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2017/18 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LING5400M Foundations of Phonetics and Phonology

15 creditsClass Size: 36

Module manager: Gisela Tome Lourido

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Module replaces

LING5021M Phonetics and phonology

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will provide you with a strong grounding in the study of speech sounds. Phonetics studies their physical characteristics, while phonology studies how they are used by language users to create meaningful utterances. This module will cover articulatory and acoustic phonetics, as well as core concepts of phonological theory such as phonemes and allophones, phonotactic constraints and distinctive features. You will gain practical skills in the production, perception and description of speech sounds, and will learn how to transcribe utterances using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Although English is the common medium for teaching in this module, we will focus much attention on sounds and sound patterns found in other languages of the world.


The objectives of this module are to provide students with (1) an understanding of how speech sounds are produced and transmitted; (2) an understanding of how speech sounds function in the sound systems of the world's languages; (3) a command of core phonetic and phonological terminology; (4) practical skills in the production, transcription and phonological analysis of speech sounds.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will have gained a strong grounding in articulatory and acoustic phonetics, and phonology. Students will be familiar with how the human vocal tract produces speech sounds and how sounds differ in terms of acoustic structure, and they will be familiar with phonological concepts such as phonemes and allophones, phonotactic constraints and distinctive features.


Topics to be covered include:
- The vocal tract and the main components of speech production
- Major segmental sound types, including plosives, fricatives, nasals, approximants and vowels
- Basic concepts in acoustic phonetics
- Phoneme theory
- Phonotactics
- Natural classes and distinctive features

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours40.00
Private study hours95.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Independent online learning
4 hrs preparation for each practical using the VLE - 4x5=20
2 hours per week self-study using the VLE - 2x10=20

Private study
4 hrs reading for each lecture - 4x10=40
30 hrs on the essay - 30
20 hrs revision for written examination - 20
5 hrs preparation for practical test - 5

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Production, perception, transcription and speech analysis progress will be formatively monitored in the fortnightly seminars, for example through quizzes and class exercises. Seminars will also involve formative monitoring of students' use of the self-study materials developed for the module. These include a module workbook with production and transcription exercises using sound files made available through the VLE, as well as phonology exercises provided through the VLE. Students will be given detailed guidance on how to approach the essay task, and will receive feedback on their essay before the exam.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,500 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins40.00
Listening exam1 hr 00 mins20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

The Listening exam is a sound recognition / transcription exam.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 02/03/2018 17:22:53


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