Accessibility statement

Forensic Phonetics - LAN00005H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Paul Foulkes
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This course provides an introduction to the practical, ethical, and legal principles of forensic speech analysis in criminal investigations. Through auditory and instrumental analysis, we will investigate the phonetic parameters which can be useful in the process of identifying an individual speaker. We will discuss and replicate phonetic analysis which has been performed in criminal cases. We will also explore the performance of lay listeners in speaker identification, discussing the problems involved in eliciting and using 'earwitness' evidence in court.

Module learning outcomes

Knowledge outcomes

Students will gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical and methodological issues which underpin analysis of speech involved in criminal settings.

Students will develop an understanding of the problems involved in performing suitable analysis where the available materials are difficult and/or sensitive.

Value outcomes

Students will develop experience of the practical problems involved in analysis of difficult and sensitive materials.

Students will learn to appreciate the ethical issues involved in collecting and analysing criminal data, and in presenting the results to a non-specialist audience.

Behavioural outcomes

Students will become proficient at and develop competence in the following skills:

  • Analysing data using qualitative, quantitative and statistical methods
  • Graphic and statistical presentation of data
  • Writing professional reports, using standard types of argumentation


Task Length % of module mark
Lab Report
N/A 30
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Forensic Phonetics
3 hours 70

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Lab Report
N/A 30
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Forensic Phonetics
3 hours 70

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work

Weekly lab sessions

Oral advice and feedback on work to individuals and whole group

Summative assessment and feedback

Laboratory report

Feedback: written feedback within two weeks

Timed practical exam
Feedback: to be given after marks released (by the end of week 5 in the spring term) and the chance for students to see their own papers

Indicative reading

Nolan, F. (2001) Speaker identification evidence: its forms, limitations, and roles. Proceedings of the conference 'Law and Language: Prospect and Retrospect', Levi, Finland.

Eriksson, A. (2005) Forensic Phonetics. Paper presented at tutorial session on Forensic Speech Science, Interspeech (9th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology), Lisbon, Portugal.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.