January 20, 2020 2

Articulatory Phonetics Introduction to International Phonetic Alphabet

Articulatory Phonetics Introduction to International Phonetic Alphabet


Hey everybody welcome back! Thanks so much for joining us again. We will be talking about articulatory phonetics and continuing the discussion. Articulatory
phonetics is again the study of how speech sounds are produced in the vocal tract. In this video we will
focus on how to navigate the international phonetic alphabet chart. If you haven’t already, I would really
encourage you to look at two other videos first before you look at this one. A video on how linguists describe consonant sounds. and how linguists describe vowel sounds because the criteria that linguists use for describing both of those sounds are really important for understanding how to navigate the international
phonetic alphabet. So why do we even need? The IPA or the International Phonetic
Alphabet you may ask. Well. Consider some of the problems that
are inherent to the English writing system. The English writing system in its
current form is basically a hangover of old English. So you might have one letter that
actually can be realized as a number of different sounds. Conversely you might have multiple sounds that could be encoded in just one letter. So that’s why we need
the international phonetic alphabet and it was devised as a way of
introducing more one to one correspondence between
sound and symbol. So if you hear a certain sound then you always write it with a certain symbol. And conversely one symbol
always represents the same sound. So first let’s talk a bit about how to navigate the international
phonetic alphabet chart for consonants. Here you see the IPA chart for consonants with the sound used in English highlighted. On the left-most column
we have the manners of articulation while the top-most row represents
the places of articulation. Within each of the boxes
IPA symbols representing voiceless sounds are placed to the left and symbols representing voiced sounds
are placed to the right. You may also notice that some boxes are empty with either white or gray space
if it’s gray space it actually means that those cells are
judged anatomically impossible to produce whereas the boxes with just white space
mean that there are no known languages that are tested to use that sound. Now let’s talk about
the IPA chart for vowels. As you can see only monophthong vowels
are represented here. In the vertical domain on this diagram
represents “vowel height”. while the horizontal domain represents
“vowel backness”. Where pairs of symbols occur, rounded vowels are represented on the
right hand side while un-rounded vowels are represented
on the left hand side. It is worth noting that the only rounded
vowels used in North American English are all back vowels. Just a brief note on
representing diphthong vowels. Remember that diphthongs involve
two vowel qualities. so the diphthong [eɪ] (as in ‘face’ [feɪs]) starts out at [e] and ends at [ɪ]. [aɪ] (as in ‘lie’ [laɪ]) starts at [a] and ends at [ɪ]. [aʊ] (as in ‘house’ [haʊs]) starts at [a] and ends at [ʊ]. [oʊ] (as in ‘row’ [roʊ]) starts at [o] and ends at [ʊ]. and finally [ɔɪ] (as in ‘boy’ [bɔɪ]) starts at [ɔ] and ends at [ɪ]. Alright. So what did we cover in this
video? We first talked about the need for the
international phonetic alphabet and then we talked about how to navigate
the IPA chart for consonants and for vowels. Just a couple resources you might be interested in. First do be sure to check out the other videos on the criteria linguists use to describe
consonant sounds as well as the video for describing vowel sounds and also if you access the site
you can see the interactive IPA chart which will also give you links to
images of ultrasounds which show you exactly what your tongue
and other articulators in the vocal track are doing during the speech process as well as diagrams for the vocal tract
more generally. That’s it for this video. Thanks so much for watching!

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