Introduction to phonetics and phonology

Aims

Aims

Knowledge outcomes

At the end of this module:

  • You will be familiar with the basic symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet, including all those symbols needed to describe English
  • You will know the terminology appropriate to the description of consonants and vowels, including the parameters of description on the IPA chart
  • You will understand something of the relationship between the sounds of speech and the abstract linguistic system that underlies them, as well as the relationship of phonetics and phonology to the wider linguistic system
  • You will understand the basic structure of sound systems across languages, and the ways in which this is established analytically
  • You will know some of the types of unit that are commonly used in phonology, such as phonemes and features
  • You will be familiar with some common phonological phenomena and formal accounts of them, including a range of notational devices such as rules and hierarchical representation

Behavioural outcomes

At the end of this module:

  • You will be able to recognise many of the sounds of the IPA chart and the parameters along which sounds can vary, and describe them using appropriate terminology and symbolisation
  • You will be able to establish phonological categories on the basis of contrast
  • You will be able to produce simple phonetic descriptions and broad phonetic transcriptions of short stretches of speech
  • You will be able to provide appropriate structural descriptions of syllables using appropriate phonological notation
  • You will be able to compare competing analyses of simple phenomena and evaluate their relative succes

Prerequisites

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this module.

Programme

Programme

Teaching programme (subject to change)

Term Weeks Topic 
 1  2-3  The anatomy of speech
   4-5  Transcribing speech
   6  Reading week (no lecture)
   7-8  Vowels
   9-10  Consonants
 2  1  in-class test
   2-3  The ‘units’ of speech
   4-5  Explaining phonological inventories
   6  Reading week (no lecture)
   7-8  Explaining phonological patterns
   9-10  Syllables
 3  1-4  Revision lectures
   5-7  exam

Teaching materials

For the phonetics part of the course in the Autumn Term, readings are set each week from the following book:

  • Ogden, Richard (2017) An introduction to English phonetics. 2nd edition. Edinburgh University Press.
    • Although there are copies of this book in the library you are strongly advised to buy a copy for your own personal use
    • You may see copies for sale of the first edition of this book, published in 2009. If you want to buy second hand then it is fine to get the 2009 edition, but if you want to invest in a new book we recommend you get the 2017 edition. 

For the phonology part of the course in the Spring Term, readings are set each week from the following book: 

  • Nathan, G. (2008). Phonology: a cognitive grammar introduction. John Benjamins.
    • The book is available as an ebook via the university library, or for short term loan from the library Key Texts collection, so you do not need to buy a copy.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Formative assessment

The course is divided into eight two-week blocks. For each two-week block you are required to complete two types of exercises:

  • Self-assessment tests
    These are on Yorkshare (ie on the VLE) - you complete these at your own pace, but be sure to do the tests for each block of the course before the next block starts; in order to pass this module you must attempt all of the Yorkshare formative tests.
  • Project work
    You will need to work on components of the project throughout term one and two; the project prepares you for submission of summative coursework by the end of Term 2.

These formative assessment tasks will include a variety of activities such as:

  • Exercises in phonetic observation and transcription, using the IPA
  • Exercises in phonological analysis using formal notation where appropriate
  • Exercises which require you to gather, sort and present information from a variety of sources
  • The project tasks require you to use the library to find out the phonetic or phonological properties of a particular language

To help you assess your progress there is an obligatory in-class test which takes place in week one of term two. The test is similar in format to the final exam at the end of the year but only tests those parts of the course that have already been covered.

Summative assessment

  • Two essays
    • Date: due in week 10 of Spring term and week 1 of Summer term
    • Weight: 40%
  • A 90 minute closed exam
    • Date: weeks 5-7, Summer term
    • Weight: 60%

About this module

  • Module name
    Introduction to phonetics and phonology
  • Course code
    L09C (LAN00009C)
  • Teacher 
    George Brown/Sam Hellmuth
  • Term(s) taught
    All terms
  • Credits
    20