Book Nook

      The following is an annotated list of works for further reading in phonetics. They're in order of progressive interest, according to my own subjective judgment.

General works

1.  Ladefoged, Peter. 2001. Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. Paper. 191pp. + CD-ROM.

      An engaging and accessible introduction to phonetics. It's supposedly for non-specialists, but it has considerably more information on acoustic phonetics than his A Course in Phonetics. Comes with an excellent CD of examples in this book and in the Course. Not in the library yet. Available at Crane's A very worthwhile investment.

2.  Catford, J. C. 1988. A Practical Introduction to Phonetics, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Paper. P221 C33 1988 

      Used by Prof. Chang Yu-hong in his Practical Phonetics class. Excellent for learning each of the IPA sounds (plus some that go off the chart) in a systematic way. Lots of effective 'tricks' on how to produce the sounds and performance exercises. Available at Cranes and the library.

3. Smalley, William A. 1961; 1980. A Manual of Articulatory Phonetics. Pasadena: William Carey Library. 512pp. Paper. P221 S55

     Although this book is out of print, many copies are available in the library, and you can often get it secondhand. It originally came with reel-to-reel tapes or cassettes of the sounds and exercises presented in the book. NTU doesn't have these, but the recordings are now being copied onto CD-ROM for the library. There are a number of odd things about the book, besides its age. First, it uses outdated phonetic symbols; you need to figure out which standard IPA symbols each of Smalley's symbols corresponds to, and get used to using them. And this book was apparently printed from typewritten copy, though it is mostly quite clear. A number of entertaining cartoons drawn in a very distinctive 'loopy' style are scattered throughout the book. This book covers almost all the sounds (and perhaps more) taught in Ladefoged's Course, introducing each one clearly, then offering many chances for oral and listening practice. It takes examples from familiar European languages like English and French, relatively close-to-home ones like Southern Min and Vietnamese, and some really exotic ones like Kpelle (African) and Maidu (Amerindian). It seems no other book has come along to replace this one in its breadth, rigor and rich abundance of exercises. Worth working through if you are serious about phonetics, especially field work. Someone should put together a new book like this soon, or update and re-release this one.

4. Anita C. Bickford, Rick Floyd. 1981; 2003. Tools for Analyzing the World's Languages: Articulatory Phonetics. 3rd ed. Dallas: SIL International. 223pp. Paper.

     This book is probably the best currently available response to the suggestion in the preceding entry, i.e. to update and resissue Smalley's Manual. Don't expect to find too much in this book that's new if you've gone through Ladefoged's Course, and it has nowhere near the amount of practice exercises that Smalley has. What this book is good for is consolidating what you've learned in Introduction to Phonetics; it also provides some good transcription practice with real (rather than made-up) examples from real languages, and lots of good addtional "tricks" to help you learn and practice unfamiliar sounds. This book introduces the "Americanist" system used in Smalley parallel to the current standard IPA symbols. The chapters are short and easy to digest. Two criticisms: (1) there is no accompanying CD available with this book; and (2) there are lots of notes at the bottoms of the pages, which I find interrupt the flow of the chapters a bit, and they're set in very tiny print. See also LINGUIST review. I strongly agree with reviewer Peter Unseth's comment: "In the abstract, I presume that the sounds could be taught equally well using nonsense words designed to highlight the sounds taught in each lesson, but I feel my students respond better to data that is collected from real languages." Not yet available in the NTU library; why not put in a request?

5.  王士元 Wang, William S. Y. 1988. 語言與語音 Language and Phonetics [in Chinese]. 台北 Taipei: 文鶴 Crane's 167pp. Paper.  801.1 1041 

      This book is by a highly renowned and extremely productive Chinese linguist at UC Berkeley, William S.Y. Wang. It is an eclectic collection of material based mostly on a course in phonetics he gave in Beijing some years ago. Four big advantages of this book: (1) it covers a very wide range of material, some outside of the field of phonetics; (2) it treats acoustic phonetics in considerable depth; (3) it gives you the Chinese translations of many of the technical terms used in acoustic phonetics; (4) it's inexpensive and easily obtainable at Crane's and the library. A big disadvantage: it's full of errors and typos, and many of the tables and figures it refers to are nowhere to be found in the book. You can use this opportunity as a test to see if you can catch and correct the errors yourself. The errors don't cancel out the usefulness of this little book; just be extra attentive when you read it.

6. Laver, John. 1994. Principles of Phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 707pp. Paper. P221 L293 1994

      This is an impeccably written, well-organized and comprehensive overview of phonetics. It's meant for beginners, but I think it more suitable for people with some background in phonetics. The style is academic and not as lively as Ladefoged's books, but very good, and it includes things not found in Ladefoged or Catford, like information on pulmonic ingresssives. Available at Crane's and the NTU library. Amazon review here.

