1. Phonetics as a branch of a Linguistics

A. Definition Phonetics (from the Greek: phōnē, which means sound, voice, tone) 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

It is the science of human speech sounds of their articulation, identification and organization in words and sentences. It is also deals with stress and intonationIt is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs (phones): their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory perception, and neurophysiological status. 
Phonetics is concerned with human noises, the way men may transmit and receive sounds in the process of communication. We study only those sounds that bring organized information, i.e. meaningful sounds. They are the objects of the specific interest.

The field of phonetics is a multilayered subject of linguistics that focuses on speech. In the case of oral languages there are three basic areas of study:
1. Articulatory phonetics (relating to the formation of speech sounds) - is concerned with the articulation of speechthe position, shape, and movement of articulators or speech organs, such as the lips, tongue, and vocal folds.
2. Acoustic phonetics is concerned with acoustics of speech: The spectro-temporal properties of the sound waves produced by speech, such as their frequencyamplitude, and harmonic structure.
3. Auditory phonetics is concerned with speech perception: the perceptioncategorization, and recognition of speech sounds and the role of the auditory system and the brain in the same.

These areas are inter-connected through the common mechanism of sound, such as wavelength (pitch), amplitude, and harmonics. 

Applied Branches of Phonetics:
1. Historical (diachronic) phonetics: The development of the speech sounds of a language over time.
2. Descriptive (synchronic) phonetics: The study of the speech sounds of a language at one point in time.
3. Comparative (contrastive) phonetics: Comparison of the speech sound' of two or more languages.
4. General phonetics – studies phonetic laws, problems and principles in any language/ common of all phonetics/ general for any language
5. Special phonetics – Studies phonetics of a particular languages. Compares it to other languages (ex.: English theoretical phonetics vs.Bulgarian).

B. History of Phonetics - Phonetics was studied by 4th century BCE, and possibly as early as the 6th century BCE, with Pāṇini's account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today order their consonants according to Pāṇini's classification.

Modern phonetics - begins with attempts—such as those of Joshua Steele (in Prosodia Rationalis, 1779) and Alexander Melville Bell (in Visible Speech, 1867)  to introduce systems of precise notation for speech sounds.
The study of phonetics grew quickly in the late 19th century partly due to the invention of the phonograph, which allowed the speech signal to be recorded. Phoneticians were able to replay the speech signal several times and apply acoustic filters to the signal. By doing so, they were able to more carefully deduce the acoustic nature of the speech signal. 
Using an Edison phonograph, Ludimar Hermann investigated the spectral properties of vowels and consonants. It was in these papers that the term formant was first introduced. Hermann also played vowel recordings made with the Edison phonograph at different speeds in order to test Willis', and Wheatstone's theories of vowel production.
C.  Phonetic transcription - Phonetic transcription is a system for transcribing sounds that occur in a language, whether oral or sign. The most widely known system of phonetic transcription, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), provides a standardized set of symbols for oral phonesThe standardized IPA enables its users to transcribe accurately and consistently the phones of different languages and dialectsThe IPA is a useful tool not only for the study of phonetics, but also for language teaching, professional acting, and speech pathology.

D. Applications – applications of phonetics include:
1. Forensic phonetics: the use of phonetics (the science of speech) for forensic (legal) purposes.
2. Speech recognition: the analysis and transcription of recorded speech by a computer system.
3. Speech synthesis: the production of human speech by a computer system.
4. Pronunciation: to learn actual pronunciation of words of various languages.

E. Practical phonetic training - studying phonetics involves not only learning theoretical material but also undergoing training in the production and perception of speech sounds. The latter is often known as ear-training. Students must learn control of articulatory variables and develop their ability to recognize fine differences between different vowels and consonantsAs part of the training, they must become expert in using phonetic symbols, usually those of the International Phonetic Alphabet.  

2. Differences between speech and writing

Written and spoken language differ in many ways. However some forms of writing are closer to speech than others, and vice versa. Below are some of the ways in which these two forms of language differ:

1. Writing is usually permanent and written texts cannot usually be changed once they have been printed/written out.

Speech is usually transient, unless recorded, and speakers can correct themselves and change their utterances as they go along.

2. A written text can communicate across time and space for as long as the particular language and writing system is still understood.

Speech is usually used for immediate interactions.

3. Written language tends to be more complex and intricate than speech with longer sentences and many subordinate clauses. The punctuation and layout of written texts also have no spoken equivalent. However some forms of written language, such as instant messages and email, are closer to spoken language.

Spoken language tends to be full of repetitions, incomplete sentences, corrections and interruptions, with the exception of formal speeches and other scripted forms of speech, such as news reports and scripts for plays and films.

4. Writers receive no immediate feedback from their readers, except in computer-based communication. Therefore they cannot rely on context to clarify things so there is more need to explain things clearly and unambiguously than in speech, except in written correspondence between people who know one another well.

Speech is usually a dynamic interaction between two or more people. Context and shared knowledge play a major role, so it is possible to leave much unsaid or indirectly implied.

5. Writers can make use of punctuation, headings, layout, colours and other graphical effects in their written texts. Such things are not available in speech

Speech can use timing, tone, volume, and timbre to add emotional context.

6. Written material can be read repeatedly and closely analysed, and notes can be made on the writing surface. 

Only recorded speech can be used in this way.

7. Some grammatical constructions are only used in writing, as are some kinds of vocabulary, such as some complex chemical and legal terms.

Some types of vocabulary are used only or mainly in speech. These include slang.

3. Phonology and Phonetics  

A. Phonology - is concerned with the abstract, grammatical characterization of systems of sounds or signs. In contrast to phonetics, phonology is the study of how sounds and gestures pattern in and across languages, relating such concerns with other levels and aspects of language. 

B. Phonetics - deals with the articulatory and acoustic properties of speech sounds, how they are produced, and how they are perceived. As part of this investigation, phoneticians may concern themselves with the physical properties of meaningful sound contrasts or the social meaning encoded in the speech signal (socio-phonetics) (e.g. gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.). However, a substantial portion of research in phonetics is not concerned with the meaningful elements in the speech signal.

What is the difference between phonetics and phonology?

1. Phonology differs from phonetics in that it studies the form and the structure of the sound system of the language from the point of view of their linguistic function in the process of speech communication. Phonology studies the system of sounds units and their function. 

2. Phonetics stands for physical aspect, Phonology stands for the meaning of a word. 

3. Phonetics focuses on the physical characteristic of a sound, and phonology on its meaning.

4. Phonetics provides the means for describing speech sounds: the articulation of sounds; the differences between the sounds; etc. Phonology studies the ways in which speech sounds form systems and patterns in human languages. 

The phoneme is the smallest distinctive unit operating within the structure of the language which constitutes the sound system of the languages. 

While it is widely agreed that phonology is grounded in phonetics, phonology is a distinct branch of linguistics, concerned with sounds and gestures as abstract units (e.g., distinctive features, phonemes, morae, syllables, etc.) and their conditioned variation (via, e.g., allophonic rules, constraints, or derivational rules). Phonology relates to phonetics via the set of distinctive features, which map the abstract representations of speech units to articulatory gestures, acoustic signals, and/or perceptual representations.

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