At the end of this lesson, you will know about
The International Phonetic Association is a group of people who are interested in science of phonetics and in the practical applications of phonetics. It was founded in 1886 and it is still around!
The International Phonetic Association has developed a set of symbols and a notation system which is used to describe and write down all the sounds which occur in all the languages in the world. This system is known as the International Phonetic Alphabet. The symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet are summarised in the IPA chart, which makes the IPA chart a very important document for reference for phoneticians and phonologists. In that sense, you could say that for students of phonetics the IPA chart is as important as the periodic table of chemical elements is for students of chemistry.
It is very likely that you have already seen transcriptions in the Phonetic Alphabet, for example when the symbols are used to show the pronunciation of a word in a dictionary.
The IPA uses three features to characterise consonants:
Now please click here to find a blank consonant table and a list of speech sounds and words in which the sounds occur. Try and find the right slot in the table for each of the consonants.
You can click on the link with the right mouse button and then select "Save link as" or "Ziel speichern unter" and then save the file in your own directory.
If you have time, find more words in which the consonants occur.
The IPA uses three features to characterise vowels. These are:
This is the vowel quadrilateral for English. The quadrilateral is meant to represent the position of the tongue for the pronunciation of the various vowels (use your imagination or check the Handbook of the IPA (1999, pp. 11) for better illustration).
For each of the following words, find the corresponding IPA symbol for the vowel. Also, find another word as an example for each English vowel.
The words are: cut, shoe, head, hard, bleed, the, saw, hid, put, hot, had, bird
At the end of each session, I would like you to sit back, change perspectives and think: If you were the teacher, what would you set as exam questions after this session?
This exercise will help me when I put together the exam and it will help you because you need to think about the class again in a very focused way and, last but not least, you will get an idea of what you can expect when you take the exam.
You can send your suggestions to email@example.com. I will collect them and put them on this page for you.