The Sounds of the World's Languages

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John Wiley and Sons Limited, Dec 4, 2009 - 480 pages
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DD NOTE: Preliminary plans for the second edition involve new chapters on tone, on diphthongs, and critical updates to the IPA and the literature. More revision plans will be forthcoming.


This book gives a description of all the known ways in which the sounds of the world's languages differ. In doing so, it provides the empirical foundations for linguistic phonetics and phonology. Encapsulating the work of two leading figures in the field, it will be a standard work of reference for researchers in phonetics and linguistics for many years to come.


The scope of the book is truly global, with data drawn from nearly 400 languages, many of them investigated at first hand by the authors. A picture of the full range of possible contrasting phonetic categories is created by comparing families of similar sounds across many different languages.


Separate chapters deal with place of articulation, stops, nasals, fricatives, laterals, rhotics, clicks, vowels, and segments with multiple articulations. Each chapter is packed with illustrations documenting the articulatory and acoustic characteristics of the sounds discussed, and serving to illustrate the application of modern experimental techniques to descriptive phonetic studies.

Praise for the first edition:


"Scholarly account which frequently challenges many of the traditional concepts in phonetic and linguistic theory." W. J. Hardcastle, Queen Margaret College

" It is a boon to all teachers and researchers in the field." W. Barry, Universitat des Saarlandes, Saarbrucken, Germany


"It is the most comprehensive treatment to date and a book all students of phonology and phonetics will want to own." Michael Kenstowicz, MIT


"It is well written, superbly researched and it will make a mark in the halls of linguistics publishing. It is a book a vast range of linguists, phoneticians, speech scientists and others will need to have on their shelves." John A Goldsmith, University of Chicago


"An instant standard reference work that belongs on the desk of every linguist who has interest in what sounds human languages make use of." Geoffrey S. Nathan, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

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