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Sociophonetics: Sounds & Society - LAN00080H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Elisa Passoni
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

Sociophonetics lies at the intersection between phonetics and sociolinguistics. This is a relatively new field of study, which uses phonetic methodology to investigate socially informed variation in speech production and perception and society.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22 to Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

Through a combination of taught theory and practical methods, students will learn to objectively measure and quantify phonetic variation and change both at the segmental and prosodic level. We will investigate how specific phonetic variants are associated with social categories, attitudes and aspirations and how speakers creatively use phonetic variation to create identities. We will also look at judgments and assumptions listeners make about speakers from the way they speak.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will:

  • have the necessary skills to examine language variation and change using techniques and theories from experimental phonetics;

  • have theoretical knowledge of studies in sociophonetic variation and change in various languages and looking at different populations, enabling them to reflect on how socially structured variation in sound systems can be investigated for independent research projects;

  • critically assess the appropriateness of various methodological approaches in published sociophonetics articles;

  • design, carry out and present (in both a written and oral format) a small project on language variation and change.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Independent research project
N/A 60
Essay/coursework
Lab Report
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Individual presentation
N/A 20

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Independent research project
N/A 60
Essay/coursework
Lab Report
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Individual presentation
N/A 20

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work

Immediate oral comments on seminar exercises.

Written feedback on literature search for independent project.

Feedback on summative work

Students will receive individual written feedback within 25 working days.

Indicative reading

Thomas, E.R. (2011). Sociophonetics: An introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

Further weekly readings will be posted on the VLE a week before each lecture.



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.