Friday, October 21, 2016

The Ling Space: What Do Nasal Sounds Look Like? Sonorant Acoustics

(The Ling Space)

I mentioned this in my review of the previous episode, but I'm starting to realize now how little I absorbed of this series by previously just playing it on in the background.  There's a lot of technical stuff in here that requires very careful attention.

I went back and carefully re-watched all the relevant episodes before moving on to this one.  (The Ling Space helpfully tells you which episodes to watch first at the beginning of each episode).

This current episode as well I had to watch very carefully and slowly to fully understand it.  I frequently paused parts of it, and played some sections several times.

But if the disadvantage of The Ling Space is that it requires careful attention, the advantage is that it's essentially a graduate level linguistics course that's available on-line completely free.   (I really wish these guys had been around back when I did my own M.A. in applied linguistics.  A thorough knowledge of this video series would have given me a huge head-start.)

This particular episode talked about sonarants and formants, which brought back bad memories of my phonetics class in graduate school.   (I had really struggled to understand that course when I was taking it.)

In fact, I'm still not sure I'm exactly clear on what the difference is between the first formant, second formant, and 3rd formant.  I think each formant represents a different frequency of sound that right?

The topic of the end of the episode, the difference between the approximants /l/ and /r/, and how many non-native English speakers struggle to distinguish them, is something I'm also somewhat familiar with.  I wrote my final paper on the Japanese perception of /l/ and /r/, which I later expanded into a minor thesis.

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