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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most comprehensive introduction currently available!, 14 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
In my view, this book is the best introductory textbook to the fascinating fields of Phonetics and Phonology currently available.
As a mature undergraduate studying Linguistics, with no A Level English Language under my belt, I had no prior knowledge of the areas this book covers, and as such was disadvantaged in comparison to the other students who had done the A Level. However I soon found, with the aid of this worthy publication, that the playing field had been levelled.
This is not to say that this was the only book at this level that I read. In fact, I have at least four others in my collection. Why this one stands out is because of its clear and informative style, understandable examples, and sensible, logical layout.
Initially there is an overview, laying out the underpinning theory that the modern sciences of Phonetics and Phonology are built on. The distinction between physical language and the underlying mental representation of its physical form, as adopted by Generative Linguistics, is introduced, and Phonology and Phonetics are placed into the 'big-picture' of a total language model that includes Syntax, Morphology and Semantics.
Next comes an introduction to articulatory phonetics: the actual physical mechanisms used in the production of speech, including air stream, vocal cords and places of articulation. This then opens up the complete exposition of consonants and vowels, and details all the possible types of sounds that humans produce. Clear tables and diagrams are used throughout, making understanding and revision an easy task.
After this comes a chapter on Acoustic Phonetics, the captivating study of the properties of speech sounds. Not only does it consider the physical nature of these, but also focuses on the linguistically relevant acoustic features that play a part in production and reception. Here the authors have taken some complex physics and made it fathomable, no mean feat!
From here on, the book investigates the phonological rules and features used when we produce speech. Davenport and Hannahs introduce the Linear Model of phonology, as pioneered by Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle in The Sound Pattern of English, (1968. New York; Harper & Row), and developed by many, which to the uninitiated would make you run away faster than a gazelle! The chapters develop in a logical manner, each building upon the previous, and the reader comes out with a sense of mastery over the data.
Throughout this discussion, however, the book does not take this Linear Model as gospel, and the authors frequently highlight problems that the model cannot account for. They introduce several alternative models, like Autosegmental Phonology and Feature Geometry, and the discussion of the relative merits is open and unbiased.
Finally, the book concludes with a well-written chapter that stresses the need to constrain the phonological model so that over-productive rules are dismissed with. Concepts like extrinsic vs. intrinsic rule ordering, abstractness and the power of the phonological component are discussed, leaving the reader in a frame of mind to delve into further reading.
Overall this is an excellent book, well written and interesting all the way. As a student of Linguistics this is a must, with exercises at the end of each chapter to test your knowledge, not just at degree level, at A Level too it will prove an invaluable resource. Also, for the non-academic with an interest in how we produce speech, Introducing Phonetics & Phonology is an excellent and enjoyable read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource, 16 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Introducing Phonetics and Phonology (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book for students of English Language and Linguistics. The content is extremely complex, but is written with complete beginners at the subject in mind, so it is nevertheless accessible. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone studying in the area of phonetics, it is a fantastic resource.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There seem to be so many phonetics/phonology textbooks available, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Introducing Phonetics and Phonology (Paperback)
And this book is just one among many. Perhaps it's not the best, but it's compact and clear. And it's Optimality Theory (OT) chapters at the end are a good resume of the theory.
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Introducing Phonetics and Phonology
Introducing Phonetics and Phonology by S.J. Hannahs (Paperback - 30 July 2010)
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