Thursday, 30 September 2010

Branches of Phonetics

            We have already learned that the phonetics performs three distinct but inter-dependent tasks, such as production, transmission, phonetics is divided into three branches - articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics and auditory phonetics. These three branches cover the study of speech sounds on the basis of concrete and  objective observation as well as scientific analysis. Let us now have more ideas of the functions of these branches.
  1. Articulatory Phonetics: Articulatory phonetics deals with the way in which speech sounds are produced. To produce speech sounds, we use different speech organs or articulators - lips, teeth, tongue, soft palate, nasal passage, glottal folds, lungs, etc. Different speech organs behave in different manners to articulate speech sounds. Hence, we can classify speech sounds on the basis of our experience of the speech organs, their inter-relationships and their behaviors. All these functions and factors are dealt with in articulatory phonetics.
  2. That is, articulatory phonetics studies speech organs as well as their movement and contact in the articulation of speech sounds, and provides us with as classification of the sounds used in a particular language and language in general. To brief, this branch of phonetics is concerned with how speech sounds are produced by which articulators.
  3. Acoustic Phonetics: Acoustic phonetics deals with the speech sounds that is transmitted through the air from the speaker to the listener. The transmission of speech sounds is constituted of some physical properties, such as frequency, and amplitude resulting in sound waves. These physical properties of speech sounds are analyzed and investigated in acoustic phonetics.
  4. Auditory Phonetics: Auditory phonetics deals with how speech sounds are received and perceived by the listener and to listen and realize speech sounds, he/she has to use his/her ears, auditory nerve and brain. Hence, the reception and perception of speech sounds create a complex process. This complex process is explored and analyzed in auditory phonetics.

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