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Sociophonetics - LAN00044M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Dominic Watt
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module enables students to develop practical skills in the study of phonological variation and change, focusing on auditory and acoustic analysis of various English dialects. Theoretical and methodological issues will be discussed in the light of data analysed.

Students will also be introduced to experimental and basic statistical methods for investigating sound structure and sound change.

Module learning outcomes

Knowledge outcomes

Students will gain a thorough understanding of phonetic and sociolinguistic terminology, and of the theoretical and methodological issues which underpin work in this area.

Students will gain an understanding of how various forms of data analysis inform phonological theory.

Value outcomes

Students will develop experience of the practical problems involved in data-centred work, learning to consider alternative analyses of aspects of the data, and exploring the theoretical implications of those alternatives.

Behavioural outcomes

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

designing experimental/analytical studies;

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
Formant Analysis
N/A 35
Phonological Variable Study
N/A 50
N/A 15

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Formant Analysis
N/A 35
Phonological Variable Study
N/A 50
N/A 15

Module feedback

written feedback on summatives within 4 weeks

oral feedback in weekly labs and in tutors' open hours

Indicative reading

Essential preliminary reading:

Foulkes, P., Scobbie, J.M., & Watt, D. (2010). Sociophonetics. In Hardcastle, W.J., Laver, J. & Gibbon, F.E. (eds.) The Handbook of Phonetic Sciences, 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 703-754.

Thomas, E.R. (2002). Instrumental phonetics. In Chambers, J., Trudgill, P. & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.) The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 168-200.

Recommended reading:

Chambers, J.K. (2003) Sociolinguistic Theory, 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.

Foulkes, P., & Docherty, G.J. (1999, eds.). Urban Voices: Accent Studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold.

Foulkes, P. & Docherty, G.J. (2007). Phonological variation in England. In Britain, D. (ed.) Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 52-74.

Ladefoged, P. & Johnson, K. (2010). A Course in Phonetics, 6th edn. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. (esp. Chapter 8).

Milroy, L. & Gordon, M. (2003) Sociolinguistics. Method and Interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell.

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