7. Ladefoged, Peter. 1962; 1996. Elements of Acoustic Phonetics. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago. Paper.  QP306 L33 1962 

      This book is a good, and gentle, introduction to acoustic phonetics, with chapters on computer processing of speech. Fairly recently updated. Available at the library.

8. Ladefoged, Peter. 2003. Phonetic Data Analysis: An Introduction to Fieldwork and Instrumental Techniques. Oxford: Blackwell. 193pp. Paper.

      This is Prof. Ladefoged's newest book. In it he discusses the very practical issues of doing fieldwork and speech analysis: finding and paying informants; how to elicit, record, and organize your data; pitch, length, and loudness; how to make good spectrograms; spectrographic analysis of vowels and consonants; There are boxes throughout filled with Prof. Ladefoged's personal experiences while doing fieldwork in places like Namibia and Brazil - these are really fun to read! I appreciate Prof. Ladefoged's admissions of where he didn't always do everything perfectly and that he hasn't always been right. This helps one feel a little more relaxed about one's own efforts, and also encourages a healthy honesty about our work. As usual, Prof. Ladefoged manages to make difficult concepts not only palatable but even enjoyable to read about to the 'average' reader. Very highly recommended.

9.  Fry, Dennis. 1979. The Physics of Speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. QP306 F8 1979  and  QP306 F945 1979 

     This book on acoustic phonetics is short, clear, and quite thorough. The only problem is that some of the information is at odds with other sources, e.g. the definition of 'intensity'. Available at the library and Crane's.

10.  Johnson, Keith. 1997. Acoustic and Auditory Phonetics. Oxford: Blackwell. 169pp.  P221.5 J64 1997 

      A great follow-up to 6; treats some newer developments. Used as a text in Prof. Chiang Wen-yu's graduate experimental phonetics class. Very popular – deservedly so – in the field for the past several years. A new edition has just come out. Available at the library.

11.  Denes, Peter and Elliot Pinson. 1993. The Speech Chain: The Physics and Biology of Spoken Language. 2nd edition. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. QP306 D413 

      A standard and widely-used introduction to acoustic phonetics. Accessible. In the library.

12. 9. Rosen, Stuart and Peter Howell. 1991. Signals and systems for speech and hearing. London; San Diego:Academic Press. 322pp. QP461 R66 1991

     If you read this one, do it somewhere between the first and third book you read on acoustic phonetics. If you read it too early, you probably won't get what is meant by 'systems' in this context, or what they're good for; if you read it too late, you will have already covered most of the material in this book elsewhere. This book is reader-friendly, and contains lots of good information on the processing of speech signals, e.g. filtering, the making of spectra and spectrograms, and digitalization. This book offers greater coverage of 'phase' than most books of its kind. Available in NTU library.

13.  Bartholomew, Wilmer T. 1942. Acoustics of Music. Westport: Greenwood Press. 242pp.  ML3805.B29 A2 

      On music rather than speech sounds, and it's quite old, but it offers a very good and digestible foundation in acoustics. In the library.

14. Jeans, Sir James. 1937; 1968. Science and Music. Dover reprint of original Cambridge University Press edition. New York: Dover. 258pp. Paper. ML3805 J346

      Also old, so some of the material is outdated, e.g. on the ear and hearing. And it covers some of the same material as 10. But it is rigorous and informative, and a good review of acoustics mainly as applied to music. Available in the physics reading room.

15.  Clark, John & Colin Yallop. 1990. An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. Oxford: Blackwell, P217 C65 1995 

      This is a very thorough introduction to and overview of phonetics and phonology. Available in the library and sometimes at Bookman and Crane's.

Ladefoged, Peter and Ian Maddieson. 1996. The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. 426 pp. Paper. P221 L24 1996 

      This is a comprehensive, in-depth treatment of the sounds that occur in the languages of the world, organized mainly by manner of articulation. Heavy and demanding, but if you're in this field to stay, you ought to tackle this sooner or later. The 'clicks' chapter especially is quite taxing to work through, but correspondingly you'll get lots out of it. Available at the library.

Pullam, Geoffrey & William Ladusaw. 1986. Phonetic Symbol Guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Paper. P221 P85 1986 

      A handy reference on IPA symbols, past and present. Frankly, I don't use this that often, though.

Ing, Roseller Ortega 吳國賢. 1997. The Teaching of English Pronunciation 英語發音教學. Taipei: Crane. 142 pp. Paper.

