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A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Second Edition

J. C. Catford

Publication Date - January 2002

ISBN: 9780199246359

248 pages

In Stock


Now in a new edition, this unique interactive introduction to the study of phonetics shows students how to examine the entire range of human sounds through a series of 124 introspective experiments carried out in their own vocal tracts. It systematically covers all types of speech modification (breath, voice, whisper, creak), articulation (the ways in which the air stream is finally modulated to generate specific types of sound), and prosodic features (stress, syllable, tone, intonation). This text also includes a chapter on sound systems--the ways in which particular languages utilize and systematize the universal sound-producing potential of humans. By actually articulating sounds and attending to the motor sensations they produce, readers acquire a deep, personal awareness of the principles of phonetic analysis and classification.
This second edition of A Practical Introduction to Phonetics features a new format and text design; updated use of phonetic symbols in line with the latest International Phonetic Alphabet Chart (1996); a revised further reading section that includes recent publications; and additional references to several important new publications. Informed throughout by recent research in aerodynamics and acoustics, this highly practical text is ideal for courses in introduction to phonetics and will be of interest to a wide range of students and teachers of languages, linguistics, speech therapy, and anthropology.


  • J. C. Catford is regarded as the leading practical phonetician of our time
  • Systematic exploration of the entire range of human sounds, with a separate chapter on sound systems
  • Over 120 experiments enable readers to understand the basic principles of phonetics more effectively by experimenting with their own vocal tracts
  • Attractive new text design and larger format - now in the Oxford Textbooks in Linguistics series
  • Updated usage of phonetic symobls in line with the latest International Phonetic Alphabet Chart (1996)
  • Second edition includes revisions and additions to the text, and revisions to 5 figures, to clarify the points made
  • Second edition includes a revised further reading section and new references to the most important recent publications

About the Author(s)

J. C. Catford is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Previous Publication Date(s)

November 1988


"[A]n introduction to general phonetics that integrates the articulatory and the acoustic aspects of the subject in a way that few other introductory works do; that gives a comprehensive view of the whole subject."--Kritikon Litterarum (on the previous edition)

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Basic components of speech
    3. Phonation: A third basic component
    4. Articulation: Stricture types
    5. Articulation: Locations
    6. Co-articulation and sequences
    7. Vowels: Introduction
    8. The cardinal vowels
    9. Prosodic features
    10. Sound systems of languages
    11. Review
    For further reading
    Appendix: The International Phonetic Alphabet