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Phonological Development - LAN00024H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Marilyn Vihman
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2018-19

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module will provide an overview of phonetic and phonological development, with an emphasis on the first two years of life. Through a combination of lectures, reading and practical sessions students will become acquainted with the findings of both observational and experimental studies of infant speech perception, distributional learning, segmentation and production and the transition from babbling to speech. The mechanisms of learning and development in this period will be particularly emphasized. In the last 2 weeks of the module some of the main theoretical approaches to phonological development will be considered through student presentations in small groups in lieu of lectures.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should:

  • have a good understanding of the relationship of babbling to early word learning
  • have understanding of the place of language learning in overall development in the first two years
  • have a good understanding of the course of phonological development in the single word period
  • be able to identify patterning in the early words of children learning any language with which he/she is familiar
  • have some understanding of the sources of variability between different word forms, individual childrens developmental paths and different language environments
  • have an understanding of the difference between explicit and implicit learning and the relationship of each to advances in speech perception, vocal production and word learning.
  • be able to critically evaluate some of the issues involved in the development of phonology


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 25
Open Examination (5 day)
Phonological Development
N/A 75

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Examination (5 day)
Reassessment: Phonological Development
N/A 100

Module feedback

Five formative essays, up to 500 words; assigned in weeks 3, 4, 5, 7, 8; returned within one week with feedback.

Indicative reading

Vihman, M. M. (2014) Phonological Development: The first two years. (2nd ed.) Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Additional papers will be assigned each week; copies of papers will be made available on the VLE.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students