Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Advanced Textbook on Phonetics or the Science of Speech

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Advanced Textbook on Phonetics or the Science of Speech

Article excerpt

Advanced Textbook on Phonetics or the Science of Speech Ratree Wayland. Phonetics: A Practical Introduction. 282pp, b/w images. ISBN: 978-1-108-40707-6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2019

My research leans heavily on linguistics, so this is a useful book to add to my collection. Let's review the summary: "Speech... exists physiologically as neural and muscular activity, and subsequent articulatory, acoustic and auditory events, and as an abstract, rulegoverned system at the psychological level. Together, both levels produce communication by speech." This strays away from the types of linguistics most relevant to my research; I study linguistic patterns in writing that help to indicate authorial attribution or distinguish different geographic regions. The muscles involved in forming speech are a very specialized subset of phonetics. It is difficult to tell who other than researchers in this field would benefit from these insights. It further covers "the three areas of phonetics: articulatory, acoustic, and auditory or speech perception." The editor acknowledges that these topics are likely to be convoluted for most: "Students without a linguistics background can be daunted by phonetics, so clear language is used to define linguistics and phonetics concepts with examples and illustrations to ensure understanding." I have read books before that have tried but failed to achieve this when discussing "perception". "Furthermore, each chapter concludes with comprehension exercises to reinforce understanding." This indicates that this book is intended for undergraduate and graduate classes on this topic, as these exercises are designed to help the teacher prepare students for tests. "Online exercises and recordings of speech stimuli from various languages provide additional opportunity to hone perception, production, phonetic transcription skills and acoustic analysis measurement practice. …

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