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Phonetics & Phonology - LAN00009C

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. George Bailey
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This module introduces students to the study of phonetics and phonology - the study of the sounds and sound patterns of human language.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module introduces students to the phonetic and phonological analysis of language, starting with phonetics and moving on to phonology. The phonetics part covers the basics of articulatory and impressionistic phonetics. The phonology part covers the position of phonology within the human linguistic system, recurrent phonological phenomena in the world's languages and the phonological notation most commonly used by linguists.

Module learning 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

  • know the terminology appropriate to the description of consonants and vowels, including the parameters of description on the IPA chart

  • 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

  • understand the basic structure of sound systems across languages, and the ways in which this is established analytically

  • know some of the types of unit that are commonly used in phonology, such as phonemes and features

  • be familiar with some common phonological phenomena and formal accounts of them, including a range of notational devices such as rules and hierarchical representation

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

  • establish phonological categories on the basis of contrast

  • produce simple phonetic descriptions and broad phonetic transcriptions of short stretches of speech

  • provide structural descriptions of syllables using appropriate phonological notation

  • compare competing analyses of simple phenomena and evaluate their relative success

Module content

This course is divided into two sessions, covering phonetics first, then phonology:

  • Weeks 1-5 Phonetics: Introduction to basic phonetics including anatomy of the vocal tract, sounds in speech, vowels and consonants.

  • Weeks 6-10 Phonology: Introduction to phonology including sounds in use, phonological inventories, syllables and phonological patterns.

  • Week 11: Revision

You will have three teaching hours per week: a two hour lecture (made up of one hour of lecture plus one hour of interactive workshop activities) + a one hour small group seminar.


Task Length % of module mark
Summative essay
N/A 40
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Phonetics and Phonology
3 hours 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Reassessment: Phonetics & Phonology
3 hours 100

Module feedback

Feedback on formative coursework and summative assessments within the university mandated time limit.

Indicative reading

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

  • Ogden, Richard (2017) An introduction to English phonetics. 2nd edition. Edinburgh University Press.

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

  • Nathan, G. (2008). Phonology: a cognitive grammar introduction. John Benjamins.

Both books are available as ebooks via the University Library.

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.