Main branches of Phonetics
Phonetics is subdivided into four main branches. Articulatory phonetics is concerned with the study of sounds as the result of the activities of speech organs. It deals with our voice-producing mechanism and the way we produce sounds and prosodic phenomena. It studies respiration, phonation (voice-production), articulation and also the mental processes necessary for the mastery of phonetic system.
Three kinds of organs are involved in the production of articulated sound: the breathing organs (lungs, bronchi, trachea), the phonation organs (vocal cords, larynx, resonators), and articulation organs (tongue, palate, lips, teeth and glottis).
The air passes from the lungs to the bronchi and then to the trachea, in whose upper part the larynx is located. In the larynx, the vocal cords are located, two flexible muscles that vibrate with the passage of breathing time. If the vocal cords approach and vibrate, sound sounds are produced. On the contrary, if the vocal cords do not vibrate and let the air pass freely, deaf sounds are produced.
Sound articulation is known to the specific placement of the mouth organs (lips, tongue, palate, palate veil, teeth, alveoli, and hard palate) at the time the sound is produced. Due to the mobility of two of the organs of the oral cavity, the tongue and the lips, it is in it that most of the sounds originate.
Based on the description of the different organs involved in the phonation process, a classification of sounds can be established, such as:
- Vocal / non-vowel sound, if the air does not encounter obstacles at its exit.
- Consonant / non-consonant sound, if the air encounters obstacles in its exit.
- Sound sound, if the vocal cords vibrate.
- Dull sound, if the vocal cords do not vibrate.
- Nasal sound, if air exits through the nasal passage.
- Oral sound, if the air leaves the oral cavity.
- Compact / diffuse sound
- Interrupt / continuous sound
- Serious / acute sound
Auditory phonetics is related to the auditory perception of sound through speech