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canIPA Natural Phonetics & Tonetics

Luciano Canepari's Website

:!: Since March 1, 2015, only the English version of this website has been operational. The other versions (Italian, French, and Portuguese) have been discontinued. :!:


:!: Please write exclusively to My other mailbox has been discontinued. :!:


“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)

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

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 with the risk of being 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 (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, see here).

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

start.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/01 08:06 by cerini