We all speak.
But what is speech?
And how does it work?

What kind of ‘stuff’ is it that’s passing from the mouths to the ears of the men in this picture? What do their minds do to it that makes their conversation possible? (Noel Counihan, Australia: Pub Talk 1962)

Rethink Speech fast-tracks you to fascinating findings
with profound implications


OK – I can see how that might be fascinating, but what makes it profound?

It’s all explained in Why rethink speech? but here’s a little overview to give you an impression.

Speech is all around us, all the time.

Even when there’s no speech outside our heads, it can be hard to stop the chatter inside!

It’s so familiar, we feel we know exactly what is like.

And yet research in phonetics (the science of speech) has shown that speech is nothing like what most people think it is like. Not convinced? Scroll down for some funny and surprising demonstrations that offer a quick taster.

It turns out that much of what our society accepts as common knowledge about speech is wrong. Not just a little bit wrong about the odd technical detail, but deeply and significantly wrong about its nature, and how it works.

Sounds a bit confronting!

Well yes, it is challenging – but in a good way. A profound way, in fact!

Here’s why.

Once you start to learn about the nature of speech and how it works, you realise the ‘secrets’ uncovered by phonetic science are actually hidden in plain view. They’re right there for any of us to experience and think about. We just let ourselves get so distracted by the false facts of common knowledge that we rarely notice the reality under our noses. And when we do, we don’t quite know how to think about it.

Now do you want to know the most delightful thing of all?

Behind the false beliefs of common knowledge, are deeper truths waiting for our discovery. And those deeper truths relate not just to the nature of speech, but to the nature of us, our minds and the world we live in. And affect our understanding of everything we think about and talk about.

Profound, right?

Take a moment to scroll down for our Taster! (Image from Pixabay)

OK I’m intrigued. What do I do?

It’s all there via the top menu. But if you’d like a taster, just scroll down. Then for more detail on what Rethink Speech is all about – the green menu above is your friend:

And keep in touch as you do it all!


Rethink Speech Taster

Ever laughed at speech turned backwards?

It sounds like a strange foreign language, possibly Martian.

So have you ever laughed at writing turned backwards?

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Somehow not quite so funny, is it?

So why is backwards speech so funny, when backwards writing is ho-hum?

The answer tells us something pretty fundamental about the nature of speech.

Love mondegreens and mishearings?

Here’s a classic example (from Felix Sputnik).

At Rethink Speech, we love funny misheard song lyrics (mondegreens). And not just for their humour, great as that is.

Even more for what they can tell us about the nature of speech – and the nature of our minds (Hint: there’s more to it than a trick of our ‘biased’ brain).

Want to speak like a rainbow? Turns out, you do!

The rainbow is a sequence of 7 colours, right?

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Well, sort of right. 7 colours is how we think about speech. The real rainbow is a continuous gradation of colour.

The word ‘rainbow’ is a sequence of 7 sounds, right? Turns out that’s only sort of right too. We think about it as 7 sounds. In reality it’s a continuous gradation of sound.

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Why spoken communication needs phonetic science

‘The French have a notoriously difficult time with the  ‘th’ sound in English.’

Can you tell what these people are trying to say?

Is ‘th’ really their main problem? Is teaching them ‘th’ the best help you could give?

Rethinking speech can suggest a better way.

Why the law needs phonetic science

Phonetics is a lot more interesting than you probably expect. And its findings have relevance in a lot more important domains than you might expect.

One of the areas Rethink Speech specialises in is Forensic Phonetics. The video gives a taste.

But wait, there’s more!

Rethink Speech is as much about thinking as about speech. Investigating speech gives a fresh new perspective on how the mind works, with implications for how we understand our world and ourselves, and for how we live our lives.

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In today’s world, what could be more important than that?


Right, where was I? I know I was about to do something before I got started on that taster!

Be guided by the top menu. Look through Why rethink speech, experience the experiences in Experiencing speech, and learn a little about what Phonetics is (and isn’t).

When you feel ready, check out our unlearning modules. And keep in touch as you do so!

See you on the inside …