Phonetics is the study of the sounds of language.In any language we can identify a small number of regularly used sounds (vowels and consonants) that we call phonemes. Phonetics is the way words and letters are pronounced. If you know how to pronounce things, then when you see a word written down, you can figure out how it’s pronounced.It helps us to understand the ethics of sound and it enhances our pronunciation skills and also develops confidence in ones self.
Since most kids learn how to talk before they can read, knowing how to say a word usually means you know what the word means.In its widest sense it is the “science of voice,” dealing not only with articulate, but also with the inarticulate sounds of animals as well as men.The field of phonetics is a multiple layered subject of linguistics that focuses on speech.
In the case of oral languages there are three basic areas of study:
Articulatory phonetics: the study of the production of speech sounds by the articulatory and vocal tract by the speaker
Acoustic phonetics: the study of the physical transmission of speech sounds from the speaker to the listener
Auditory phonetics: the study of the reception and perception of speech sounds by the listener.The branch of phonetics that studies the way in which the air is set in motion, the movements of the speech organs and coordination of these movements, in-the production of single sounds and trains of sounds is called articulatory phonetics.
Acoustic phonetics studies the way in which the air vibrates between the speaker’s mouth and the listener’s ear. until recently, articulatory phonetics has been the dominating branch, and most descriptive work has been done in articulatory terms.
The branch of phonetics investigating the hearing process is known as auditory phonetics Its interests lie more in the sensation of hearing, which is brain activity, than in the physiological working of the ear or the nervous activity between the ear and the brain. The means by which we discriminate sounds – quality, sensation of pitch, ” loudness and length”, are relevant here. The noises we hear may be classified in terms of three features : continuity, resonance and timber.