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October 1980

An Introduction to Instrumental Phonetics

Author Affiliations

San Francisco


by Colin Painter, 214 pp, with illus, Baltimore, University Park Press, 1979.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1980;106(10):657. doi:10.1001/archotol.1980.00790340065025

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Although there are many aspects of phonetics (for example, acoustic, experimental, descriptive, and articulatory), in general, the field of phonetics refers to the study of a spoken language. When examined in the context of production-perception, phonetics lends itself to research in a variety of ways. The acoustic aspects of phonetics (sound waves generated by humans) may be investigated using an array of instruments capable of analyzing sound waves. Physiologic movements leading to generation of a given sound may also be studied instrumentally. In other words, the person who makes a living studying human sounds, that is, the phonetician, attempts to look at speech sounds from one or more of these angles. He may choose to do so independently or simultaneously, using a wide inventory of instruments to answer the posed question.

This is exactly what Colin Painter does in his pragmatic, four-chapter, heavily illustrated manuscript. Having once established his definition

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