones' Outline of English Phonetics and Alfred C. Gimson's Introduction to the Pronunciation of English are considered the "Bibles" of British English phonetics. Are there equivalent works in ...
3
votes
2answers
393 views

AmE Phonetics: T-voicing after <l>

Cut to the chase: While listening Eminem's track Headlights I've noticed a kinda voicing process in the sentence "You're still beautiful to me" around 1:13 on the song, where the preposition seems to ...
2
votes
5answers
118 views

How do I find examples where phonetic spelling is useful? [closed]

My son is learning English as a second language. Of course the phonetic alphabet is something they have to learn. Now he keeps telling me that it is a completely pointless endeavour, because he knows ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Should 'g' followed by 'e' and 'i' be pronounced with a soft or hard g? [closed]

In English, words with a 'g' followed by a front vowel (e, i, y) can be pronounced with a soft g or a hard g: Words with Germanic roots are usually pronounced with a hard g: gear, get, gift, give ...
2
votes
2answers
261 views

Unvoiced /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ in word final position

It seems to me that both /dʒ/ and /ʒ/ become voiceless (or almost) when they occur in word final position. Is this true? Examples: age, wage, courage, judge garage, sabotage, collage, mirage Does ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

'Travel' - Place of articulation of /t/

What is a place of articulation which best fits the initial consonant of the word: "travel." It looks like the first sound is /t/ therefore it should be alveolar, but in the Longman pronunciation ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

Missing sound: final skt letters

I've noticed that many Americans in movies usually omit letter k when it falls between s and t sounds at the end of any word like in asked, tasked, Can we generalize that as a rule, so the word ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Why is /e/ generally transcribed as 'ay'?

I’ve seen pretty often in phonetic transcriptions for English speakers who weren’t familiar with the IPA the phoneme /e/ or /ɛ/ transcribed as ay: Here "lejos" (/'le.xos/) is transcribed as ...
2
votes
1answer
738 views

Is there a word that means “over-enunciate the k sound”?

I am trying to say the word week but focus on the k sound at the end and really emphasize it. I tend to do this naturally in my everyday speech. It kinda sounds like an odd throat sound when I do it. ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Do “here” and “hear” have the same phonetic transcription in the same country?

Is there any accent that makes a distinction when pronuncing “here” and “hear”? From Wiktionary: Here (UK) /hɪə(ɹ)/ (US) /hɪɹ/ Hear (UK) /hɪə(ɹ)/ (US) IPA: /hiːɹ/ So, according to that, US ...
2
votes
2answers
131 views

Dissimilation: 'taper' from 'papyrus'

I was researching the etymology of taper {verb} which motivated this question. Observe that Etymonline's entry for the verb just rechannels to that for the noun: taper (n.) Old English tapur, ...
2
votes
1answer
218 views

Why Germanic type of Language (German, English,…) uses a lot of air from Lung to contruct the sound?

I speak Thai belonging to Sino-Tibetan language (Chinese, Japanese, Korean..). In Sino-Tibetan language, we mostly use tongue to construct the sound, we use very little air from lung to make sound. ...