Monday, September 19, 2016

Fun with Phonics (Not What You Think), Part I

Alliteration and sounds are powerful.  Study the phonetic alphabet and find the fun in phonics.

This is not the fun that they lied to us about in the educational renewal programs that tried to teach us sounds.

This stuff is really fun.

Break down the sounds in the alphabet, and we can find amazing sounds and patterns.

Now linguists study and categorize sounds based on where consonants form in your mouth, or where your tongue and teeth position and the way you make a sound--from the back of your mouth, the front of your mouth, your teeth, and so on.

Let's look at bilabials briefly.  We form bilabial consonants when we put our lips together.  "B," "p," and "m" and bilabials, but I'm going to focus on b and p.

B and p are similar to each other.  The English language, and many other languages, have similar pairings that share commonalities in how we form the sounds.  B and p are not only bilabials, they are also classified as plosives because of the interruption of air flow.

What does this mean?  Say the word "plosive" carefully and out loud, and you'll get a sense of this.

B and p both carry startling and explosive sounds with their sounds and with our pronunciation.  When you say a name like "Bob Robertson" or a phrase like "a blank page" the phonetic power carries some subtle power that we may not consciously realize.

Bottom line: certainly, names have meaning, but the sounds we use to make words carry meaning, too.

More consonants next time....

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