In articulatory phonetics, the term phonoanalogic refers to an alphabet whose symbols analogically reproduce the phonoarticulatory phenomena necessary to the production of the phones they represent. The term phonoanalogic, used in this sense, appears for the first time in the book Fonic - Un alfabeto fonoanalogico e fonosimbolico[1], in which the Fonic alphabet and its phonoanalogic structure are illustrated and explained.


A writing system is said to have a phonoanalogic structure, when its symbols analogically represent (i.e. visually remember) the parameters of the phonic production, i.e. for example the shape of the lips (relaxed or rounded) or the air outlet channel (oral or nasal). The phonoanalogic representation can facilitate an intuitive learning of the writing system and develop sensitivity towards the phonoarticulatory phenomena. In order to have a phonoanalogic representation, symbols must be used that remind the position of the organs and the phenomena that take part to the phonic production, that is, it must be ensured that the characteristics of a phone production are represented in the related symbol. Examples of partially phonoanalogic symbols can be the letter "O" of the Latin alphabet, which can remember the rounded lips in the production of the phone [o] seen from the frontside, or the letter "B" of the same alphabet, which can remember the lips closed in the production of the phone [b] viewed laterally.


An attempt to create a phonoanalogic alphabet was made for educational purposes by Hermann Gutzmann in 1894[2], without however having luck. The structure of the Fonic alphabet is phonoanalogic, but implements some phonosymbolic traits, to conventionally describe those articulatory phenomena that are too complex to represent in a analogic way.


We can see here below a letter of the Fonic alphabet, which has a totally phonoanalogic structure, whose traits reproduce analogically the phonoarticulatory phenomena necessary to the production of the phone it represents, which in this case is the phone [m], which in the English alphabet is represented by the letter "m".

The phone [m] in Fonic 2.0
The phone [m] in Fonic 2.0

The most important part of this symbol is the basic trait (e), that is the horizontal segment, which represents the oral channel in a stylized way, which is the one that extends from the vocal cords (c) to the lips (d). In order of importance follows the vertical segment called index (f), because it indicates the point where the occlusion in the oral channel occurs, which allows the pronunciation of the phone [m]. The sonority trait (a), on the other hand, is the vertical segment that indicates the sonority feature, i.e. the fact that the vocal cords vibrate during the production of the phone, and finally the nasal trait (b) is that free trait (i.e. not attached to the body of the symbol) which indicates nasality, i.e. the fact that air does not come out from the mouth but from the nose. Its shape in fact tries to reproduce that of the nasal channel from the root of the nose to the nostrils.


  1. ^ Andrea Vaccari, Fonic - Un alfabeto fonoanalogico e fonosimbolico, Amazon Publishing, 2018, ISBN 9781730703010.
  2. ^ Hermann Gutzmann: Eine neue phonetische Schrift, Monatsschrift für Sprachheilkunde 1894.