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14. 12. 06 Phonetics - The world of speech sounds


14. 12. 2006 Phonetics – Realising Sounds

Phonetics – The world of speech sounds


  • Words, stems, etc are signs

The conceptual world

When I say the word „Apple Pie“ I produce the sounds (Phonology) /^pl pai/ and if I write it down you can read the letters a-p-p-l-e- -p-i-e (Orthography). When I say the word I have a special definition of the word „apple pie“ ( probably a pie made out of apples) or a model ( maybe of an apple pie I made before) in my head. Of course I could also look at the internal and external word structure. „Apple Pie“ is a compound made out of two nouns. But this all happens in my mind.

The real world

A real apple pie might look completely different than the model I had in my head or the definition I thought of.

What you can also see in the real world are the utterances of my pronunciation which is then called phonetics.


Speech transmission – Acoustic Phonetics

The Articulatory Domain

  • The IPA (A = Alphabet / Association)

  • The Source-Filter Model of Speech Production

The Acoustic Domain

  • The Speech Wave-Form

  • Basic Speech Signal Parameters

  • The Time Domain: the Speech Wave-Form

  • The Frequency Domain: simple & complex signals

Fourier Analysis: the Spectrum

Pitch extraction

  • Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Conversion

The Auditory Domain

  • Anatomy of the Ear

The Sourse- Filter Model

The Speech Wave Form ( „Tiger&ldquo

Speech Perception – The ear


  • Take a look at the model on the Interactive Sagittal Section website and practice with it to get used to the different combinations of active and passive articulators

  • pronounce all the sounds you form with the website, observing the movements of your articulatory organs

  • Download the Praat software on to your computer:

  • install it

  • read an audio file

  • experiment with the software

  • consult the help files

  • Take a look at models of the ear: summarise the functions of the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear

Outer Ear

  • microphone

  • pinna, ear canal, surface of ear drum

  • The outer ear is the most external portion of the ear.

  • The outer ear includes the pinna (also called auricle), the ear canal, and the very most superficial layer of the ear drum (also called the tympanic membrane).

  • In humans, and almost all vertebrates, the only visible portion of the ear is the outer ear.

  • The complicated design of the human outer ear does help capture sound, but the most important functional aspect of the human outer ear is the ear canal itself. Unless the canal is open, hearing will be dampened. Ear wax (medical name - cerumen) is produced by glands in the skin of the outer portion of the ear canal. This outer ear canal skin is applied to cartilage; the thinner skin of the deep canal lies on the bone of the skull. Only the thicker cerumen-producing ear canal skin has hairs. The outer ear ends at the most superficial layer of the tympanic membrane. The tympanic membrane is commonly called the ear drum.

  • The pinna helps direct sound through the ear canal to the tympanic membrane (eardrum). In some animals with mobile pinnae (like the horse), each pinna can be aimed independently to better receive the sound. For these animals, the pinnae help localize the direction of the sound source. Human beings localize sound within the central nervous system, by comparing loudness from each ear in brain circuits that are connected to both ears.

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7.1.07 16:22

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