New course: Phonetics - Articulatory and Acoustic

Phonetics: Articulatory and Acoustic
Dr. Doron Modan
Course number: 37-596

Phonetics is a study of the smallest unit of language: speech sounds.

The course consists of two parts. The first part (about a third of the course) will be dedicated to articulatory phonetics, i.e., the way sounds of the world's languages are produced physiologically. We will address six factors which together describe any consonant: place of articulation, manner of articulation, state of the vocal folds, position of the velum, place of the initiator and direction of the initiator. We will study these factors with the help of examples from various languages. Vowels will be learned in comparison with the cardinal vowel system (reference vowels used to describe all vowels). All consonants and vowels will be learned using the International Phonetic Alphabet chart.

The remaining two thirds of the course will be dedicated to acoustic phonetics, i.e., analysis of the audio waves created during speech. Having acquired the fundamentals of acoustics, we will discuss acoustic cues of the different phonetic features that we studied in the first part of the course, such as place of articulation, manner of articulation and voicing (measurable as Voice Onset Time). We will trace these features using the PRAAT program (no prior knowledge is assumed). This will enable us, step-by-step, to discover what was said on a recording, by carefully examining a spectrogram. 

Time: Semester B, Thursday 8-12