Miracles of Human Language, week 2

Check out week 1 here!

Week 2 ofย Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics focused on the sounds of language. There was a discussion of the difference between phonetics and phonology, the roles of consonants and vowels in language, how speech sounds are produced, and a comparison of the consonant and vowel inventories of world languages.

What I’ve learned

  • Phonetics deals with the production of speech sounds, while phonology is about the patterns of sounds within the language.
  • The IPA alphabet is a system of phonetic notation used to represent the sounds found in spoken languages.
  • Consonants differ from each other in three ways: place of articulation, manner of articulation, and voicing.
  • When incorporating a foreign word into a language, and that language doesn’t have a sound used to pronounce that word, the speaker will find the closest sound to pronounce the word.
    • For example, Hawaiian has a very small set of consonants. When integrating English words into the language, the closest IPA sounds are used for pronunciation and spelling. Christmas = Kalikimaka.
  • German has the largest number of vowel sounds of any language, at 14 different vowels.

Next week’s lesson

Week 3 will be about words and sentences. I’m looking forward to learning about the grammar rules of different languages!

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