Phonetics is the study of speech sounds — how they are produced, transmitted, and perceived — and Phonology is the study of how speech sounds are organized as part of the grammar of a language. They are thus closely related subdisciplines of linguistics. Phonologists look for regular patterns in sets of data and write rules that capture the unconscious adjustments to pronunciation speakers make under the influence of neighboring sounds. They also develop theoretical models to account for the distinctive sounds of a language, the features that make up each sound, and for the ways both sounds and features are combined. These theoretical models may employ sets of rules that derive utterances from a combination of units, or they may show how speakers arrive at “optimal” utterances through a process of elimination.

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