Phonetics is the science of speech.
It studies the articulation, acoustics, and perception of speech sounds.
The phonetics group at Penn emphasizes the interdisciplinary and experimental nature of phonetics in both teaching and research. The group is engaged in a wide range of research topics, including laboratory studies of speech production and perception, prosody modeling, phonetic patterns in large speech corpora, integration of phonetic knowledge in speech synthesis/recognition, etc.
Mark Liberman's recent research areas include the phonology and phonetics of lexical tone, and its relationship to intonation; gestural, prosodic, morphological and syntactic ways of marking focus, and their use in discourse; formal models for linguistic annotation; information retrieval and information extraction from text.
Jianjing Kuang's recent research areas include the multidimensionality of tonal contrasts, phonation (production, perception and phonological representation), laryngeal articulations across languages, experimental fieldwork (Tibeto-Burman, Mayan, Hmong-Mien languages), computational modeling (mapping between production and perception), and prosody (intonation patterns and prosody in sentence processing).
Link to the Phonetics Lab page.