Describe and classify the lingual sounds used in English (as represented by the alphabet) according to their sonic qualities as you observe them yourself. Please use
visual means (for example, tables, charts, fonts, neumes) creatively to help efficiently describe and present your classification strategy, the sound categories, and
the sounds themselves. Propose a new order to the alphabet based on your observations.
The object of this assignment is to discover the timbre, pitch, tone, affect and associative qualities of simple alphabet sounds, along with their mechanisms by
creating categories of relatedness between them. You will illuminate the relationships between them, using both literary and visual means. In a short paper (around
two pages of text; tables and illustrations extra) present several strategies for classifying the lingual sounds of the alphabet according to criteria that seem
meaningful to you. Then arrange those sounds (represented by the letters that produce them) in the categories you have devised. Accompany your sonic descriptions
with a discussion of your classification strategy, and the meanings and relationships between various sounds that it shows. Finally, re-order the alphabet based on
your observations and the criteria that you have developed.
You also may attempt to classify lingual sounds from alphabets used in other languages beyond English – these will necessarily involve more discussion and explanation
of the sounds they produce, as well as transliteration.
Please Note: Do not classify the sounds of the letter names, but instead the sounds that they produce. Note that many letters produce more than one sound, and that
certain letter combinations are used to represent important sounds (“ch”, “sh”). You may present several strategies of classification according to what seems
meaningful. You may of course include some sounds in more than one category.
Below are a few questions that might help to guide your efforts.
Where is the sound produced?
Do all the sounds involve the voice? The breath?
Which sounds can or cannot be combined?
Which sounds are the loudest, highest, briefest?
Which sounds are most simple or complex to produce?
What do the sounds remind you of?
Can you deduce an affective meaning for these sounds?
How do vocal sounds reflect timbres found in the natural world?