Chapter 3: Phonetics

A key aspect of any language is its physical reality in the world: how we transmit linguistic signals from one person to another. This chapter explores this physical reality by looking at the body parts used for language, how they move to create a linguistic signal, and how linguists categorize, describe, and notate these physical properties so they can record and access information about a language.

When you’ve completed this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the locations and functions of parts of the human anatomy relevant to the articulation of spoken and signed languages,
  • Provide articulatory descriptions of given examples of phones and signs, and
  • Identify the meanings of many common symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet.



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Essentials of Linguistics, 2nd edition Copyright © 2022 by Catherine Anderson; Bronwyn Bjorkman; Derek Denis; Julianne Doner; Margaret Grant; Nathan Sanders; and Ai Taniguchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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