lecture-4.2 - Lecture notes: 4.2 July 2, 2009 1...

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Unformatted text preview: Lecture notes: 4.2 July 2, 2009 1 Transcription So, why do we need a phonetic alphabet? Why don’t we just use English orthogra- phy for phonetics? Our English spelling system often fails to represent in an unambiguous way the sounds of the words. Different vowel letters and letter combinations often represent the same sounds: (1) Different spellings for the same sound: a. to too two through threw clue shoe suit coup b. sea see scene receive amoeba machine Aesop (2) Same spelling for different sounds: a. dame [e i ] dad [ae] father [ A ] call [ O ] sofa [ @ ] b. charter [ > t S ] 1 character [k] c. out [a U ] through [u] tough [ ∧ ] (3) a. sign [s] pleasure [ Z ] resign [z] b. pleasure [ E ] read [i] c. thin [ T ] then [ dh ] (4) Combination of letters for one sound: a. character [k] b. deal [i] c. physics [f] (5) Single letter for combination of sounds: a. exit [ E gz i t] axe [aeks] (6) Letters representing no sound at all: thou gh lis ten bom b mak e pneumonia knife ex hibit Bernard Shaw joked that “fish” could also be written: “ghoti,” as in rou gh, w omen, na tion The IPA was devised to provide us an accurate alphabet for the sounds of the world. Such an alphabet should be unambiguous – i.e. there should be no confusion about how to write a particular sound, or what sound any symbol represents; and it should correspond to the mental realities (e.g. of phonemes) of language. i.e. use different symbols to distinguish sounds that contrast; use diacritics to indicate nondistinctive differences. 2 The IPA is not the only such phonetic alphabet. Ideally we would like one convention to be adopted by all linguists, but this has not worked out. The most widespread attempt to standardize a phonetic alphabet goes back to 1888, when the first version of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) was established. Since that time, revisions and modifications have been made to iron out certain in- consistencies and accommodate more types of sounds. This is the alphabet which the textbook uses, and which we will try to master in this course. The conventions of the IPA suffer from certain biases which reflect the earliest con- cerns with the major European languages. The values of the sounds have been defined largely in terms of these languages, so that other uses are somewhat restricted. In some cases, it is obvious that the phonetic interpretation of various symbols was strongly influenced by their status in certain European languages. Despite certain drawbacks, the IPA remains a useful system for phoneticians and is used in a number of different countries. We can look at other standard transcriptions, and hopefully you will be able to make sense of them....
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2010 for the course LINGUISTIC 117 taught by Professor Farkas during the Spring '09 term at University of California, Santa Cruz.

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lecture-4.2 - Lecture notes: 4.2 July 2, 2009 1...

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