Phonology and Language

24 May

Linguists have identified the following 5 basic components of language:

  1. Phonology is the branch of applied linguistics that studies the sound pattern of a language.
  2. Morphology is the study of the smallest units of meaning – Morphemes.
  3. Syntax is the study of the combinations of a unit of a language, or the study of grammar.
  4. Semantics is the study of meanings in a language. It is semantics that distinguish a figurative sentence from a literal one.
  5. Pragmatics is the study of the effect of context on the meaning of a sentence. Pragmatics helps us infer the true meaning of a conversation.


Phonology can be referred to as the basic unit of language. The smallest speech sound that differentiates two words is called a Phoneme. Phonemes are the units of speech sounds in a language. Phonology studies phonemes, their organization & structure in a particular language & the rules of pronunciation. Therefore, to learn English, one needs to have some knowledge of English Phonology.

English Phonology

English is the commonest language in the world in terms of the no. of people who understand it. There was a time when English belonged to England but that is no longer the case. As more & more countries are making English their official language, new versions of English are created. Today three main versions of English are globally recognized. They are:

  1. British English. This is the closest to the original version of English.
  2. American English. It is the standard version used in the U.S.A & Canada.
  3. Australian English. The pronunciation of this version differs considerably from the other two.

It is important to note that when talking about different ‘versions’ of English, we are actually referring to the differences in pronunciation. This demonstrates the importance of Phonology in a language.

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in TEFL Course


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