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1.0 INTRODUCTION This assignment is a critical essay on the importance of phonology.

Phonology is the study of the sound patterns of language. The word phonology refers to the linguistic knowledge about the sound patterns of a particular language. Phonological knowledge permits a speaker to produce sounds that form meaningful utterances(TAK PERLU EXPLAIN). This essay comprises of several points. The first point of this essay explains about phonology helps speaker in improving the pronunciation of words in a language and it then proceeds to discuss the phonological knowledge allows speakers to become articulate in figuring out meaning of words in a language. The following point that this essay intend to discuss is about the knowledge of phonology enables one in knowing the categories and manner of articulation that may help people with speech disorders while the fourth point is phonology is important in improving reading and spelling development of a speaker. Whereas, the last point concerns phonology helps speakers in recognising the syllable structure, word stress and intonation of a language. Relevant examples and citations are provided in this discussion.

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2.0 IMPORTANCE OF PHONOLOGY 2.1 Phonological knowledge helps speaker in improving the

pronunciation of words in a language. In the process of learning a new language especially for the secondlanguage speakers, the absence of a good model and without guidance, the speakers tend to produce and adopt sounds of the language based on the first languages sounds. Consequently pronunciation will never be acquired well. This is where the knowledge of phonology becomes important as it helps in improving the pronunciation of words in a particular language. Knowledge of phonology introduces the using of phonetic symbols which may help speaker to make pronunciation of a word more accurate. Often
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certain words or morphemes are pronounced differently based on their context. Transcription to the phonetics symbols will help speaker to distinguish sounds of words according to a language. For instance, a Malay speaker will adopt the sound of letter c as /t/ but in English it is pronounce as /k/. It also can be seen in the word like cat, cap and catch. It is necessary to use the phonetic symbols to show the pronunciation of English words because the ordinary alphabet does not have enough letters to represent the sounds of the language. Thus the use of phonetic symbols can be very helpful to identify the sound patterns of the words and thus prevent from negative utterances. Moreover, breakdown in communication is the result of incorrect pronunciation of speakers. Phonology emphasis on special features of English pronunciation such as long and short vowels, consonants and etc.. The different sounds within a language are called as phonemes. By knowing all the types of phonemes which comprises vowels and consonants in the language, more or less will help in pronunciation and as well as enhance communication. In addition it is important to note that different languages have different level of phonetics. The phonemic representation of a word has a close relationship with the phonetic representation or how it is pronounced. Phonology serves as a guide to speakers to learn the phonological rules to improve the pronunciation of the language. The function of the phonological rules in a grammar is to provide the phonetic information necessary for the pronunciation of utterances (Fromkin et.al 2011). On top of that, studying phonology especially the phonological rules give extra information on the speakers to improve the pronunciation. The rules for pronunciation emphasizes on how plural morphemes are pronounced. For example, if the word ends with fricative /s/, /z/, /t / and etc., the final s is pronounced as /iz/. It can be seen through the word pages, buses, and matches etc. The phonological rules not only for plural nouns but also apply to third person singular of verbs in the simple present. By knowing the rules, more or less will improve the pronunciation of words in a language.
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2.2 Phonological knowledge allows speakers to become articulate in figuring out meaning of words in a language. Speakers that have been exposed to the phonological knowledge may become articulate in the process of reading and conveying meaning of words in a sentence. It is important to understand that listening process is required in mastering a language. Thus, listening to the different sound of words enable speakers to distinguish meaning of a spoken words. In English, there are many words that are spelled the same as other words but have different pronunciation. Those words are called as homograph. For example, the word present has a double meaning which vary in pronunciation but same spelling. For non-native speakers, the word present might be the same in all aspect. The phonological knowledge helps speakers to recognise the sound patterns of the words through phonetic symbols, and at the same time allow speakers to become articulate in figuring out the meaning of the word. Additionally, phonology also helps speakers to distinguishing minimal pairs in a language. A minimal pairs is two words with different meanings that are identical except for one sound segment that occurs in the same place in each word (ibid). For instance, ban and van are a minimal pair that differ only in the final segments. The segments of the minimal pairs whether it is initial or final segment is the matter as that is where the two words differ. Speakers might find it easy to differentiate the meaning of particular words that have the identical sound segment in a language. Thus, provide a space for speakers to understand words better as well as figuring out meanings of a language.

