Differences Between Phonetics and Phonology

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UNIVERSITY OF LIVINGSTONIA LAWS CAMPUS-FACULTY OF EDUCATION DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGES & LITERATURE STUDIES FROM: PENJANI M. K. GONDWE-BED/008/10 {STUDENT} TO: MR. J. M. W. ZIMBA {LECTURER} {SUBJECT}: ENGLISH {COURSE TITLE}: INTRODUCTION TO PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY {COURSE CODE}: EENG 2401 {YEAR OF STUDY}: TWO {SEMESTER}: FOUR {TASK}: DISCUSS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY {SUBMISSION DATE}: 29TH MARCH, 2012 According to Firth (1930) phonetics and phonology are the two fields dedicated to the study of human speech sounds and sound structures. The difference between phonetics and phonology, by definition, is that phonetics is the field of language study concerned with the physical properties of sounds, and it has three…show more content…
For example, the word bet is very similar to the word bed in terms of the physical manifestation of sounds. The only difference is that at the end of bet, the vocal chords stop vibrating so that sound is a result only of the placement of the tongue behind the teeth and the flow of air. However, the meanings of the two words are not related in the least. What a vast difference a muscle makes! This is the biggest distinction between phonetics and phonology, although phonologists analyse a lot more than just the obvious differences. They also examine variations on single letter pronunciations, words in which multiple variations can exist versus those in which variations are considered incorrect, and the phonological grammar of languages. Phonology should be carefully distinguished from phonetics. As already alluded, phonetics concerns with the physical production, acoustic transmission and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages to encode meaning. In other words, phonetics is a type of descriptive linguistics whereas phonology is a type of theoretical linguistics. It should be noted, however, that this distinction was not always made in linguistics, particularly before the development of the modern concept of phoneme in the mid 20th century. Some subfields of modern phonology have a crossover with phonetics in the interface with descriptive disciplines such as psycholinguistics and
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