Phonology according to Marian Nespor, and Italian linguist and author of the book “Fonologia”, it is the part of grammar that deals with the sounds made in natural languages for communicating meanings. Basically what that boils down to is the study of the meanings of the sounds we make as we speak.
There is an important fact we must make clear and that is there is a difference between phonology and phonetics. Phonetics analyzes all sound coming from human speech, the meaning and the language does not matter. Where as phonology takes and studies the sound in its environment. Patterns are sought by determining which sounds contain meaning. Then explain how these sounds are understood by a native speaker. Phonetics may study how the letter “T” is produced and how it seems to be, while phonology analyzes how the words fa and va have different meanings, even though there is only one differing sound. In other words phonology is the musical side of languages.
When you are listening to Italian notice the difference in the rhythm the language is spoken in as opposed to the rhythm English is spoken. There is a noticeable difference between the two. Phonological investigations have been conducted by linguists to study the various rhythmic patterns of languages. With the use of computer programs, the linguists replaced all the consonants with the letter “s” and all the vowels were replaced with the letter “a”. The end results showed each language differs by only its own musicality.
The path to learning to speak a language as a native speaker is blocked with barriers you, which are apparent, such as accents, and vocabularies, but even with the mastery of both is really not enough. The subtle barriers not as easily spotted are the proper inflection and intonation and knowing where to place the correct stress are the more musical aspects of the languages. Phonology is the study, which will help to point out these obscure keys to fluency and is a basis on which other aspects of linguistic can begin their studies.
The crossroads between phonology and morphology is where there is an interesting mystery of words; linguists find is difficult to define the exact properties of a word. At first it may be apparent why; for those who are learning Italian you will need to pay close attention to how changes are made in what you hear, such as from the nonsense sounds to words full of meaning. This will be important as you progress in learning a new vocabulary. You may be tempted to use phonological clues, such as tone, stress, and pauses for breath to classify a word, but as you will see this may not be a correct assumption.
Phonology is a wide ranging subject, which covers other questions with complicated names, such as assimilation, epenthesis, the adding sounds to words, and phonotactics sound combinations are allowed within a given language. Then there are subjects with much more simpler terms, such as the mysterious properties of the letter “s” in Italian. These are all interesting topics because of the misconception, which surrounds them. It is however, through the mastery of puzzles like these that you can come almost to the understanding of Italian, whether you are a native speaker or not.