Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

Phonology is the study of sounds in a language.

explanatory context


analytical review

All About Linguistics (undated) states:

What is Phonology?

Phonology is the study of the patterns of sounds in a language and across languages. Put more formally, phonology is the study of the categorical organisation of speech sounds in languages; how speech sounds are organised in the mind and used to convey meaning. In this section of the website, we will describe the most common phonological processes and introduce the concepts of underlying representations for sounds versus what is actually produced, the surface form. 

Phonology can be related to many linguistic disciplines, including psycholinguistics, cognitive science, sociolinguistics and language acquisition. Principles of phonology can also be applied to treatments of speech pathologies and innovations in technology. In terms of speech recognition, systems can be designed to translate spoken data into text. In this way, computers process the language like our brains do. The same processes that occur in the mind of a human when producing and receiving language occur in machines. One example of machines decoding language is the popular intelligence system, Siri.

associated issues


related areas

See also





All About Linguistics (undated) 'Phonology', University of Sheffield, School of English, available at, accessed 12 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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