2.3 The knowledge of phonology enables one in knowing the categories and manner of articulation that may help people with speech disorders. The speech sounds are produced according to the place of articulation (Dr. Imran Ho Abdullah 2010). Sounds that formed can be grouped together based on the place of articulation. This knowledge offers the information to the speakers to note which areas or places of articulation which then helps to determine the correct sounds of words. Additionally, the variations in the sound would also depend whether the sounds are voiced or voiceless. The production of speech sounds also presented the letters in a language. For example, there are 26 letters in the English language, 21 consonants and 5 vowels. However, phonology introduces with 44 English phonemes which concerns of the sound of the alphabet. Every language has different phonemes and using different phonological phase. Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language that serves to distinguish two words. The place of articulation is important to produce sound according to the set of phoneme. Most non-native speakers of English language find that it is difficult to distinguish the sound of words that have the same manner and place of articulation but differ in the phonation. For instance, the letter /b/ and /p/ as in bad and pad are different words with different meanings. The only distinction relies on the manner of articulation of the bilabial consonant. Therefore, /b/ and /p/ are different phonemes in English. This knowledge is not only gives the information about the production of speech sounds but prevents from speech disorders. Besides that, the speech sounds produced at the right place of articulation giving meaningful utterances. Good pronunciation skills also the results of this knowledge. According to Fromkin et.al 2011, pronunciation is not a random process and it is systematic and rule governed. Although the system appears complex, it is more or less help people with speech disorders.

2.4 Phonology

is

important

in

improving

reading

and

spelling

development of a speaker. According to Louisa Moats and Carol Tolman (2011), phonological knowledge is critical for learning to read any alphabetic writing system. Poor reading and spelling development is the results of difficulty with phonological skills. In English language, the uses of alphabetic writing system which includes the letters and symbols represent speech sounds may help speakers to read the written language effectively. Without phonological skills one might not understand the printed or writing system and do not know how it represents the spoken words (ibid). Besides that, to acquire a language, one must start at the early stage of life. For example, children are being taught phonics in the early stage of language learning as it serves as a guidance for the children to recognise letters with the correct speech sounds. It then may improve their reading and spelling words in the later level. Elain Lutaz (2011) stated that children progress through certain stages of spelling development. One begins to understand how a language works through the sound of letters. Furthermore, reading and spelling require a level of metalinguistic speech that is not natural or easily acquired (ibid). The introduction to phonetic and phoneme is crucial to recognise speech sounds with the written words for the new speakers. Consequently, helps to understand how the sounds of letters extract the meaning of the written language and may help one in spell the correct words according to the speech sounds produced. This knowledge also enhances the development of vocabulary of a speaker.

2.5 Phonology helps speakers in recognising the syllable structure, word stress and intonation of a language.
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Generally, syllables are related to word stress and follow up by intonation. This knowledge is important to speakers of a language especially in English speaking world as it carries meaning according to how a word being stress at. Stress pattern is very important aspect of spoken English as it plays a crucial role in helping a listener make sense of what a speaker is saying (ibid). If a speaker continues to stress in the wrong place, the listener might not understand what the speaker is actually trying to say. Thus this knowledge is important to the speakers in recognising the right syllable structure and word stress so that conveying messages becomes easier. As mentioned before, stress plays an important role for it signals meaning. Stress can determine whether the word is a noun or a verb. Two syllable nouns are stressed on the first syllable and two syllable verbs are stressed on the second syllable. For example, the word refuse can be a noun or verb based on the stress pattern in a sentence. Such word can be identified according to the stress mark () over the syllable as in refuse(verb) and refuse(noun). Speakers might find it helpful to recognise the stress pattern of a language and as well as improve pronunciation skills. On top of that, phonology also covers the aspect of intonation in a language. Intonation of a language refers to the rise and fall of the voice or the tune speech (David H.D & Gloria R.P 1998). The tone unit or the intonation group of an utterance can vary according to the emphasis of the speaker. It is crucial to determine the speakers emotion and what the messages that the speaker intend to convey. For instance, if the word really is said with high intonation with the voice rising, it is likely to be heard as a question, while falling voice is more likely to be heard as confirmation or agreement. Therefore, phonology is important in recognising the intonation used in a language.

3.0 CONCLUSION

Phonology covers a wide scope includes the sound system of a language. This phonological knowledge is very important as it helps speaker in improving the pronunciation of words in a language and allows speakers to become articulate in figuring out meaning of words in a language. Besides the knowledge of phonology enables one in knowing the categories and manner of articulation that may help people with speech disorders. By learning the knowledge also helps in improving reading and spelling development of a speaker and recognising the syllable structure, word stress and intonation of a language. Only by studying phonology of English is it possible to acquire a full understanding of the use of sounds in English speech (Peter Roach 2009).