Join 3,516 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Phonetics
October 23, 2007 12:29 AM   Subscribe

Phonetics for beginners: play around with phonemes, start with the chart.
posted by Lezzles (27 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this--I'm going to try it with my ESL students.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:43 AM on October 23, 2007


You simply can't imagine how useful this is to me right now. Thanks a bunch
posted by Zero Gravitas at 1:04 AM on October 23, 2007


Yes! This is awesome, thanks!
posted by mdonley at 1:07 AM on October 23, 2007


Did anyone else learn to read nonphonetically? Phonics is an utter mystery to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:26 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else learn to read nonphonetically?
I thought I had learned to read phonetically... I have dim memories of phonics workbooks from 2nd and 3rd grade. But these symbols are totally unfamiliar to me, so maybe what I learned wasn't "real" phonics.
posted by hjo3 at 1:31 AM on October 23, 2007


For the uninitiated: International Phonetic Alphabet for English
posted by mdonley at 1:52 AM on October 23, 2007


ƆI
posted by MtDewd at 2:41 AM on October 23, 2007


People sometimes use other phonetic systems besides IPA, so it's possible you learned with a different system.
posted by grouse at 2:41 AM on October 23, 2007


Well, if you want to waste some bullets on Shoot-A-Symbol, forgetting that they want a non-rhotic transcription for "father" is a good start.

Brilliant post.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:02 AM on October 23, 2007


Back when they taught the system to me, we called it "phonics", rather than "phonetics". I've been consciously aware throughout the years of what a great tool it is to have. I fear no new word!
posted by Thorzdad at 4:37 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is great, we're going over language in my Psychology class. We did talk about phonemes, but I don't think it was properly defined. This does it perfectly.
posted by Chocomog at 4:47 AM on October 23, 2007


I fear no new word!

Precisely. For those of us not majoring in linguistics, a basic understanding of phonetics is a great awareness tool that helps us be better prepared us for all kinds of language learnery.

Languages other than your native one, too: even if you only know only ten words of, say, Turkish, if you've paid attention to the phonetics then getting a lot of compliments on how you pronounce them suddenly becomes really easy. :)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:47 AM on October 23, 2007


if you've paid attention to the phonetics then getting a lot of compliments on how you pronounce them suddenly becomes really easy

That's really true. It's become a lot easier to poke fun at our neighbors to the north once I learned to say "sɔɹi əbʌuɾ ðæɾ" on cue instead of "sɑɹi əbauɾ ðæɾ".
posted by oaf at 5:45 AM on October 23, 2007


As a professional phonetician, I'm really getting a kick out of these replies.

If you like the main post (I don't yet know if I do, but I haven't spent much time with it), you will also like the following web pages, from the late Peter Ladefoged:

The IPA chart with futuristic click-and-listen technology.

and

The contents page for Vowels and Consonants with plenty of cross-language (click-click-click)-click-and-listen fun.
posted by noahpoah at 5:50 AM on October 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


...start with the chart.

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! It's British! All the vowels are wrong!
posted by kittyprecious at 6:01 AM on October 23, 2007


Fun.
Did anyone else learn to read nonphonetically?
Yes. Phonetics is something I've always wanted a clue about, but I've had very little exposure to. It's utterly alien to me, but in a fascinating way.
posted by bassjump at 6:33 AM on October 23, 2007


Phone tics? Why would I want that?
posted by blue_beetle at 6:36 AM on October 23, 2007


I didn't learn to read phonetically either. We had nuns. With rulers. And grammar books. God help the student who stumbled. Reading through fear...but to be fair, everyone was literate.

I didn't use Phonics when I taught my son to read, (I didn't use rulers either...for the record), and he reads at about twice his expected level for his age.


But, and I'm not sure, we may be discussing two different fields. I'm not terribly familiar with phonics, but it sure seems to me to be a different animal than phonetics.
posted by Peecabu at 7:36 AM on October 23, 2007


Phonetics is the study of sounds in a language and speech production, and classification of sounds and description thereof.

Phonics is just a way of teaching people to read bettar.

Both stem from the same Greek root, so it could be confusing. Plus when you add the terms phonology, phone and phoneme it gets a bit confusing for those who haven't seen the terms before.

Can I buy another word root? D:
posted by taursir at 7:43 AM on October 23, 2007


As a professional Phonecian, I'm really getting a kick out of the great taste of Alpha-Bits.
posted by Reggie Digest at 8:22 AM on October 23, 2007


How many phoneticians are MeFites? That's 3 with me:)
posted by fcummins at 11:45 AM on October 23, 2007


Hijack: what's a convenient way to type IPA, short of tedious cut-and-paste?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2007


I never learned anything about phonetics until I trained to teach English as a second language. We had to learn the International Phonetic Alphabet, and although it took me a while to learn the symbols, it was a huge benefit to me. I wish all my ESL students knew the IPA or something similar, because it is much, much easier to teach pronunciation to students who know the symbols.

It really annoys me when pronunciation in an ESL textbook or dictionary is written out non-phonetically (for example, pro-nun-see-AY-shun) because it doesn't mean a damn thing to students whose languages don't represent sounds the way we do in English.

Knowing the IPA has also made it a lot easier for me to quickly transcribe sounds I hear in other languages, so that I can replicate the proper pronunciation. I had a Polish friend say basic phrases for me in his language and I wrote out the pronunciation for each one using the IPA. It worked beautifully--when I went to Poland I could just read off my piece of paper and at least my pronunciation was somewhat close to correct!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:01 PM on October 23, 2007


Brilliant, thanks.
posted by greytape at 2:25 PM on October 23, 2007


Goodnewsfortheinsane: depending on what you want to do with it, LaTeX and the textipa/tipa package.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2007


gnfti: If you want the Unicode characters, Wikipedia has a row full of them below every edit box.
posted by grouse at 3:41 PM on October 23, 2007


This interactive IPA chart is very useful. I have it bookmarked and return to it whenever I encounter IPA. It is similar to the one noahpoah linked to, but more fluid in execution.
posted by squarehead at 4:27 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


« Older Jon Ronson decides "I'm going to tell my son the w...  |  Warming Climate Fuels Mega-Fir... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments