Faculty Advisor

Kristin Bovaird-Abbo

Document Type


Publication Date



Phonetics deals with the production of different sounds of speech made by people. It explains how the vocal tract produces the sounds that people make as they talk. A lot of words can be misheard because of the complexity that goes into creating certain sounds. This is especially common with song lyrics, with thousands of song lyrics being misheard or misinterpreted all the time. There are several reasons behind why this happens with so many songs and this can be seen when lyrics are transcribed. When one word or sound is misheard and sounds like another, this usually means that the words share one or more phonetic feature. Sometimes words will have a similar manner or place of articulation. Articulators are what comes together to make a sound. Other times, it will have to do with the voicing of word (voiced or voiceless), vowel height or frontness of the tongue, rounding of the lips or the tongue being lax or tense. There are so many elements that go into saying and understanding words and there is so much happening in the mouth with each sound being made that it is very easy to hear words incorrectly. Looking into just one set of lyrics and the way people hear them can give others an understanding of how language really works and how complex it really is. Everyone has their own unique way of speaking and hearing words, whether it is English or another language, and examining lyrics is one way to come to this understanding.