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canIPA Natural Phonetics & Tonetics

Luciano Canepari’s Website


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“Les langues sont faites pour être parlées, l’écriture ne sert que de supplément à la parole … L’écriture n’est que la représentation de la parole, il est bizarre qu’on donne plus de soin à déterminer l’image que l’objet.” (J.-J. Rousseau) [“Languages are made to be spoken, writing only serves as a supplement to speech … Writing is just the representation of speech, it’s strange that we take more care in determining the image than the object.” (J.-J. Rousseau)]

This site has been designed with the following main goals in mind:

  • to stimulate discussion on phonetics topics within the framework of natural phonetics;
  • to promote the collection of recordings of regional, social and foreign accents of a variety of languages;
  • to provide impetus to work on descriptive phonetics.

canIPA Natural Phonetics

To be of any practical use in the learning/teaching of pronunciation, but also as a plausible basis for any successive abstract speculation/theorizing, phonetics should be ‹natural›, in the sense that it should be possible to do it without the help of any instruments other than one’s own articulatory apparatus and ears. It should also draw upon our inborn, instinctive ability to discern sounds. In fact, we all possess such an ability, or at least we used to before being, as it were, ‹corrupted› by conventional spelling. When, as children, we wanted to write no instead of know, or definately for definitely, in keeping with the way we pronounce those words today, we were naturally doing phonetics (or doing Natural Phonetics).

canIPA Natural Phonetics is a method to bring the phonetic skills, which we instinctively possessed as children, back to our consciousness.

To put it more scientifically, we could say that Natural Phonetics aims at achieving the essence of linguistic sounds:

  • by determining their exact articulations through the awareness of what our mouths do to produce them;
  • by showing them with accurate articulatory diagrams (i.e. orograms, vocograms, labiograms, palatograms, dorsograms), and auditory diagrams (mainly tonograms);
  • by assigning them appropriate phonetic symbols (which must not be too general, or they might be useless).

All people interested in sounds of languages could profit from discussing phonetics along these lines. Illustrations of the framework can be seen in Canepari’s Manuale di pronuncia italiana, Dizionario di pronuncia italiana, Fonetica e tonetica naturali, Manuale di pronuncia, Natural Phonetics & Tonetics and A Handbook of Pronunciation. By way of illustration, excerpts from these books are provided in the PDF files section (continuously updated with samples of work in progress, including a bibliography file).

For further clarification, a selection of frequently asked questions is shown in the FAQ section.

No photographs online

I would like to point out that, to my knowledge, no photographic images of myself are available online. If any picture appears on a webpage as attributed to Luciano Canepari, it either is a case of homonymy or the attribution is incorrect – L. Canepari

home.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/19 19:27 (external edit)