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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no better book for learning phonetics, 4 Dec 2002
By 
Kelly P. Vincent (State College, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Course in Phonetics (Paperback)
Ladefoged is one of the world's best phonetics teachers, and this book does not disappoint. Phonetics is by nature a practical science, where listening, identifying and describing speech sounds (and the ability to produce them, as well!) are key skills. Because of this, you might wonder how you could really learn them from a book. The answer is that Ladefoged explains things so well, you'll find yourself practicing all sorts of new sounds within minutes of opening the book.
He starts off in the first chapter by describing the vocal tract and the place and ways that we produce sounds. The second chapter discusses phonetic and phonological transcription, and introduces the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Chapters 3, 4 and 5 deal with English: vowels, consonants and words and sentences (respectively). The next chapter deals with phonation types and airstream mechanisms. The seventh chapter looks at place and manner of articulation. Chapter 8 gives a basic introduction to acoustic phonetics, including spectrogram analysis. Chapter 9 looks more at vowels, and then at vowel-like articulations. The tenth chapter considers syllables and other suprasegmental features. Chapter 11 deals with linguistic phonetics, looking into how phonetics makes languages the way they are (ultimately relating to language change).
In each of these chapters, Ladefoged assumes nothing more than a good command of English and an basic awareness of the major differences between American and British English, and teaches you everything. Experiences with other languages is useful, and his approach uses English primarily as teaching reference rather than a focus. The IPA is used from the beginning, and the front and back inside cover are devoted to its chart. There are exercises at the end of each chapter, including "production exercises", giving you a chance to practice and learn all of the concepts previously discussed. In short, the book is excellent and I cannot recommend it more highly.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone wanting to understand speech, 9 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Course in Phonetics (Paperback)
A really excellent book, the maximum amount of infromation in the minimum space, supported by a set of relevant examples. I have used it with a number of people who have needed to gain a good understanding of speech in English and other languages to work in speech analysis and speech synthesis. All of the readers have praised the book and all have said that not only did they find the book useful, they found it really interesting as well. A genuine 5 crown book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good read, 6 Dec 2012
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clear consise and easy to read a great help on my course and with my essays i would reccommend again
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serves it's purpose!!, 23 Aug 2003
This review is from: A Course in Phonetics (Paperback)
At times, a rather difficult read, but reading over a couple of times can make all the difference. Does exactly what it says on the tin: 'A Course in Phonetics'. The book basically gives you a course in phonetics. The book contains everything you need to know for the study of Phonetics, including all the relevant tables you need to have. I found the book extremely helpful and could not have completed my degree without it. Throughout the book, Peter Ladefoged gives you the step-by-step guide, starting from easy to hard, of all the existing speech sounds, with instructions on how to pronounce them yourself. At the end of each chapter there are exercises to complete, to make sure you fully understand what you have just read and practiced. A recommended book for anyone interested in Phonetics, or who are planning to study it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really useful aid!, 25 July 2006
By 
Oliver Anthony (UK) - See all my reviews
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I found this book to be extremely useful in my linguistics degree this year. It describes in detail all the important aspects of phonetics from the articulation of individual sounds and phonemes to the interpretation of spectrograms and waveform diagrams.

This book is an essential for anyone who is interested in phonetics or linguistics in general.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the rest, 19 July 2009
By 
C. L. Dixon (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Course in Phonetics (Paperback)
I bought a different textbook for my Phonetics and Phonology module, but found that it lacked a lot of things, and on the other hand, included too much scientifical, hard-to-understand, unnecessary material.
A Course In Phonetics, however, is both as simple and scientific as it needs to be - whether you're just starting out or need something to refer back to, I think this is the best Phonetics textbook money can buy.
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A Course in Phonetics
A Course in Phonetics by Peter Ladefoged (Paperback - 24 July 2005)
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