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"The Sounds of the World′s Languages provides a detailed description of the articulatory processes of human speech production; it provides a descriptive backup to the UCLA speech database; perhaps most importantly it presents descriptions of the vast variety of sounds that occur in the world, and offers evidence, discussion and references which are relevant to many crucial theoretical issues at the interface of phonetics and phonology. It is a boon to all teachers and researchers in the field." W. Barry, Universitat des Saarlandes, Saarbrucken, Germany
"The Sounds of the World′s Languages draws on a wealth of published and unpublished sources to determine the phonetic contrasts that support lexical minimal pairs. It is the most comprehensive treatment to date. The book is extensively documented with a variety of experimental phonetic techniques. Phonologists will find the book of special interest. There are numerous marked generalizations to be contemplated and very useful discussion of the tension between increasing the inventory of sound types versus more elaborate scenarios of gestural timing. It is a book all students of phonology and phonetics will want to own." Michael Kenstowicz, MIT
"It is well written, superbly researched and it will make a mark in the halls of linguistics publishing. It is a book a vast range of linguists, phoneticians, speech scientists and others will need to have on their shelves." John A Goldsmith, University of Chicago
"An instant standard reference work that belongs on the desk of every linguist who has interest in what sounds human languages make use of. I am unable to present a single significant criticism of this book." Geoffrey S. Nathan
"Ladefoged & maddison have put together a well written, well organized volume that is certain to become a standard reference in the field" Katharine Davis, University of Washington
"...an instant standard reference work that belongs on the desk of every linguist who has an interest in what sounds human languages make use of......I am unable to present a single significant criticism of this book"Geoffrey Nathan, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
The scope of the book is truly global, with data drawn from nearly 400 languages, many of them investigated at first hand by the authors. A picture of the full range of possible contrasting phonetic categories is created by comparing families of similar sounds across many different languages.
Separate chapters deal with place of articulation, stops, nasals, fricatives, laterals, rhotics, clicks, vowels, and segments with multiple articulations. Each chapter is packed with illustrations documenting the articulatory and acoustic characteristics of the sounds discussed, and serving to illustrate the application of modern experimental techniques to descriptive phonetic studies.