Definition of speech sound in US English:

speech sound


  • A phonetically distinct unit of speech.

    • ‘At least, that's the opinion of those of us who spend our time studying the physical properties, psychological effect, and social distribution of speech sounds and gestures.’
    • ‘A stammerer knows precisely what he wants to say but cannot, for the moment, say it because of an involuntary repetition, prolongation or cessation of the speech sound.’
    • ‘The common understanding is that lip-reading is trying to understand speech by watching the lip and mouth movements of someone speaking when the normal accompanying speech sounds cannot be heard.’
    • ‘It attempts to provide a symbol for every distinct speech sound found in some human language.’
    • ‘Speech therapy also is needed to teach the child proper ways to produce the speech sounds that he or she may have learned incorrectly because of the cleft.’
    • ‘Phonetics is the scientific study of speech sounds.’
    • ‘The children were asked to match speech sounds to written consonants and vowels, and they practiced related skills.’
    • ‘As they grow, infants begin to sort out the speech sounds or building blocks that compose the words of their language.’
    • ‘If the vocal folds vibrate during the production of a speech sound it is said to be voiced.’
    • ‘Children this age should have a wide range of speech sounds in their babbling and at least one or more true words (not including ‘mama’ and ‘dada’).’
    • ‘The linguistic features of phonological disorder include failures to use developmentally expected speech sounds that are appropriate for the individual's age and dialect.’
    • ‘People with developmental speech and language disorders have difficulty producing speech sounds, using spoken language to communicate, or understanding what other people say.’
    • ‘Other left-brain areas concerned with recognizing words and discerning speech sounds also displayed greater activity during word reading as age and reading skill increased.’
    • ‘But that became easy to do with the alphabet letters representing each irreducible speech sound.’
    • ‘Indeed, unless we are exposed to a tongue in infancy, we may never acquire full accentual control, or be as good as native speakers at discriminating closely-similar speech sounds in that language.’
    • ‘Monkeys are so good at recognizing human speech sounds that they can tell the difference between two sentences spoken in different languages.’
    • ‘A similar refining of perception also occurs as infants learn native speech sounds, the researchers note.’
    • ‘A vowel is ‘a speech sound produced by the passage of air through the vocal tract with relatively little obstruction, or the corresponding letter of the alphabet’, usually contrasted with consonant.’
    • ‘Traditional text-to-speech systems can only support phonemes (the speech sounds used in a language) and duration.’
    • ‘Yes, English is worse than most languages in having too few letters for too many English speech sounds, so that often our spelling must use two letters to represent one sound.’


speech sound

/ˈspēCH ˌsound/