Phonetics is the subfield of linguistics that is concerned with the articulatory, acoustic, and perceptual properties of speech sounds. It has corresponding subfields: Articulatory Phonetics, which explores how speech sounds are produced; Acoustic Phonetics, which looks at the acoustic properties of speech sounds; and Speech Perception, which examines the auditory system as well as the ways in which we perceive speech sounds. Speech therapists and audiologists also study Clinical Phonetics, which looks at pathological instances of speech production and perception and studies how to correct deficiencies.
The corresponding relational adjective is phonetic.
Based on the Greek phonetikos, meaning vocal. The term phonetic was first attested in English in 1826, while the use of phonetics to mean the scientific study of speech appeared in 1841.
- Harper, Douglas (2001-2010) Online Etymology Dictionary ("phonetic"). Accessed: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=phonetic July 24, 2010