Difference between Phonetics and Linguistics

Key Difference: Linguistics is the science of language. It covers various aspects of nature of language in general. Phonetics is a branch of linguistics dealing with the studies of speech sounds in context to how they are produced and also how they are perceived.

Linguistics is the science of language. It covers numerous aspects of language like how a language is known, how the knowledge is acquired and how this knowledge is used. Language plays a vital role as it is an integral part of a human behavior. Thus, linguistics is also of immense importance.

Linguistics covers aspects like sound patterns, sentence structure, word formation, meaning, language use, how individual languages differ, etc. The practitioners of linguistics are known as linguists. They primary work on two areas of language structure and language use. Linguistics studies the nature of language as a powerful medium of communication.

Phonetics can be considered as a branch of linguistics as it deals with the study of the sounds of human speech. It also considers the functional production and auditory qualities of human speeches. It is mainly associated with the sounds of languages known as phonemes.

Phoneticians study that how the speech sounds are produced by human speech organs and also they analyse  different properties associated with sounds.

Thus, linguistics is an umbrella term used to denote all the disciplines dealing with the understanding of nature of languages. Phonetics is one of the important branches of linguistics which deals particularly with the study of speech sounds.

Comparison between Phonetics and Linguistics:

 

Phonetics

Linguistics

Definition

Phonetics can be considered as a branch of linguistics as it deals with the study of the sounds of human speech. It also considers the functional production and auditory qualities of human speeches.

Linguistics is the science of language. It covers numerous aspects of language like how a language is known, how the knowledge is acquired and how this knowledge is used.

Branches

  • Acoustic phonetics – related to the study of physical attributes of sound produced by the vocal tract.
  • Auditory phonetics deals with understanding that how human ear perceives sound and how the brain recognizes different speech units.
  • Articulatory phonetics deals with studying the making of single sounds by the vocal tract.
  • Phonetics – study of speech sounds; production, transmission and perception of speech.
  • Phonology – it deals with the sound system of languages.
  • Morphology – deals with studying morpheme, phoneme and grapheme.
  • Syntax – describes the rules regarding the formation of sentences from words.
  • Semantics – it is the study of language meaning.
  • Pragmatics – it is the study of meaning in context.

Career prospects

Linguistic research, language teaching, human information technology and speech signal processing, etc.

Foreign language teaching, teaching and research in general linguistics, speech pathology and audiology, instructional technology, translation, etc.

Studied by

Phoneticians

Linguists

Image Courtesy: oulu.fi, newpaltz.edu

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