Glossary

This is a work in progress. More information will be added as time goes by.

Phonetics
Fonética

Phonetics is the study of the sounds of human language. Articulatory phonetics studies how those sounds are physically produced in the body, specifically in the vocal tract. Acoustic phonetics studies the acoustic properties of the sounds themselves. Auditory phonetics studies how those sounds are perceived by other humans.

Phonology
Fonología

Phonology is the study of the sound systems of human languages, and of how languages use sounds to distinguish meaning. For more on the differences between phonetics and phonology, and about the word phoneme (fonema), see this video.

Phonotactics
Fonotáctica

The language-specific rules on how speech sounds are combined, i.e. what sound sequences are allowable and which ones are not.

Grapheme
Grafema

A technical word for “letter (or symbol) used in spelling”. Used in conjunction with (speech) sound or with phoneme to avoid the ambiguous word letter and clearly distinguish between spelling and sound.

Morphology
Morfología

(Definition to be added)

Consonant mutation
Mutación consonántica

A predictable (rule-governed) change in a consonant sound, used, for example, to change the word-class of a given word: in English, house is pronounced with an s sound if it is a noun, and with a z sound if it is a verb.

Yod-dropping

A term used mainly referring to the historical process in English where words initially pronounced with the vowel of CUTE (technically, a sequence consisting of a consonant sound and a vowel sound, usually transcribed as ju; plainly speaking, the sound of the word you) came to be pronounced with the vowel of GOOSE (usually transcribed as u). Examples of words that have gone through historical yod-dropping include rude, blue and, for most speakers, suit.

Vowel/consonant length/duration
Cantidad vocálica/consonántica

The relative duration of a vowel or consonant, which in some languages like, for example, German (in the case of vowels, specifically short and long a), can be phonologically contrastive (differentiate meanings).

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