Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

A Course in Phonetics, 6th Edition

  • includes CD-ROM
  • Peter Ladefoged
  • Keith Johnson
  • ISBN-10: 1428231269
  • ISBN-13: 9781428231269
  • 336 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2006, 2001, 1993
  • COPYRIGHT: 2011 Published
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About the Product

Peter Ladefoged's A COURSE IN PHONETICS remains the authoritative text for the study of phonetics. Retaining Ladefoged's student-friendly writing style, the Sixth Edition introduces concepts of speech production, describes speech in acoustic terms, and teaches practical phonetic skills including IPA transcription. Expanded sections on acoustic phonetics and speech motor control bring instructors up to date and help students use tools for digital inspection and manipulation of speech. Numerous updates include MRI images of vocal tracts. The included CD-ROM contains over 4,000 audio files of nearly 100 languages, as well as maps keyed to sounds of languages where they are spoken. The CD also contains material for every chapter, such as recordings of the tables, many examples, and the exercises.


  • The CD included with and keyed to the text has over 4,000 recordings of Englishes and other languages, maps of language areas, exercises and tables in the text, and so on. Demonstrations of the phonetic performance exercises are provided, and most exercises can be downloaded and printed. Also includes recordings of British and American English for transcription exercises; speech samples for Southern (U.S.) and Northern (U.S.) cities; and recordings of London, Edinburgh, Dublin, New Zealand, and other forms of English. Extras on the CD include map indexes and recordings of the IPA chart sounds and many other languages.

  • This text offers a broad overview of phonetics for students with no prior knowledge.

  • A COURSE IN PHONETICS is a comprehensive, straightforward account of the major aspects of the phonetics of English and the major features of the sounds of the world's languages by two of the world's leading phoneticians.

  • Students will appreciate the clear introduction to main concepts of articulatory phonetics, which analyzes speech as a sequence of gestures of tongue, lips, and other vocal organs in combination with airflow.


"I haven't seen any texts that compare with Ladefoged's."
— Dwan Shipley, Western Washington University, Bellingham

About the Author

Peter Ladefoged

The late Peter Ladefoged, preeminent phonetician, founded the UCLA Phonetics Laboratory and was its director from 1962 to 1991. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1959. His major research interests included experimental phonetics and describing the sounds of the world's languages; his ground-breaking fieldwork took him to Europe, Africa, India, Australia, China, and elsewhere to record many languages. He was a member of many professional organizations and president of a few, including the International Phonetic Association (1986–1991) and the Linguistic Society of America (1980). He wrote extensively and was awarded many professional honors.

Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson is a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and taught in the department of linguistics from 1993 to 2005. Dr. Johnson received postdoctoral fellowships from Indiana University and UCLA, where he worked with Peter Ladefoged and Patricia Keating. His primary research field focuses on the processes of speech perception as they relate to phonetic and phonological theory. Dr. Johnson's research and teaching on acoustic phonetics and psycholinguistics is widely recognized.

Table of Contents

1.Articulation and Acoustics.
Speech Production. Sound Waves. Places of Articulatory Gestures. The Oro-Nasal Process. Manners of Articulation. The Waveforms of Consonants. The Articulation of Vowel Sounds. The Sounds of Vowels. Suprasegmentals. Exercises.
2. Phonology and Phonetic Transcription.
The Transcription of Consonants. The Transcription of Vowels. Consonant and Vowel Charts. Phonology. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
3. The Consonants of English.
Stop Consonants. Fricatives. Affricates. Nasals. Approximants. Overlapping Gestures. Rules for English Consonant Allophones. Diacritics. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
4. English Vowels.
Transcription and Phonetic Dictionaries. Vowel Quality. The Auditory Vowel Space. American and British Vowels. Diphthongs. Rhotic Vowels. Unstressed Syllables. Tense and Lax Vowels. Rules for English Vowel Allophones. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
5. English Words and Sentences.
Words in Connected Speech. Stress. Degrees of Stress. Sentence Rhythm. Intonation. Target Tones. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
6. Airstream Mechanisms and Phonation Types.
Airstream Mechanisms. States of the Glottis. Voice Onset Time. Summary of Actions of the Glottis. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
7. Consonantal Gestures.
Articulatory Targets. Types of Articulatory Gestures. Summary of Manners of Articulation. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
8. Acoustic Phonetics.
Source/Filter Theory. Tube Models. Perturbation Theory. Acoustic Analysis. Acoustics of Consonants. Interpreting Spectrograms. Individual Differences. Exercises.
9. Vowels and Vowel-like Articulations.
Cardinal Vowels. Secondary Cardinal Vowels. Vowels in Other Accents of English. Vowels in Other Languages. Advanced Tongue Root. Rhotacized Vowels. Nasalization. Summary of Vowel Quality. Semivowels. Secondary Articulatory Gestures. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
10. Syllables and Suprasegmental Features.
Syllables. Stress. Length. Timing. Intonation and Tone. Stress, Tone, and Pitch Accent Languages. Exercises. Performance Exercises.
11. Linguistic Phonetics.
Phonetics of the Community and of the Individual. The International Phonetic Alphabet. Feature Hierarchy. A Problem with Linguistic Explanations. Controlling Articulatory Movements. Memory for Speech. The Balance between Phonetic Forces. Performance Exercises.
APPENDIX A: Additional Material for Transcription.
APPENDIX B: Suggestions for Contributors to the Journal of the International Phonetic Association.

New to this edition

  • Keith Johnson, a leading phonetician, has revised the material on acoustic phonetics to incorporate developments in technology and research and offer students more opportunities to apply new knowledge.
  • Acoustic analysis is introduced in early chapters with spectrograms of English and non-English speech sounds so that students can use their high levels of computer literacy to perform analysis from the start.
  • Images of MRIs and X-ray data have been added, providing students with more visual images of the articulatory organs (tongue, velum, etc.) and the airflow when humans produce sounds.
  • The Sixth Edition features an extensively revised final chapter on linguistic phonetics to help students understand the relationship between phonetics and phonology, the principles of the IPA, and phonetics of the community vs. phonetics of the individual.
  • The accompanying CD-ROM is updated to include new chapter exercises to coincide with those in the book, new sound files, and a more streamlined navigation and appearance. All of the sound files have also been converted to a more widely used format.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Resource Center for Linguistics, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1439082952 | ISBN-13: 9781439082959)

This valuable and rich online resource offers web quizzes, key concepts, web links, key-term flashcards, chapter outlines, and audio files for topics including morphology, phonetics, syntax, language acquisition, writing systems, and sociolinguistics, among others.

Instructor's Edition  (ISBN-10: 143908324X | ISBN-13: 9781439083246)

Peter Ladefoged's A COURSE IN PHONETICS, the hallmark text for the study of linguistics, has been revised by leading phonetician Keith Johnson. Retaining the trademark writing style and approach of previous editions, the Sixth Edition begins with technical terms required for describing speech and transcription symbols before moving on to the phonetics of English and other languages. An up-to-date bonus CD-ROM contains more than 4,000 audio files--recordings of Englishes and non-English languages, maps keyed to sounds, audio versions of tables, and exercises in the text.

Student Supplements

Resource Center for Linguistics, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1439082952 | ISBN-13: 9781439082959)

This valuable and rich online resource offers web quizzes, key concepts, web links, key-term flashcards, chapter outlines, and audio files for topics including morphology, phonetics, syntax, language acquisition, writing systems, and sociolinguistics, among others.

Course in Phonetics CD-ROM  (ISBN-10: 1428289666 | ISBN-13: 9781428289666)