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Phonetics & Phonology - LAN00091M

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Marina Cantarutti
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module covers the basic concepts and methodology for the study of speech sounds. In particular this module offers an introduction to articulatory and acoustic phonetics, as well as some core notions and skills in phonology. Students are trained in articulatory descriptions, transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet, some basic instrumental analysis in Praat, and work with linguistic datasets to identify and formulate phonological rules. Students will learn the basic skills that allow them to engage with research in phonetics and phonology.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to articulatory and acoustic phonetic terminology and skills
  • acquaint students with the International Phonetic Alphabet and principles of its use
  • train students in basic instrumental techniques to obtain phonetic evidence
  • introduce students to simple notational devices for the phonological analysis of speech
  • prepare students for further modules or research in phonetics and phonology.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

describe phonetic and phonological patterns and/or structures

make phonetic observations with reference to auditory and acoustic analysis

produce transcriptions using the International Phonetic Alphabet

represent phonological structures and use these to explain some aspects of phonetic detail

make phonetic measurements.

Module content

Phonetics and Phonology.

Introduction to the IPA: transcription practice and ear-training.

Source-Filter theory. Phonation. Voice quality.

Consonants: place and manner of articulation. Airstream mechanisms. Co-articulation.

Vowels: articulatory and acoustic description.

Acoustic analysis: waveforms, spectra and spectrograms. VOT. Formant measurements. Fundamental frequency and microprosody.

Phonology: Phonological inventories. Phonemes and allophones. Static and dynamic patterns. Features and natural classes. Phonotactics. The syllable. The prosodic hierarchy. Linguistic datasets.

Prosody: stress and rhythm. Tone and intonation.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Phonetics & Phonology dossier
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Phonetics & Phonology dossier reassessment
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on practice exercises will be offered individually and as a group during seminars. Feedback on Formative 1 will be returned on Week 10. Feedback on the Summative dossier of exercises will be returned 25 working days after the submission date.

Indicative reading

Ladefoged, Peter and Johnson, Keith (2010). A course in phonetics. Wadsworth, Boston (editions 4, 5, 6 or 7).

Hayes, Bruce (2009). Introductory phonology. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.

Hewlett, Nigel & Beck, Janet M. (2006). An Introduction to the Science of Phonetics. Routledge.

Selkirk, Elizabeth O. (1999). The syllable. In Goldsmith, J. A. (ed.) Phonological theory: The essential readings. Blackwell, Malden, MA & Oxford.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.