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Prosody of English - LAN00030M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Ms. Marina Cantarutti
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20
    • See module specification for other years: 2018-19

Module summary

Prosody is the 'music of speech' taking in phenomena such as stress, rhythm and intonation. A hallmark of this module is that we study these aspects of English in data from naturally occurring conversations, using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, and taking account of different theoretical approaches to the subject.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • to introduce students to the main topics of prosody in spoken English, drawing on both phonetics and phonology, and
  • to equip students with the knowledge and ability to analyse prosodic aspects of spoken English both phonetically and phonologically.

Module learning outcomes

Subject skills: By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • analyse data first-hand using a tool for the instrumental analysis of speech
  • present their own analyses of data of various types and qualities to a high standard
  • work with data of varying types and qualities 
  • demonstrate understanding of current debates in the literature with regard to the prosody of English

Academic and graduate skills: By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • evaluate completing claims in the literature by applying them in data analysis
  • present the results of an analysis orally or in written form to a professional standard
  • work in a group to develop an analysis

Module content

Students must have completed L29M Core Course in Phonetics & Phonology OR L69M Advanced Topics in Phonology OR L70M Advanced Topics in Phonetics.

Teaching programme

The module is taught through lectures/practicals/seminars, covering:

  • basic quantitative analysis of prosody (acoustic analysis of F0) 
  • basic qualitative analysis of prosody (intonational transcription)
  • theories of prosodic analysis (comparing different approaches)

Teaching in the module will focus on analysis of English prosody, but there is scope for students to also explore analysis of prosody in other languages to some extent, in seminars, if they wish.

Contact hours

Three hours per week over 8 weeks, of which:

  • 1 hour lecture/practical (taught alongside final year undergraduate students)
  • 1 hour practical/seminar (taught alongside final year undergraduate students)
  • 1 hour seminar (postgraduate students only)

Teaching materials

Readings will be made available via the VLE.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (5000 words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

For formative homework exercises students receive feedback within one week of submission in the form of whole-class feedback on common errors and brief individual written feedback.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay (5000 words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback and a mark on the University scale within 20 working days of submission.

Indicative reading

  • Couper-Kuhlen, E. (1986). An introduction to English prosody. Edward Arnold.
  • Féry, C. (2016). Intonation and prosodic structure. Cambridge University Press.
  • Gussenhoven, C. (2004). The phonology of tone and intonation. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ladd, D. R. (2008). Intonational phonology. Cambridge University Press. (Second Edition)

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.