Voicing ( adjective: voiced) is a term from the linguistic sub-disciplines of phonetics and phonology and refers to whether a speech sound with or without the participation of the voice is uttered.
Voicing in phonetics
From the point of view of phonetics means voicing that the vocal cords during the articulation of a sound to play an active role. This is done in the form that the vocal cords within a very short time close alternately and be right back " blown up " by a squeezed from the lung air flow, so that they vibrate and thus produce a sound. In contrast, unvoiced sounds are spoken with open glottis, so that the air can freely flow through into the vocal tract.
Voiced sounds are in most languages the sonorants, which are vowels and nasals ( [m, n, ŋ ] ), Liquid ( [ r, l ] ) and approximants ( [ ʋ, j, w] ). In many languages , as well as the Germans, there are also certain voiced consonants, the so-called obstruents ( [b, d, g, v, z, ʒ ] ).
The question of whether one sound is voiced or unvoiced articulates a, can be answered with a simple test. When you hold the hand to the larynx when speaking in voicing is a vibration to feel ( for example, while speaking of M -au of the word mouse). If you zuhält the ears, also a booming noise is audible. In both voicelessness is not the case.
Voicing in phonology
In the neighboring phonetics phonology is voiced a binary phonological feature ( listed as " [ ± sth ]") dar. sounds are with respect to certain phonological processes to the effect classified according to whether they voiced ( [ sth ] ) or unvoiced ( [- sth ] ) are.
In German, voiced obstruents occur only in the central and northern varieties, ie approximately in the northern half of the German-speaking world, while all obstruents are voiceless in the southern varieties. Therefore, one often speaks at the German not of voiced and voiceless obstruents, but of Lenis and Fortis. This fact of the different pronunciation of these consonants can conclude that in the southern part of the German-speaking area of the phonological process of final devoicing ( voiced sounds become voiceless at the end of a word ) de facto does not exist.
In addition, voicing is a distinctive feature, that is, voicing can affect meaningful distinctive; the same sound can influence the meaning of a word when it is pronounced voiced or unvoiced. So it makes a difference, for example, whether the labial consonant with the participation of the voice is present as [b ] or without it as [ p], as in the German leg at vs. Pain or in English at bike vs. pike is the case.
The spelling of a word or a sound can the voicing - as in the examples just shown - play, however, as the devoicing is not bound to it: In love and loving the spelling both times writes before, during the actual debate a Stimmloswerden of the sound [b ] to [ p] ( [li: bə ], [li: p] ) shows.