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Branches of Phonetics that correspond to the stages of pronunciation of sounds and syllables.

The subject matter of theoretical phonetics and role of Phonetics in teaching foreign languages.


Theoretical phonetics is mainly concerned with the functioning of phonetic units in the language.
Phonetics studies the sound system of the language, that is segmental units (phonemes, allophones), suprasegmental units (word stress, syllabic structure, rhythmic organization, intonation). Phonetics is closely connected with general linguistics but has its own subject matter (Investigation).
Thus phonetics is divided into two major components: segmental phonetics, which is concerned with individual sounds (i.e. "segments" of speech), their behaviour; and suprasegmental phonetics whose domain is the larger units of connected speech: syllables, words, phrases and texts.

Formation of phonetic skills is a prerequisite for an adequate understanding of the voice message, accuracy of expression and fulfillment of any communicative function of language. Therefore, work on the pronunciation of students begins with the first lessons of the initial stage and extends further to all high-school foreign language teaching.

With all the diversity and multidimensional process of teaching a foreign language and the importance of the role of phonetic skills should not be underestimated, because:

1) phonetic skills have a distinctive (discriminative) value. Because of the wrong pronouncing only one sound in a word, it loses or changes the meaning, and as a result makes it difficult to comprehend in speaking and listening.

2) phonetic skills are among the most "fragile", they are more exposed to failure due to insufficient or non-systematic inforcement. As a result of de-automatization of this kind of skills there is a "slippage" in the pronunciation rules of their native language and phonetic skills are lost and learners have difficulties in communication .

The same importance has intonation in teaching foreign languages. Non-syntagmatic speech, wrong intonation can distort the meaning of the utterance. Without correct intonation no one can express basic speech functions: to approve, to argue about smth., to doubt, to ask, to suggest etc. Also the stress and rhythm facilitate understanding.


Branches of Phonetics that correspond to the stages of pronunciation of sounds and syllables.


Human speech is the result of a highly complicated series of events. The formation of the message takes place at a linguistic level, i. e. in the brain of the speaker. Therefore we may say that the human brain controls the behaviour of the articulating organs which results in producing a particular pattern of speech sounds. This stage may be called physiological or articulatory.The movements of the speech apparatus disturb the air stream thus producing sound waves. Consequently the second stage may be called physical or acoustic.As any communication requires a listener, who perceives information, there is an auditory stage as well.

There are three branches of phoneticseach corresponding to a different stage in the communication.

1) The branch of phonetics that studies the way in which the air is set in motion, the movements of the speech organs and the coordination of these movements in the production of single sounds and sequences of sounds is called articulatory phonetics.

2) Acoustic phoneticsstudies the way in which the air vibrates between the speaker's mouth and the listener's ear, in other words, the sound wave. Acoustic phonetics is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds and uses special technologies to measure speech signals.

3) The branch of phonetics investigating the perception process is known as auditory phonetics.Its interests lie in connection between articulation and hearing.


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