Sounds of speech, patterns of merging sounds, sound combinations - this is all that phonetics studies. This science is a branch of one big discipline - linguistics, which explores language as such.
Basics of Phonetics
To make it clearer what phonetics studies, it is enough to imagine the structure of any language. Within it there is an important connection between internal, oral and written speech. Phonetics is the very science that studies these constructions. Important disciplines for her are orthoepy (pronunciation rules) and graphics (writing).
If you combine a letter (sign) and its sound into a single picture, you get an important instrument of human speech. This is exactly what phonetics studies. In addition, she also explores the material side of pronunciation, that is, the tools that a person uses in his speech. This is the so-called pronunciation apparatus - a set of organs necessary for articulation. Phonologists consider the acoustic characteristics of sounds, without which normal communication is impossible.
The emergence of phonetics
To understand what phonetics studies, it is also necessary to turn to the history of this science. Firststudies on the sound structure of the language appeared among the ancient Greek philosophers. Plato, Heraclitus, Aristotle and Democritus were interested in the device of speech. So in the 7th century BC. e. grammar appeared, and with it, phonetic analysis and the division of sounds into consonants and vowels. These were only the preconditions for the birth of modern science.
In the Age of Enlightenment, European scientists for the first time wondered about the nature of the formation of sounds. The founder of the acoustic theory of vowel reproduction was the German physician Christian Kratzenstein. The fact that it was physicians who became the pioneers of phonetics is not really surprising. Their studies of speech were of a physiological nature. In particular, doctors were interested in the nature of deaf-mutism.
In the 19th century, phonetics studied all the world's languages. Scientists have developed a comparative-historical method for studying linguistics. It consisted in comparing different languages in relation to each other. Thanks to such a phonetic analysis, it was possible to prove that different dialects had common roots. There were classifications of languages by large groups and families. They were based on similarities not only in phonetics, but also in grammar, vocabulary, etc.
So why study phonetics? The history of its development shows that without this discipline it is difficult to understand the nature of the national language. For example, the phonetics of Russian speech was first studied by Mikhail Lomonosov.
He was a generalist and specialized more in natural science. However, the Russian language has always interested Lomonosov precisely from the point of view of public speaking. The scientist was a famous rhetorician. In 1755, he wrote "Russian Grammar", which explored the phonetic foundations of the Russian language. In particular, the author explained the pronunciation of sounds and their nature. In his research, he used the latest theories of European linguistic science at that time.
International Phonetic Alphabet
In the 18th century, scholars of the Old World became acquainted with Sanskrit. It is one of the Indian languages. Its noteworthy is that this dialect is one of the most ancient of the currently existing in human civilization. Sanskrit had Indo-European roots. This attracted the attention of Western researchers.
Soon, through phonetic research, they determined that Indian and European languages have a distant common language. This is how universal phonetics appeared. The researchers set themselves the task of creating a single alphabet that would capture the sounds of all the world's languages. The international transcription recording system appeared at the end of the 19th century. It exists and is being supplemented today. It makes it easy to compare the most distant and dissimilar languages.
Sections of phonetics
Unified phonetic science is divided into several sections. They all learn their own aspect of the language. For example, general phonetics explores the patterns that are present in the dialects of all peoples of the world. Such surveys make it possible to find their common points of reference androots.
Descriptive phonetics captures the current state of each language. The object of her study is the sound system. Historical phonetics is necessary to trace the development and "growing up" of a particular language.
The science of orthoepy emerged from phonetics. This is a narrower discipline. What does phonetics and orthoepy study? Scientists specializing in the sciences examine the pronunciation of words. But if phonetics is devoted to all aspects of the sound nature of speech, then orthoepy is necessary in order to determine the correct way to reproduce words, etc.
Such studies began as historical. Language is a kind of living organism. It develops along with the people. With each new generation, the language gets rid of unnecessary elements, including in pronunciation. So archaisms are forgotten and replaced by new norms. This is exactly what phonetics, graphics, orthoepy studies.
Pronunciation standards were set differently in each language. For example, the unification of the Russian language took place after the October Revolution. Not only new orthoepic norms appeared, but also grammar. Throughout the 20th century, domestic linguists carefully studied the remnants that remained in the past.
The language in the Russian Empire was very heterogeneous. Orthoepic standards in each region differed from each other. This was due to the large number of dialects. Even in Moscow there wasown speech. Before the revolution, it was considered the norm of the Russian language, but after several generations it has irrevocably changed under the influence of time.
Orthoepy studies such concepts as intonation and stress. The more native speakers there are, the more likely it is that a particular group will have its own phonetic norms. They differ from the literary standard in their own variation in the formation of grammatical phonemes. Such unique phenomena are collected and systematized by scientists, after which they fall into special orthoepic dictionaries.
Another important discipline for phonetics is graphics. It is also called writing. With the help of the established sign system, the data that a person wants to convey using the language is recorded. At first, mankind communicated only through oral speech, but it had many shortcomings. Chief among them was the impossibility of fixing one's own thoughts so that they could be preserved on some physical medium (for example, paper). The advent of writing changed this situation.
Graphics explores all aspects of this complex sign system. What does the science of phonetics study along with this discipline close to it? The combination of letters and sounds allowed mankind to create a single system of language with which it communicates. The relationship of its two important parts (orthoepy and graphics) is different for each nation. Linguists study them. To understand the nature of language, there is nothing more important than phonetics and graphics. What does a specialist study in terms of twothese systems? Their semantic units are letters and sounds. They are the main objects of study of linguistic sciences.