      Interesting material on learning good English pronunciation, written from the point of view of a Taiwan learner, by a noted UK-trained, multilingual Chinese-Filipino phonetician at NTNU. Crane's.

Knowles, Gerald. 1987. Patterns of Spoken English: An Introduction to English Phonetics. Londong & New York. 262 pp. Paper.

      Less technical, and it uses odd phonetic symbols, but engaging – it talks about fun things like phonaesthemes, and areas treated less often in depth by other works, such as connected speech phenomena. Crane's.

何大安 Ho, Tah-an. 1987. 聲韻學中的觀念和方法 Historical phonology: concepts and methods [in Chinese]. 台北: 大安出版社 Taipei: Tah-an Publishing Co. 336 pp. Paper.  802.46 2143 

      A concise and clear introduction to historical Chinese phonology; material on general phonetics and linguistics as well. A good introductory book to find out just what 聲韻學 is all about. Audit a 聲韻學 in the Chinese department to learn more Prof. 楊秀芳 (wife of the author) comes highly recommended. Try the Student Book Store 學生書局 or Lexus 樂學書局; also in the library.

21. 國音學. 國立臺灣師範大學 國音教材
編輯委員會. 台北:正中書局. 1982; 1986. 627pp. Paper.

         A comprehensive history of the development of Mandarin phonetic systems in the Republic of China; also conventional Mandarin phonetics, i.e. this book doesn't address differences in Taiwan Mandarin from standard textbook Mandarin. In Chinese.

22. Gimson, A. C. and Alan Cruttenden. 1962; 1994; 2001. Gimson's Pronunciation of English. 6th ed. London: Edward Arnold. (paper) ISBN: 0-340-75972-0, xix+339pp. See LINGUIST review of this book.

     A standard work on RP phonetics with 'classic' status; recently revised.

23. Roach, Peter. 2001. Phonetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford Introductions to Language Study.

     Click the link to read a LINGUIST review of this book. An earlier edition is available at Crane's.

24. Reetz, Henning. 1999. Artikulatorische und akustische Phonetik. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier. Pp. 200.

      If you read German and like phonetics, definitely get hold of this and read it. It's somewhat similar to Ladefoged's Elements of Acoustic Phonetics in coverage and tone, but it includes materials not in Elements or most other books of this type. Henning makes difficult material extremely accessible, clear, and even fun to go through and learn – it is easy to understand how he earned an excellent teaching award! The first major part of the book covers sound waves, speech analysis and processing, and acoustics; the second is on the anatomy, physiology and dynamics of the speech and hearing organs; formants and the acoustic structure of the individual sounds of language are also covered here. An amazing amount of information is covered in a very small space, without seeming too dense or overwhelming. The text abounds in apt analogies taken from everyday life which are in many cases accompanied by clear and often charming illustrations. Ordering information and sample pages are available via the title link above. A five-star book.

25. Hayward, Katrina. 2000. Experimental Phonetics. Harlow, UK, New York: Longman. 298pp. QP306 H39 2000 (on the 4th floor of the NTU library).

     "Experimental phonetics" is defined by the author as phonetic research that uses instruments to record, measure and analyze speech events; this is contrasted to "impressionistic phonetics". This is explained in the first chapter, which I found to be one of the more engaging in the book. If you've read some of the works in this list, this book will probably be over 80% review. But different presentations of familiar material are often useful for consolidating existing knowledge. And there are new bits here and there, like information on differing VOTs for the different stops.


1. Measuring Speech Production. Maureen Stone. (VC) QP306 M42z 1993 Videocassettes 1-3.

      A three-set collection containing demonstrations for use in teaching courses on speech acoustics, physiology, and instrumentation. A text booklet describing the demonstrations and bibliographies for additional information is included. Issued in 1993.

2. Speech Perception. Patricia K. Kuhl. (VC) BF463.S64 S74z 1996

      This video contains a presentation by Patricia K. Kuhl on Speech Perception. Segments include the following: I. General Introduction to Speech/Language Processing: Academic, Business, and Society Interest in this Topic; Spoken Language Processing; II. Classic Issues in Speech Perception; III. Phonetic Perception; IV. Model of Developmental Speech Perception; V. Cross-modal Speech Perception, Links to Production; VI. Biology and Neuroscience Connections; VII. Summary and Conclusions.

