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Acoustic Phonetics and Phonological Analysis - LAN00009I

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

Module summary

In this module, you will develop your skills in acoustic phonetics and phonological analysis.

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module develops your skills in the phonetic and phonological analysis of language. It builds on the first-year Phonetics and Phonology module, and assumes some knowledge of articulatory phonetics, phonetic transcription and basic phonological concepts such as phonemes/allophones and syllables. The focus of this module is on two main areas: acoustic phonetics and advanced phonological analysis. We cover a range of topics within segmental (pertaining to individual speech segments) and suprasegmental (pertaining to units of speech larger than a segment) phonetics and phonology.

The module has a strong practical orientation: you will learn how to perform acoustic analyses of speech data, how to apply different theoretical approaches to phonological data and how to engage with original research articles in a critical way. You will also be introduced to a popular phonetic software package called Praat.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will have an understanding of:

  • Acoustic representations such as waveforms and spectrograms

  • How various articulatory properties map onto the acoustic speech signal

  • Advanced concepts in phonology (e.g. phonological features, rule ordering, autosegments, phonological feet), and how these are open to theoretical debate

  • The range of phonological patterns these concepts are supposed to explain

By the end of the module you will also be able to:

  • Produce pictures of waveforms and spectrograms to insert in documents

  • Identify and label major acoustic landmarks such as formants, bursts and transitions

  • Identify examples of phonological patterns (from transcription or audio)

  • Use phonological concepts (such as syllables or rules) in an analysis

  • Present a phonological analysis according to the norms of the discipline

  • Engage with original research articles in phonetics and phonology

The module also develops a number of transferable skills, such as applying technical knowledge to data, learning to use new software and forming/presenting coherent arguments based on empirical facts.

Module content

Throughout the module, you will attend one lecture per week and one lab practical per week. Practical work in labs consists of exercises that review and develop lecture content. In your private study time, you should read the assigned readings, prepare assigned practical exercises in advance if requested, finish any tasks that you do not manage to complete in class during practicals, complete formative assignments and work on summative assignments.

Weeks 1-7: Segmental phonetics & phonology

In the first block, we focus on the phonetics and phonology of segments. The first three weeks introduce you to basic concepts in acoustic phonetics and the acoustic description of vowels and consonants. This complements the work you did in the first year on articulatory phonetics. In the remaining weeks we focus on a classic phonological approach, rule-based phonology.

Weeks 8-11: Suprasegmental phonetics & phonology

In the second block, we focus on acoustic phonetics and phonology beyond the level of the segment. This includes relationships between segments, syllables, stress, tones and intonation.


Task Length % of module mark
Data-driven exercise & reading task 1 500 words
N/A 50
Data-driven exercise & reading task 2 1000 words
N/A 50

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Phonetics and phonology data exercises & reading task 1000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative feedback will be a combination of automatic feedback via the VLE and group-level feedback shared on the VLE. Model answers will also be made available via the VLE.

For summative assessments you will receive individual written feedback within the university mandated time limit.

Indicative reading

Hayward, Katrina. (2000). Experimental phonetics. Longman.

Ladefoged, Peter. (2003). Phonetic Data Analysis. Wiley-Blackwell.

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

Davenport, M. & Hannahs, S. J. (2011). Introducing phonetics and phonology. London: Hodder.

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.