Experimental Phonetics in Applied Linguistic Research

Author Name(s): Denis Martyanov*, Ravza Kulsharipova , Nadezhda Oglezneva
Author Email: damartyan@yandex.ru


The formation of experimental phonetics was accompanied by an interest to the physical nature of speech sounds. The experimental methodology makes it possible to detail the characteristics of sound formation mechanisms. The foundations of experimental phonetics were first laid at Kazan University at the end of the 19th century. Even then, the phonetic structures of the language were identified as paramount, due to which it became possible to substantiate, creatively and methodologically correctly, the theory and methodology of experimental study of the sound structure of the language, and to predict milestones and steps of future research. Extralinguistic views were largely transmitted through phonetic structures and units. It is really important to assess and reveal the role of phonetics in the formation of the scientific knowledge system, because in the conditions of multilingualism, the sounds of native speech implicitly act as a means to formalize mental spaces (according to the tradition of Kazan Linguistic School, this can be a model of the word phonemography). Acoustic phonetics helps to reveal the general patterns of the dynamics of the speech model in communication between the speakers of heterogeneous languages ​​and to identify vulnerable points in the articulatory base, using the acoustic parameters of sounding speech elements. Modern instrumental research is aimed at describing the acoustic component of speech, which contributes to a further in-depth study of human speech phenomenon as a complex associative aggregate (the definition of V.A.Bogoroditsky, the founder of experimental phonetics in Russia). Our research is aimed at revealing the role and potential of experimental phonetics in the process of phonetic knowledge formation.


Philological competence includes a database on all systemic knowledge for a philologist. The theory of knowledge is widely studied in many scientific disciplines, in particular in psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, linguistic culturology, etc. Y.I.N. Boduen de Courtenay, the founder of Kazan Linguistic School, created one of the first classifications devoted to the types of knowledge in linguistics. He recommended to distinguish such types of knowledge as intuitive, scientific, linguistic in the process of studying the language.

Later, in connection with the expansion of the approaches to the fundamental paradigms of the language, for example the system-structural, communicative, with the development of the activity aspect, the typology of knowledge acquired a detailed character in the following parameters: relation to science; social life; research methodology; dynamics of verbal representation, etc.; these aspects are described in details in the works of V.V. Krasnykh [Krasnykh 2012: 172-175].

A systematic approach to the study of the phenomena and structures of language was also originally set in the concept of Kazan Linguistic School. We believe that this was the reason for the interest in understanding the phonetic level of language as a harmonic part of linguistic unity. Resources, the possibilities of the phonetic system of the language were interpreted within the framework of psychophonetics, anthropophonics, phonemography of the word.

These approaches did not simply reflect the metalinguistic entities – they were a kind of indication of the directions to studying phonetic units within the framework of science and the everyday communication. At the same time, these aspects constituted a platform for applied analysis of phonetics. It was at Kazan University at the end of the 19th century that it became possible to substantiate the theory and methodology of experimental study of the sound structure of the language, to predict the milestones and steps of future research. V.A. Bogoroditsky outlined the key moments of instrumental research which play a leading role in developing the foundations of the articulatory base of language and speech [Bogoroditsky 1930].

In the linguodidactic aspect, linguistic knowledge is not only the criteria for mastering the language, it structures the integral picture of mental spaces of the native speaker and thereby significantly diversify the vectors of the human speech continuum. We are of the opinion that the basis and dynamics of human cognitive skills should be interconnected with the laws of speech, so relevant for our days.

V.A.Bogoroditsky defined speech as a complex associative aggregate. The phonetic component of speech predetermines a lot in the formation of both the corresponding metadata and the basic means of organizing and transmitting acoustic-phonetic and pragmatic information. The growing interest to speech implies the development of such a competence in a philologist that would allow him/her to successfully implement a wide range of problems that originate in the sound structure of the language and through it emerge to create communicative tactics and strategies: models of communication, phonetics and presuppositions; phonetics and universal-object code, etc. [Dediu 2017].


The data of experimental phonetic analysis of speech is of great importance in teaching the basics of speech activity. Acoustic phonetics helps not only to reveal the general patterns of the dynamics of the speech model in communication between native speakers of heterogeneous languages, but also to identify vulnerable points in the articulation base using the acoustic parameters of sounding speech elements, to make up a kind of phonetic code for extracting information from the flow of speech.

Thus, experiments on the perception of the semantic segments of speech showed a small percentage of accentuation in the sounding speech of non-speakers of the Russian language; if you include the emotional factor, then there is a better sensitivity to the semantic points of the message, so in teaching practice, this technique should be actively used with visualization of data on the screen. Semantics of accentuation in Russian linguistics was developed by T.M.Nikolaeva [Nikolaeva 2000].

The auditive analysis also revealed the advisability of applying exercises for modeling frequency ranges of the fundamental tone in the practice of teaching and the formation of phonetic knowledge. This is especially important when working with native speakers of tonal languages, for example, Chinese. But for Tatar native speakers this is also significant, because rhythmically Russian and Tatar languages ​​are different; they can be qualified as accent and anaccent, accordingly, the rhythm-melodic organization will differ. The typology of accent patterns will have different rhythmic, dynamic and melodic structures. Experimental phonetics appears in such a process not as an auxiliary didactic device, but as an integral, semantic and grammatical information technology that combines the semantic and communicative competencies of learners.

Our research is carried out according to modern principles of interpretation of acoustic phonetics possibilities. V.A. Bogoroditsky’s theory (speech is a complex associative phenomenon) is confirmed in modern linguistics by the developed modern computer technologies which should be used in the educational process.


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