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Branches of phonetics.

Phonetics has three main branches.

1)Articulatory phonetics is concerned with the positions and

movements of the speech organs such as the lips and the tongue

in producing sounds.

2)Acoustic phonetics is concerned with the physical properties of

the sound waves.

3)Auditory phonetics is concerned with the perception of the

speech sounds or the effect on the ear.

Phonetics has the following branches: 1) articulatory (physiolog­ical) and perceptive (auditory), 2) acoustic, 3) functional (linguistic).

Articulatory and perceptive investigation of speech sounds is done on the basis of a good knowledge of the voice and sound produc­ing mechanisms, their structure, work and perceptive (auditory) effects, that is—physiology and psychology. Articulatory phonetics makes use of such instruments and devices as: a hand mirror, laryn­goscope, artificial palate, graphical representations of sounds, pho­tographs and X-ray photographs, gramophone records and magnetic tape recorder. TV classes and special films are also very helpful for the investigation and study of the articulatory aspect of speech.

Acoustic properties of sounds, that is, quantity, or length, tamber, intensity, pitch, temporal factor are investigated by the acoustic and auditory branch of phonetics. Special laboratory equipment, such as kymograph, spectrograph, oscillograph and Monograph help to obtain the necessary data about
prosodic properties of speech sounds.

A kymograph records qualitative variations of sounds in the form of kymographic tracings,

A spectrograph produces sound spectrograms which help to list the frequencies of a given sound and its relative amplitudes".

An oscillograph records oscillograms of sound vibrations of any frequency. Automatically recorded oscillograms can be observed upon the screen.

An intonograph measures automatically: 1) the fundamental tone of the vocal cords, 2) the average sound pressure, 3) the duration or length of speech (pausation). The results are recorded: 1) visually upon the screen of the electron-ray tube, 2) on paper or film with the continuous reproduction by tape recorder, 3) in digits (while estimat­ing the limits of the recorded area along the screen of the electron-ray tube).

The phonological or functional properties of phonemes, syllables, accent and intonation are investigated by means of special linguistic methods, which help to interpret them as socially significant ele­ments.

Theoretical significance of phonetics is connected with the further development of the problem or the synchronic study and description of the phonetic system of a national language, the comparative ana­lysis and description of different languages and the study of the cor­respondences between them, the diachronic description of successive changes in the phonetic system of a language or different languages.

Practical significance of phonetics is connected with teaching foreign languages. Practical phonetics is applied in methods of speech correction, teaching deaf-mutes, film doubling, transliteration, radio and telephone.

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