The Pronunciation of American English: An Introduction to Phonetics

The Pronunciation of American English: An Introduction to Phonetics

The Pronunciation of American English: An Introduction to Phonetics

The Pronunciation of American English: An Introduction to Phonetics

Excerpt

This book details a most important section of the study of our language. It deals with the sounds of American English, the base upon which such other areas of study as grammar, syntax, and the rhetoric of spoken and written discourse are built. In these and other branches of the study of our language, words are used to express thoughts, and the words of any language are the results of the sounds and silences we make when we speak.

The student is surely aware of the fact that each language has a special sound system. From that system the speakers of that language select certain combinations to construct the many varieties of words used by them. The student is equally aware that different speakers may be saying these same words somewhat differently. We have come to call one such sound system "American English." It is the subject of this book.

The study of the sound system of our language encompasses much that we know and much we still must seek. Within the past few decades especially, investigations in the special areas of phonetics, phonemics, dialect study, acoustics, and general linguistics have brought to light much additional information about the major sound segments of our language -- the consonants, vowels, consonant clusters, complex vowel nuclei, and their modifications in American English. The stresses, pitches, pauses, and melodies we use when we speak, and their effects on these sound-segments, have been the object of much study too. These areas of study comprise the subject matter of this text. There are other parts of the sound system of American English, to be sure. These would include tense and lax . . .

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