A brief insight into Phonology

Phonology is concerned with sounds which are systematically structured. This component might be considered as one of the important components in any language since it is considered as the initial cornerstone of any civilization. In most societies, it is well known that speech is a common form of human communication (We must assume a period of many thousands of years when speech was the only form of language, before the development of writing at the dawn of recorded history) (R.H . Robins, General Linguistics: An introductory Survey).

Phonology is basically divided into two major features, segmental features which consist of vowels and consonants; they also consist of supra-segmental aspects such as stress, rhythm, intonation, and pause. The English consonants are 24; however the number does not represent the English alphabet, as they are produced orally. It should also be noted that all existing languages have an infinite number of phones which are universal. However, unlike phonemes which are relative to individual languages, each language has its own groups of sounds. Therefore, a phoneme can be considered as a contrastive unit since it distinguishes meanings when exchanged with other phonemes. For example, in English, the /p/ and /b/ are contrastive phonemes; though, for English language learners of Arabic background, these letters are non-contrastive. I have always noticed this particular issue as in my country, the word Pepsi is pronounced as Bepsi. Arabic learners also seem to have trouble pronouncing and distinguishing the fricative sounds in “f/V” as in “thank you Ferry much” instead of “thank you very much”. This is not only limited to a certain language, but also all existing languages. These differences usually occur due the differences that exist between the inventory sound system of the first language as well as the target language


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