Chapter 3 The Sounds of Language

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Phonology
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study of language sounds.
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phonetics
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identifies and describes language sounds
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phonemics
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analyzes the way sounds are arranged in languages
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phonetic chart
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a chart that shows all of the sounds of a language
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phones
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sounds on a phonetic chart
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phonemic chart
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a chart that shows only the distinctive sounds of a language
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phonemes
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sounds on a phonemic chart
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Acoustic phonetics
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studies the physical properties of sounds and the nature of the sound waves that they produce, including amplitude, frequency, and more.
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Auditory phonetics
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how sounds are perceived
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Articulatory phonetics
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studies how speech sounds are produced. It uses fieldwork to develop an understanding of how sounds in various languages are articulated, and it attempts to collect and catalog all of the sounds that humans can and do make and use in language. Sometimes call descriptive phonetics because it describes language sounds in detail. Most useful for field research and for research concerning the world’s languages.
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main areas involved in speech production
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lungs: which force air out larynx: where the vocal cords modify the air, creating sound waves supralaryngeal vocal tract: area above the vocal cords where the sound waves tak on distinctive shapes and become recognizable speech sounds
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Larynx Voicing
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As air moves through the larynx, it passes through the vocal cords (sometimes called the vocal folds). At this point either the vocal cords can be open and relaxed or they can be close together and vibrating.
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voiceless
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vocal cords are open and relaxed
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voiced
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vocal cords are close together and vibrating
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Articulation above the larynx
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After passing through the vocal cords, air reaches the mouth and nose areas (the supralaryngeal vocal tract) where there are a lot of ways that it can be articulated, or modified. One important way that the air can be modified is by constriction in the mouth, or oral cavity. The tongue, in particular, can be moved around in the mouth to affect the quality of the air moving through the mouth and nose areas. In addition, the velum can open and close the passage into the nasal cavity, and the lips can be opened or closed, so the way that the air finally escapes can be through either the nose or the mouth. All of these details of articulation will affect the outcome of a sound.
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place
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where the air is being modified in the articulation of speech sounds
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manner
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how the air is being modified in the articulation of speech sounds
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American Usage System
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In the 1940’s, as typewriters were becoming more commonly used, missionary linguist Kenneth Pike developed a set of phonetic symbols.
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consonants
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sounds with more constriction in the airflow
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vowels
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sounds with less constriction in the airflow
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Bilabial
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two lips
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stop
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stop the air
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bilabial stop
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put your lips together for a brief moment and then and then release air and let it continue. So, stopping the air with your two lips will give you either a [b] or a [p], depending on whether you let your vocal cords vibrate [b] or you keep them relaxed and open [p]. Information about voicing usually comes first when describing a consonant, so a [b] should be called a voiced bilabial stop and [p] should be called a voiceless bilabial stop.
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glottal
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in the glottis, or the space between your vocal cords
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pharyngeal
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in the pharynx, above your vocal cords
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uvular
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with back of tongue and uvula (hangs down in the back or your mouth)
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velar
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with back of tongue and velum (in front of the uvula)
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palatal
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with middle of tongue and hard palate (roof of your mouth)
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retroflex
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with tip of tongue and hard palate
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Alveopalatal
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with tip of tongue just behind alveolar ridge (the ridge just behind your teeth)
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alveolar
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with tip of tongue against alveolar ridge
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interdental
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with tip of tongue between the teeth
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labiodental
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with the lower lip against the upper teeth
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bilabial
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with both lips
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stop/plosive
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air stream is stopped, then released
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fricative
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there is friction in the air stream (the air hisses or buzzes)
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affricate
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combination of a stop followed by a fricative
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tap/trill
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like an ultrabrief stop: a tap is one toch; a trill is many fast ones
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approximant
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minimum obstruction to airflow, less than a fricative
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nasal
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velum is lowered; air resonates and escapes through the nasal cavity
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tongue place (also called tongue advancement)
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this refers to how far forward or back your tongue is in your mouth. For example, your tongue is farther forward for an ee[I] sound (as in English beet) and further back for an oo [u] sound (as in English boot)
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Rounding
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This refers to how you hold your lips — in a rounded or a flat (unrounded) position.
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segments
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phonetic charts show you the ordinary or basic sounds of a language
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nasalization
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letting sound travel through the nasal cavity instead of the mouth
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pitch
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higher or lower notes
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lengthening
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holding the sound for a longer period of time
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suprasegmentals
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additional modifications to the basic sounds over or above
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diacritics
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special set of symbols indicating additional modifications to basic sounds
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clicks
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voiceless
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implosives
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voiced
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phoneme
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sound that functions to distinguish one word from another in a language
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minimal pair
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pair of words in which a difference in sound makes a difference in meaning, and it is the clearest and easiest way to identify phonemes in a language
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allophones
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variant forms of phonemes. They are members of a group of sounds that together form a single phoneme.
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complementary distribution
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that the different variants (or allophones) are distributed between complementary (differing) word environments
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conditioned variation
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that the variation among allophones is thought of as conditioned (affected) by the sounds around them
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paralanguage
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Linguistic anthropologist George Trager coined the term to describe the sounds that occur “alongside of language”. Refers to how something is said (and perhaps is intended to be heard) rather than to what is said.
