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  1. Phonetics. It’s nature and use

Phonetics deals with speech sounds. In Greek «Phoneticos» means pertaining to voice and sounds. The significance of Phonetics is evident since speech is the most important means of human intercourse.

In the process of historical development the need for communication created and perfected speech organs, gradually man learned to pronounce and modulate speech sounds into combinations of words and sentences.

Sounds of speech are segments interconnected with minimal distinctive units – phonemes, supersegmental units of speech – tone, stress and intonation are longer units of speech: syllables, words, intonation groups.

Ancient objects, drawings and written documents show that the voice and speech always fascinated man. For ex., in India more that 2000 years ago they had a science of Phonetics more advanced than any that had been known until very recent times. The results embodied in series of Sanskrit texts were first introduced to the West only some eighty years ago.

Here are some data connected with the History of Phonetic development:

  • 1829 – laryngoscope was invented;

  • 1852 – first observations of the vocal cords were made;

  • 1877 – Gramophone was invented;

  • 1886 – international Phonetic Association was founded (IPA). IPA stated Phonetic symbols (transcription) for sounds of many existing languages.

  • Phonetics is independent branch of Linguistics like Lexicology, Grammar and Stylistics. It studies the sound matter, its aspects and functions.

  • Phonetics formulates the rules of pronunciation for separate sounds and sound combinations. Consequently, phonetics is important in the study of language as it is a basic branch of linguistics. Neither linguistic theory nor linguistic practice can do without phonetics, and no language description is complete without phonetics, the science concerned with the spoken medium of language. No kind of linguistic study can be made without constant consideration of the material on the expression level.

2. Phonetics and other branches of linguistics

Phonetics is connected with many linguistic sciences, such as orthography, grammar, lexicology, stylistics.

- Phon-s formulates the rules of pronunciation for separate sounds and sound combinations. The rules of reading are based on the relation of sounds to ORTHOGRAPHY.

- It’s also connected with GRAMMAR, because it helps to distinguish singular and plural forms of nouns, the Past Tense and Past Participle of Eng. irregular verbs, nouns from verbs, adj-s. Phon-s is also connected with grammar through its int. component. Sometimes int. can serve to single out predication (утверждение) in the sen-ce: He came home.

In affirmative sen-ces the rising nuclear tone may serve to show that it is a question. Pausation may also perform a differentiatory function.

If we compare two similar sen-ces pronounced with dif. places of the pause, we’ll see that their meaning will be different.

- with LEXICOLOGY. It’s only due to the presence of stress in the right place, that we can distinguish certain nouns from verbs: “abstract–abst’ract (реферат-извлекать), ‘object-ob’ject (предмет-неодобрять). Homographs can be differentiated only due to pronunciation because they are identical in spelling. Ex, bow-bow (боу-плуг, бау-поклон), lead-lead (лид-руководство, лед-свинец)

- with STYLISTICS. Through intonation and its components: speech melody, utterance stress, rhythm. pausation and voice timbre, which serve to express emotions, to distinguish between dif. attitudes on the part of the author and speaker. Very often the writer helps the reader to interpret his ideas through special words and remarks such as a pause, a short pause, happily, angrily. If the author wants to make a word or a sen-ce specially prominent he uses graphical expressive means.

Phon’s is also con. with stylistics through repetition of words, phrases and sounds. Repetition of this kind serves the basis of rhythm, rhyme and alternation.

ONOMATOPOEIA, a combination of sounds which imitate sounds produced in nature, is one more stylistic device which can serve as an example of the connection between phon-s and stylistics (bang, purr, splash). The study of phon. phenomena from the stylistic point of view is called phonostylistics.

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