These are the three components of language, umbrella topics so to speak, which comprise what we use to create a message. Form includes phonology (rules about speech sounds), morphology (small units of meaning within words), and syntax (word order). Content includes semantics (meaning of words). And Use includes pragmatics (rules for communication through language). Throughout the semester we will go into more depth about each of these subcategories, but for today let’s start with phonology.
This is where those lovely phonics books we did as kids come into play! A phoneme is the smallest linguistic unit of sound that can signal a change in meaning. When Speech-Language Pathologists write out these sounds they put them in between slashes called virgules so they do not get mistaken for English letters which get put in quotation marks. For example, /k/ is the “k” sound at the beginning of the word “cat” or at the beginning of the word “kite”. There are a total of 43 phonemes or distinct sounds in English. And just like I mentioned in my earlier post, “Vowels in IPA,” it is important to remember that some sounds can be represented by more than one English letter. The /f/ sound is spelled/ represented differently in the words “fish,” “phone,” and “muffin.”