Phonetics and Phonology as the Two Aspects of one Science of Human Speech Sounding

  • Irina Rumyantseva Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: phonetics, phonology, sounding speech, prosody, functional, constitutional, distinctive, aspects


The article enunciates the theory of the unity of phonetics and phonology as the two equally functional aspects of one science, i.e. the science of human speech sounding. The author gives the reasons in favor of such unity and offers a discussion on the problem of the traditional division of this science into two levels – phonetics and phonology, with the apportionment inside phonetics of two sublevels – the proper phonetic sublevel and autonomously phonological (pre-phonological) sublevel. The article also discusses a thesis, belonging to traditional phonology, that phonetics ends and phonology begins where the substance starts to be considered from the functional point of view. The author thinks that the study of the material side of sounds is always conducted by a linguist with some functional, linguistic (psycholinguistic) purpose. The equal rights of the discussed aspects and their equal importance for the language functioning mechanism depend on two-in-one phonological action of a sound unit – constitutional (forming) one and distinctive one. In the spirit of classical (traditional) phonology only that sound quality was always considered to be functional (phonological), which could differentiate the morphemes of a language. Nevertheless, in the author’s opinion, in order such a differentiation could exist, there should be not less but even more fundamental condition fulfilled: there should be such sound quality created, which is acceptable for a certain linguistic system (a language, a dialect, a subdialect). Phonology can’t deal with incorrect speech. Just as following grammar rules leads to a grammatically correct utterance, so phonology being functional phonetics should be oriented to speech, which is correct in a certain language system. Constitution of a phonological unit in the structure of a morph (or word) as a certain language system unit with all its qualitative and quantitative features means nothing else but distinction.


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How to Cite
Rumyantseva, I. (2018). Phonetics and Phonology as the Two Aspects of one Science of Human Speech Sounding. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, (23(2), 203-213.