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voice cues
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the sounds could provide vocal cues as to how an utterance was inteded
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prosody
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has been introduced to describe paralinguistic features.
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voice segregates
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vocal gestures, they are not quite words, but they are often ascribed meanings and interpreted accordingly. These include sounds like mhm, shhh, tsk-tsk and other sorts of clucking, hissing, or grunting sorts of sounds.
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ideophones
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sounds that represent other sounds, in the category of paralanguage. These are sounds like bam, pow, and splat that call to mind the sounds that they mimic.
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speech substitutes
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systems of communication in which sound signals substitute for spoken words or parts of words such as syllables, or even specific phonemes. In most cases, these sound signals are made by either whistling or drumming.
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etics and emics
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Pike proposed the terms to describe the levels at which outsiders and insiders might identify cultural units, variants of those units, and patterning amonth the variants.
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Sound and sound combinations are numerous and varied, knowing the basics of sound production is an enormously useful tool.
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There are two phonetic charts; one for consonants and one for vowels.
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Phonology, the study of language sounds, is divided into phonetics and phonemics.
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consonant charts show where (place) and how (manner) a sound is articulated,
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phonetics identifies and describes language sounds
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vowel charts show height and place of the tongue and rounding of the lips
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phonemics analyzes the way sounds are arranged in a language
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Phonemics not only helps you to identify which phones are vital in a language, but also takes you deeper into a language than phonetics.
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phonetic chart shows all the sounds of a language
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With phonemics, you get an insider’s understanding of the language, which in turn enables you to become more aware of the culture in which that language is spoken.
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phonemic chart shows just the distinctive sounds of a language.
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A phoneme is a sound that distinguishes one word from another in a language.
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There are three different types of phonetics: acoustic (physical properties of sound and sound waves), auditory (how sounds are perceived), and articulatory (how speech sounds are produced).
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A minimal pair is a pair of words in which a difference in sound makes a difference in meaning. The minimal pair tie and die in English is an example that shows that /t/ and /d/ are two different phonemes of English.
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Phonetic charts are important because a language’s spelling system is misleading
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It is not possible to predict the distribution, or occurrence, of phonemes in a language.
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IPA assigns every possible speech sound its own unique symbol
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An allophone is a variant form of a phoneme.
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speech sound symbols provide an unambiguous system of phonetic transcription
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Allophones can also be thought of as members of a group of two or more sounds that together form a single phoneme.
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Kenneth Pike also developed a set of phonetic symbols, and this set was used by American linguistic anthropologists for many years.
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The distribution of allophones in a language is frequently predictable.
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Rather than memorizing phonetic charts and symbols, it is better to know the underlying principles of phonetic charts
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By understanding how a chart represents the place and manner of production of a sound, you can produce any speech sound on any phonetic chart
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Close study of the different allophones of a phoneme can revel distribution patterns of allophones in a language. For example, in English, aspirated {ph} always occurs at the beginning of a word, while unaspirated [p] always occurs in the middle of a word, following [s]. Together [ph] and [p] form a single phoneme /p/ in English.
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Parlinguistic cues are an important part of linguistic communication.
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Also called voice cues, paralinguistic cues provide information regarding how speakers feel about what they are saying
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Vocal gestures and ideophones can add punch to communication, and backchannel cues provide important feedback for conversations.
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Speech substitutes are systems in which sound signals substitute for words or parts of words and are especially useful in communicating over long distances.
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A good understanding of phonetics and phonemics is essential; by learning the concepts and analytic techniques, we can more readily understand cultures and languages.
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The general study of language sounds is called
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phonolgy
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The International Phonetic Alaphabet sympl [m] represents a
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voiced bilabial nasal
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Which of the following is NOT one of the three types of information included on a phonetic chart for consonants?
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rounding
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When you cannot find the pattern of complementary distribution among allophones in a language, you should consider the possibility that the variation among those allophones is conditioned by:
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social usage
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When the vocal cords are open and relaxed, the sound produced is called:
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voiceless
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Knowing the rules of complementary distribution of allophones in a language can be a useful tool for understanding and predicting the kinds of accents its speakers will have when speaking other languages.
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true
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A sound that functions to distinguish one word rom another in a language is called a
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phoneme
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Phonetic charts that show place manner, and voicing are most useful for:
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consonants
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Which of the following is the International Phonetic Alphabet symbol for a voiceless velar stop?
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[k]
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[p,b,m] are what type of sound?
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bilabial
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A minimal pair is a pair of words in which a difference in sound makes a difference in meaning, and it is the clearest and easiest way to identify phonemes in a language.
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true
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The detailed description (as opposed to analysis) of the sounds of a language is called:
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phonetics
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The study of the physical properties of sounds and the nature of the sound waves that they produce is known as:
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acoustic phonetics
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Phonetic charts for vowels are most useful if they show:
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tongue height, tongue place, and lip rounding
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A pair of words in which a difference in sound makes a difference in meaning is called a :
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minimal pair
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The units of analysis in phonetics are phonemes, and the units of analysis in phonemics are phones.
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false
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The study of how sounds are perceived is known as:
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auditory phonetics
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The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is the only phonetic alphabet in use today.
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false
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[p,t,k] is what type of sound?
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voiceless
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_______ identifies and describes language sounds. ______ analyzes the way sounds are arranged in languages.
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Phonetics/Phonemics

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