Phonics: (新音標) The dominant phonetics used in USA of only English’s 26 alphabet letters and one indistinguished schwa sound (ә) .Specialized in differentiating the vowel’s differences easily.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Video Lessons

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4


Only the vowels and special sounds are listed, the consonant sounds are all same.


Phonics are so simple, only mark a small line above the vowels for long sounds, leave it blank for short sounds, and add up a ∂. 6 longs 6 shorts +1 ∂ , the rest are all English alphabets and their combinations (little differences in different American dictionaries).                                                                                                                                            

Explanation of Phonics

* I P A: (國際音標) International Phonetic Alphabets consists of 24 vowel and 61 consonant sounds.
* I checked a set of 1913 Webster’s Dictionary consisting of 13 big books, it had no Schwa sound ∂ in there at all.

 Phonics has been used as the main phonetics in English speaking world since the 17th century, because of its simplicity and ability to differentiate the vowel sounds. But by the lack of an undistinguished sound it had been criticized as too simple and unscientific (inaccurate), and was replaced by the I PA in some Asian countries  (China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea ,etc).But in America Phonics has never lost the battle, in the contrary by adding an undistinguished Schwa sound ә quietly around the mid-twentieth century, Phonics turn out to be the most dominant phonetics system in this country by possessing all the good qualities of simplicity ,accuracy, easy to acquire, and to promote spelling, etc.

History of Phonics

In the year 2000, the US congress had that all children had to learn phonics* in school, based upon the research the Harvard University and the Carnegie Foundation.  But about 1.5 of the biggest countries in Asia - China, Japan, Thailand and Korea are still using IPA* as their official phonetics to acquire the English language. In the past 100 years, there was a fierce battle between phonic and IPA in the English phonetic world. it had all started by the British claiming that their own phonics was too simple and unscientific (inaccurate), so replaced it by a British pronounced, accurate but much more complicated  IPA ( the other reason might be trying to protect the British pronunciation from the elimination by the stronger American’s). A lot of countries had followed the Britain switching to IPA officially (Oxford dictionaries, biggest one in Britain are using IPA). But the biggest English speaking country USA haven’t changed, oppositely around the years of 1940,* she quietly absorbed the schwa sound ∂ from IPA, then the phonics had turned to be a very complete and powerful tool with both accuracy and simplicity.

Now all the American dictionaries are using phonics with ∂. I had checked 22 biggest English dictionaries in the world, 15 of them are using phonics, more than 2/3 in majority, become the true winner of the battle. Only 7 are using other phonetics including IPA.  So the little soldier ∂ had helped phonics winning the big battle over  IPA miraculously.