Aspects of English studies are not limited articles, pronouns, adjectives and the few grammatical rules and nuances we learn about in class. True, in depth study of English requires extensive research, understanding and specific areas of study. Phonetics is one such area of study. Most teachers know and understand the basic areas of phonetics because it is important to teach this to children while they are studying English language.
Phonetics is not only crucial at the initial stages of learning, but many foreign language speakers require training as well in order to pronounce correctly and live in a region where English is the main language of communication.
What is Phonetics?
Phonetics is the study of the sound of words, articles and other elements. It is basically the study of human speech and sounds. There are many sub-topics related to phonetics. Understanding the details of such an area of linguistics is complicated and difficult but extremely important. The areas of concern are varied. For better understanding students should search several professional online websites, so that they can clear their confusion about phonetics.
For example, it involves sounds or signs – as in the case of sign language and various properties like acoustic, auditory, and neurophysiological aspects.
Fields of Phonetics
- Articulatory Phonetics:
It is the study of various physiological structures via which articulation and various sounds of speech produced by humans. There are two specific classes of sounds that are studied under this subtopic. These are consonants and vowels. These sounds are studied via the air passing through our vocal tract.
Keeping this in mind, consonants are sounds made by the restriction of airflow. Vowels include nasal, oral, open, close, rounded, unrounded, previous and later vowels.
- Acoustic Phonetics:
This field involves the way sounds are heard or the study of transmission of sounds from the speaker to a listener. Acoustics include the analysis of amplitudes, waveform, frequency and other branches that contribute to the study. A great contributor to this field was study was the Edison Phonograph that allowed sound to be recorded and heard later for analysis.
- Auditory Phonetics:
The study of speech and sounds received by the listener is known as auditory phonetics. Being a whole other field of analytics, it is crucial to study this on its own for a more informed and comprehensive understanding.
Importance of Phonetics
- Most of us do not remember the basics about phonetics that we were taught as children because it was many years ago. However, if you are not a native English speaker or if you have an interest in studying the subject in details, then the importance of such a topic is invaluable.
- Not only does the studying this aid in understanding English but it also helps you understand various other languages in relation to English.
- For a non-native speaker, understanding the theory refines pronunciation, articulation and overall speech.
- It bridges the gaps between people who speak different languages.
- Increase one’s knowledge of English language.
- Different words may have different pronunciations or vice versa. Being able to understand when a word is used or how it is pronounced within a certain context requires a sound knowledge of phonetics.
How to Study Phonetics
Like most other subjects that one studies in college or university, in order to study it, there must be a love and passion for the subject. Without this basic requirement, enhancing an interest in it will be fairly strenuous.
Below are few tips on how to hone your studying habits while studying phonetics.
- Read Continuously
Because of the number of experiments and studies done on this subtopic of linguistics, it is important to read and learn as much about it as possible. Any areas of confusion or difficulty can be solved by reading. The more you read, the more you learn and more you learn, the more can be understood.
Phonetics does not only deal with sound, but there is a lot of in depth, scientific theory involved as well. Understanding these aspects requires a sound knowledge of physics too.
- Refrain from Procrastination
When you’ve been assigned homework or projects, it is advisable not to procrastinate. Get started on research and attempting to solve problems before it gets too late. Doing so will give you enough time to ask for any help, if required. It will also give you time to search for information that substantiates your answers and essays. By procrastinating, the chances of submitting assignments on time will be slim.
As a result, the marks of obtained will be well below what is expected or deserved. To submit good quality work, put in an effort from the very beginning of the semester. This is also a part of top 10 tips to complete your chemistry homework quickly.
- Take Notes
There are a lot of facts and figures that must be remembered. To do so successfully, take down notes as your teacher speaks. This will help you remember what has been taught that day, as well as, retain any important information that can be used for future purposes. Go over these notes regularly so aid in memory retention and understanding.
- Ask for Help
If you are a foreign student trying to learn English, remember, the key is being able to ask for help. Learning a new language is only fun if you have someone to support and nurture your growth. Ask a friend, tutor or teacher for help whenever a problem crops up. This will increase your rate of study. Each person will have something new to teach you; thus, increasing your fluency by leaps and bounds.
If the aim is fluency in English then the best way to accomplish this is through practice. Consciously speak in English even when it is necessary. Allow people to correct you without getting offended. Ideally, practicing English speech with a native speaker is recommended.
From the above, it is obvious that phonetics is crucial to the study of English language and literature. It is one of the corner stones that support the language. While studying it, ensure that you are focused and determined. Not only will it enhance your language skills but your ability to communicate will improve as well. At the end of the day, communication is vital in day to day life.