A bit of an aside
The focus of most posts over the past month has been squarely on grammar and syntax of English and that will continue. For everyone waiting for the promised Syntactic Hierarchy post, it’s still coming. I’ll try to get that posted within the next week. In the meantime though, following on yesterday’s post on the University of Iowa’s interactive English phonetics application, I am going to take a break from syntax and spend a bit of time on the phonetics, phonology, and orthography of English.
I’ll post a very plain language explanation of phonetics and phonology as a field of study and provide a very basic grounding in the organization of sounds within languages and the way in which these sounds are made. I want to make sure that everyone can feel comfortable with phonetics so I’ll explain everything in as simple as way as I can manage. The terminology of phonetics can be quite daunting and I must say it took me years to stop ignoring it for this reason. by the end of this week though, I hope that the terminology will make sense and be an easy thing to remember.
Once phonetics is broken down into easy to chew pieces we’ll move on to the sound system of English and compare sounds with spelling. It is my hope that this exploration of the phonological system of English (contrasting phonetics with orthography) will provide the basis for discussing many of the more peculiar spellings in English so that things that don’t make much sense now (such as the /h/ in what, the /w/ in who, or the spelling of words like laughter).
Look for about 5 posts this week…