A Practical Introduction to Phonetics (Anglais) Broché – 22 novembre 2001
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I won't repeat the description given in the blurb above. Simply, if you are a language teacher or learner, and want to know how we use ourselves when we speak, this is the book for you.
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Okay, enough of that.
Every expectation I had of this book was fulfilled. Are you looking to fully comprehend the IPA alphabet? You will. Are you looking to be able to more correctly pronounce strange foreign sounds? You will! This book, which I read lazily over the course of two weeks, allows you to not only speak accurately, but it delves deep into the nature of the construction of speech. No stone is left unturned. It is also very accommodating of various English dialects (GA and RP, and more), and it also references other languages during the course of study.
As another reviewer said, you probably don't want to read this book in a library. My family curiously watched me as I would often begin to make strange sounds while reading the book. But, that's what really makes the lessons within stick to one's mind; the actual experience complements the learning.
The only improvement that could be made to this book might be the inclusion of an audio CD, to perfect some of the sounds that are more subjective or downright unfamiliar (such as the cardinal vowels, voiced implosives and the pharyngeal articulations). However, that would probably defeat the purpose. The book doesn't aim for exaction, it aims for understanding. With the principles laid down in this book, you can easily find an online IPA chart to fine tune your sounds.
In short, if you are searching for a phonetics book, stop your search now. You will not find a more accessible nor a more comprehensive introduction. You will find what you're looking for in this book!
This book does not come up with audio for a reason; Catford does not want you to mimic sounds from a CD; instead, learn aerodynamic, articulatory ways to produce sounds.
If you don't want to spend $35 for the second edition, just buy the first edition. There is no difference between the first and second editions, except for few IPA symbol changes that changed between 1989 and 2005 IPA charts.