The way sounds are articulated is one major component of the study of phonetics and phonology. Understanding how sounds are produced helps educators, linguists, and others understand and work with various types of pronunciation. A person’s accent, or way of pronouncing words, may affect the way others perceive him or her. Ask yourself: Is there a correct and proper way to pronounce English? Is one accent “better” than another, or are they just different? Can a person’s pronunciation result in prejudice or stereotyping?
Review Figures 2.10.1 and 2.11.1 in the Clark, Yallop, and Fletcher text, and explore the interactive diagram illustrating the Place of Articulation. Pick three regions of articulation, then demonstrate why the study of articulation is important by utilizing the articulatory concepts we have discussed thus far. For example, you might pick the alveolar region and describe how some individuals who speak with a lisp are often substituting the interdental [Θ] for the alveolar [t]; this knowledge can then be applied in the professional area of speech therapy. Similarly, prejudices about various dialects and accents within English exist and, when an understanding of the manners of articulation is cultivated, stereotypes can be dispelled and education and business become more equitable. Why do you think it might be important to understand how sounds are produced? How can this knowledge be applied professionally (perhaps as a language teacher, international businessperson, or linguist working in the field?
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