Phonetics is the study of the oral mode of communication. Phoneticians are mostly concerned with spoken language (speech) but may also investigate extralinguistic sounds such as encouragement or annoyance sounds. Phonetics is distinguished from phonology. Whereas phonetics studies the form of speech (e.g., how different types of sounds are produced), phonology studies the function of speech in a particular language or language variety (e.g., the types of syllables and sound combinations allowed). Thus, one can describe both the phonetics of a particular language and the phonology of that language, and one can have general phonetics (i.e., the description of speech in general not restricted to any specific language) and general phonology (i.e., concerned with building theories of phonological representation). This entry provides an overview of ...

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