Advanced works (particularly on acoustics, auditory phonetics, speech signal analysis, speech synthesis, ASR (automatic speech recognition), psychology, and other more technical phonetics-related topics)

1. Jurafsky, Daniel & James H. Martin. 2001. Speech and Language Processing: An Introduction to Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, and Speech Recognition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 934 pp. Available at 天瓏資訊圖書 Tianlong Computer Books, 107 Chungking South Road, Section 1, Taipei; this bookstore has the most complete collection I know of in Taipei of up-to-the-minute English-language computer books, including a good selection of works on computational linguistics, natural language processing, and related topics. Their prices are reasonable, considering the original publishing prices of this kind of books in the U.S. Request a VIP card for discounts.).

     A very readable one-stop resource on speech and language processing, computational linguistics, natural language processing, and much more. Start here if you're looking for a digestible introduction to these fields. Visit their Web site at: Listed in the NTU library catalog with the note: 'order cancelled'.

2. Gold, Ben & Nelson Morgan. 2000. Speech and Audio Signal Processing: Processing and Perception of Speech and Music. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 537 pp.

     This is an advanced and highly technical graduate-level work for engineers, but it is very clear, informative and engaging. Found at the Einstein Book Store, on Hsinsheng South Road across from the side gate of NTU, 2nd floor, just above McDonald's. Available in reference or reserved readings section of the NTU library, i.e. it can't be checked out.

3. C. J. Moore, Brian C. J. 1982; 1997. An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing. 3rd ed. Academic Press. 350 pp. ISBN: 0125056273 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci. 2F BF251 M66 1989

     You may have to reserve this book in advance to get it from the library. This book is not a graded introduction to human hearing, but rather a compendium of research results in many areas of hearing, with emphasis on very recent studies.

4. Stevens, Kenneth N. 1998. Acoustic Phonetics (Current Studies in Linguistics). Cambridge: MA: MIT Press. 607 pp. Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc. Sci. 2F P221.5 S74 1998

     The 'Big Mama' of books on acoustic phonetics. This is basically an engineering text and is quite heavy on math.

     Further advanced works; most are available in the NTU library.

5. Perkell, Joseph S. & Dennis H. Klatt, ed. 1986. Invariance and variability in speech processes. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 604 pp. ISBN: 0262692503 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc. Sci. 2F P95 155 1986.

6. Warren, Richard M. 1999. Auditory Perception: A New Analysis and Synthesis. 2nd ed. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge Univ Press. 241 pp. ISBN: 0521587832 Gen. Lib. Sci/Tech 4F QP461 W27 1999

7. J. M. Pickett. 1999. The Acoustics of Speech Communication: Fundamentals, Speech Perception Theory, and Technology 404 pp. Allyn & Bacon; ISBN: 0205198872 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci. 2F BF463.S64 P5 1999

8. Zwicker, Eberhard, H. Fastl, H. Frater. 1974. Psychoacoustics: Facts and Models (Springer Series in Information Sciences, 22). 2nd edition. Springer Verlag. 416 pp. ISBN: 3540650636. Gen. Lib. Sci/Tech 4F QP461 Z92 1999

9. Hartmann, William, M. 1998. Signals, Sound, and Sensation (Modern Acoustics and Signal Processing). Springer Verlag. 647 pp. ISBN: 1563962837 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci 2F BF251 H35z 1998.

10. Cook, Perry R., ed. 1999. Music, Cognition, and Computerized Sound: An Introduction to Psychoacoustics. Book & CD edition. MIT Press. 372 pp. ISBN: 0262032562 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci. 2F ML3805 M8814 1999

11. Bregman, Albert S. 1994. Auditory Scene Analysis: Perceptual Organization of Sound. Bradford Books. 773 pp. Reprint edition. ISBN: 0262521954 Gen. Lib. Sci/Tech 4F QP465 B74 1990. Companion sound disc: Albert S. Bregman, Pierre A. Ahad. Montreal: Auditory Perception Laboratory, Psychology Department, McGill University, c1995 available in Linguistics graduate program library (AL) QP465 B741z 1995

12. Deutsch, Diana, ed. 1998. The Psychology of Music (Academic Press Series in Cognition and Perception) 2nd ed. Academic Press. 542 pp. ISBN: 0122135652 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci. 2F ML3830 P9 1999

13. Wallin, Nils L., Bjorn Merker, Steven Brown, ed. 2000. The Origins of Music. MIT Press. 498 pp. ISBN: 0262232065 Gen. Lib. Hum/Soc Sci. 2F ML3800 O74 2000

14. Cousto, Hans. 2000. The Cosmic Octave: Origin of Harmony, Planets, Tones, Colors, the Power of Inherent Vibrations (Paper) LifeRhythm. Not available at NTU library.


Read a good phonetics book lately? Send over the title and we may add it to the list!

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