Definition of phonetic in English:


Line breaks: phon|et¦ic
Pronunciation: /fəˈnɛtɪk


1Relating to speech sounds: detailed phonetic information
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  • A traditional phonetic transcription represents speech as a succession of segments.
  • The basic phonetic unit of pirate speech is the single long-drawn-out letter: R, I, A, etc.
  • Within this framework, speech input could be analyzed into phonetic features that are connected to a phonemic level of representation.
1.1(Of a system of writing) having a direct correspondence between symbols and sounds: a phonetic alphabet
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  • In addition to the adaptation of Chinese characters to pre-existing Japanese vocabulary, two phonetic systems of writing were developed after the ninth century.
  • Champollion went on to show that for most of their writing, the scribes relied on using a relatively conventional phonetic alphabet.
  • Next he contends that Iroquois orality and phonetic writing stand in equal relation; he supports this claim through his metacommentary on translation and literacy and through his allusions to the Bible.
1.2Relating to phonetics: phonetic training
More example sentences
  • It was generally agreed that professional language teachers should receive phonetic training, and that at the school stage the teacher should preferably be of the same language background as the pupils.
  • I just copied the story uncritically from Wucker's account and from Dove's poem, and of course neither of them is trained in phonetic vocabulary or its application to speech.
  • Language CD-ROMs, which combine photographs, sounds, literal definitions and phonetic explanations, can contribute to restoring, sustaining and promoting of Aboriginal languages.


early 19th century: from modern Latin phoneticus, from Greek phōnētikos, from phōnein 'speak'.



More example sentences
  • The/l / at the end of bell is still phonetically a lateral consonant for me, pronounced with the blade of my tongue in contact with the roof of my mouth.
  • They found that baby-talk vowels are not just spoken more clearly, but are phonetically different from their adult equivalents, New Scientist magazine reported.
  • Now, even the phonetically challenged will master the pronunciation of ‘Tuiasosopo.’


Pronunciation: /-sɪz(ə)m/
More example sentences
  • It was a ‘European phoneticism of the sound the Khoikhoi made when dancing in the new moon’.
  • There doesn't seem to be any phoneticism in Aztec


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  • The problem now is that, being a phoneticist, my pronunciation of Hungarian is such that I am often mistaken for a native and people don't make the linguistic assumptions they would normally when communicating with a foreigner.
  • Miss Hagen forces her voice into squeaks and growls, and slurs out enough schwas to dumbfound a phoneticist.


(also phoneticise) verb
More example sentences
  • Officers from Kojimachi police department in Tokyo have prepared a list of questions in the Irish language and phoneticised the pronunciation in Japanese script.
  • This is a novel steeped in the customs and cadences of the South, and Gay makes a good attempt at phoneticising the Southern drawl.
  • Many Arabic and Persian loan words were removed, while words from European languages were phoneticized.

Definition of phonetic in: