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Phonetic Transcription in Theory and Practice

Phonetic Transcription in Theory and Practice

Barry Heselwood
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Phonetic Transcription in Theory and Practice
    Book Description:

    Phonetic transcription is a key element in many kinds of written works, not least linguistics books, dictionaries, language-teaching texts and bilingual reference works. This book is the first book-length scholarly monograph to address all of the important aspects of phonetic transcription.The aim of phonetic transcription is to represent the sounds of speech on paper. This book reviews contemporary uses of phonetic transcription in dictionaries, language teaching texts, phonetic and phonological studies, dialectology and sociolinguistics, speech pathology and therapy, and forensic phonetics. Heselwood surveys the history of attempts to represent speech, considering the relationship of transcription to written language. The book also includes a thorough analysis of the many different kinds of phonetic transcription - broad, narrow, auditory, systematic, segmental, suprasegmental, parametric and others - addressing what exactly is represented in different kinds and levels of transcription.Different ways in which transcription can be used alongside modern instrumental records of speech are illustrated with the claim that transcription embodies a kind of knowledge about speech unavailable to instruments - knowledge gained from the experience of listening to it in a phonetically informed manner. The author grounds this claim in the philosophy of phenomenalism, countering arguments against auditory transcription that have been advanced by experimental phoneticians for reasons of empirical inadequacy, and by linguistic rationalists who say it is irrelevant for understanding the supposedly innate categories that are said to underlie speech. A glossary of terms is included, along with a series of examples to demonstrate the comparison, classification and interpretation of phonetic transcriptions for different purposes.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-9101-2
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Barry Heselwood
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Phonetic transcription is concerned with how the sounds used in spoken language are represented in written form. The medium of sound and the medium of writing are of course very different, having absolutely no common forms or substance whatsoever, but over the ages people have found ways to represent sounds using written symbols of one kind or another, ways that have been more or less successful for their purposes. This book aims to explore the history and development of phonetic transcription as a particular example of technographic writing and to examine critically the problems attending its theory and practice. A...

  8. 1 Theoretical Preliminaries to Phonetic Notation and Transcription
    (pp. 5-36)

    In this first chapter, a number of points of theory need to be clarified concerning both the relationship between spoken and written language, and the status of phonetic transcription as a particular kind of technographic writing for representing speech. In the course of clarification I hope to define proper phonetic notation and proper phonetic transcription, to distinguish them from the notion of a phonographic orthography, and to give theoretical expression to respelling and transliteration in relation to phonetic transcription. An issue of overriding importance throughout the book is what exactly phonetic symbols denote and what transcriptions represent. The issue is...

  9. 2 Origins and Development of Phonetic Transcription
    (pp. 37-72)

    In Chapter 1 I described proper phonetic transcription as a technographic form of writing in which the symbols have phonetic definitions supplied by phonetic theory. In this chapter I will look at how writing became available as a means of representing pronunciation and consider the rise of the discipline of phonetics as a means of analysing and describing it. I will then attend to how writing and phonetics have come together to provide the practical and theoretical resources that have enabled proper phonetic notation and transcription to develop. Going back through history it is apparent that these resources have arisen...

  10. 3 Phonetic Notation
    (pp. 73-140)

    The purpose of a system of phonetic notation is to function as a resource for denoting theoretical models which become descriptive models when used in transcriptions (see Chapter 1 Section 1.3.1, Chapter 4 Section 4.0).

    There are two sides to phonetic notation, namely the design of the glyph and its denotation. The history of written language and phonetic notation is full of the same glyph being used with different values. Just to take a random example, the ‘bullseye’ glyph ‘ʘ’ seems to have started life as a variant of the Greek letter theta <θ> in the Umbrian alphabet, for which...

  11. 4 Types of Transcription
    (pp. 141-177)

    In this chapter I consider how phonetic notation can be used to represent different levels and aspects of the analysis of pronunciation and how these uses have been typologised. Where relevant, I shall draw attention to examples in writing systems which can be seen as pre-theoretical examples of an awareness of these levels of analysis. A key distinction in transcription is between phonetic on the one hand and phonemic, or phonological, on the other. It is now universal practice to enclose phonetic transcriptions, denoting general phonetic models, in square [ ] brackets and phonemic or phonological transcriptions in slant //...

  12. 5 Narrow Impressionistic Phonetic Transcription
    (pp. 178-222)

    In this chapter I shall argue that the value of narrow impressionistic phonetic transcription is that it is a method for representing in proper phonetic notation an analysis of what speech sounds like to a phonetically trained listener. Ezra Pound strove in his imagist doctrine for a poetic language which would be an accurate objective expression of subjective experience (Moody 2007: 226), and that captures fairly well what impressionistic phonetic transcription tries to achieve. What we are doing when we make an impressionistic analysis of speech is trying to express holistically experienced exemplars as realisations of the products of category...

  13. 6 Phonetic Transcription in Relation to Instrumental and Other Records
    (pp. 223-250)

    Although experimental phonetics using specially designed technological devices dates back to the early nineteenth century and had made sophisticated advances in the work of Rousselot, Scripture and Panconcelli-Calzia by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the necessary equipment was only available to very small numbers of researchers. The situation remained like this until the second half of the twentieth century. The first instrument to make a huge impact on phonetic research was the sound spectrograph, developed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the US, which started to become publicly available in the late 1940s (Koenig, Dunn and Lacy 1946),...

  14. 7 Uses of Phonetic Transcription
    (pp. 251-264)

    In this brief survey of some of the main uses of phonetic transcription I will try to characterise the kinds of transcriptions employed in terms of the typological distinctions discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, the information they are providing and to whom, and the functions they are performing. I will start with those uses for which little or no knowledge of phonetic theory on the part of users is assumed.

    There are many different sorts of dictionaries: monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, dictionaries of standard usage, dialect and slang dictionaries, pronouncing dictionaries and specialist technical dictionaries. It is in dictionaries...

  15. Glossary
    (pp. 265-267)
  16. References
    (pp. 268-294)
  17. Appendix: Phonetic Notation Charts
    (pp. 295-303)
  18. Index
    (pp. 304-312)