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General phonetics (1919) PDF by George Noël-Armfield

General phonetics  (1919) PDF by George Noël-Armfield

General phonetics


This book has been prepared with the object of helping language students to enter their field of work with some means of coping with the difficulties they are likely to meet regards foreign pronunciations I have described more or less fully four scores of the main types of human speech sounds, and have given some account of the chief phonetic phenomena. The work makes no pretence to be anything like exhaustive of the subject, but it aims at being suggestive. 

I hope that students who read it and are led to feel interested in Phonetics will be incited to under-take a detailed study of the works of those authors who have specialised in some particular language or group of languages. I have written mainly for those whose native language is English, and therefore the sounds of English are taken as what may be called the cardinal points of speech sounds. It was necessary to fix upon some " dialect " of the language as a standard, and, after very serious consideration, I decided to adopt Southern English as my basis of comparison. 

This does not mean that I consider this dialect in any way superior to others, but that, as many of the best books on English Phonetics have been written with this as a standard, I thought it advisable to follow suit. 


From many points of view, Northern English would have been preferable, especially from the fact that many of the Northern vowels differ but little from those of many foreign languages. The sounds of French would have been ideal as standards, but it would have been unwise to presume that all my readers were thoroughly acquainted with the phonetics of that language. No verbal description of any sound met within language will enable the student to reproduce it exactly, or even to be sure of recognising it when heard, but I hope that a study of this book will put into readers' hands some means of training ear, tongue and powers of analysis. Above all, I hope it will lead them not to accept as gospel the native teachers' flattering assurances that their pronunciation is quite correct, without being really satisfied that such is the case.
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