Phonology, syntax, and semantics are three important areas of study in linguistics. Phonology is all about the sounds of a language. Remember the lyrics of that old song, “You say to-mā-to; I say to-mah-to”? A phonologist is interested in how and why the two vowel sounds differ among various groups of people.
Let's look at another example. In Old English (spoken in England from about the mid-fifth century through the eleventh century), words that look much the same as those of modern English were actually pronounced quite differently. The Old English word “wē” means the same as the modern “we,” but it was pronounced like “way” rather than “wee.”
Phonologists study sounds like these, how each language combines them to form words, and how they change over time. Books of phonology, or sections of language books that deal with phonology, often list the vowels and consonants of a language, explain how they are pronounced in various situations, and sometimes explore how...
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