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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING2330 Phonetics

20 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Leendert Plug

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students are required to have completed one of the following modules, or equivalent:
- MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound
- ENGL1021 Analysing English
Students who have not completed MODL1060 Language: Structure and Sound should be prepared to do some additional reading to familiarise themselves with concepts built on in this module. Chapter 2 of Genetti’s How languages work: An introduction to language and linguistics (Cambridge University Press, 2014) is a good starting point.

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Phonetics is the scientific study of how speech is produced and perceived. This module looks at how the human vocal mechanism works to produce the sounds we observe in the world’s languages. Students learn how to describe and classify speech sounds on the basis of their articulatory characteristics. Some basic concepts in acoustic phonetic analysis are introduced. Students learn how to use the International Phonetic Alphabet to transcribe speech sounds, and are trained in the production and perception of the sounds associated with the Alphabet’s symbols. This allows students to discover how rich and varied the sound patterns of the world’s languages are, and gain strong control over their own vocal mechanism. Students also undertake a small project involving acoustic analysis. Students are expected to have been introduced to phonetics on a Level 1 module in linguistics or English language before enrolling on this module. Having completed this module, students can go on to do a more advanced phonetics module at Level 3.


This module aims to:
(1) introduce students to detailed articulatory properties of speech sounds
(2) develop an understanding of how articulatory phonetics informs the classification and transcription of speech sounds
(3) familiarise students with the International Phonetic Alphabet
(4) introduce students to the acoustic properties of speech sounds
(5) guide students in identifying speech sounds in acoustic analysis
(6) develop students’ skills in producing, perceiving and transcribing speech sounds

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
(1) an understanding of how the human vocal tract produces speech sounds
(2) an understanding of how sounds differ and can be analysed in terms of their acoustic properties
(3) knowledge of the principles of the International Phonetic Alphabet
(4) an ability to produce a range of speech sounds from the world’s languages
(5) an ability to perceive and transcribe speech sounds from the world’s languages using the International Phonetic Alphabet


This module is concerned with articulatory phonetics, that is, the ways in which the vocal tract can convert aerodynamic energy into speech, and with the acoustic properties of speech sounds. Some consideration is also given to auditory phonetics. A central aim of the module is to appreciate how articulatory, acoustic and auditory properties are inter-related and constrain each other. Students are introduced to the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), its transcription conventions, and its principles of the description and classification of speech sounds. In the seminars students practise the production, perception and transcription of familiar and unfamiliar sounds, and discuss exercises they have done independently. Students also learn to use speech analysis software and to identify spectrographic characteristics of different consonant and vowel sounds.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to devote 180 hours of private study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
• Preparing for lectures (background reading, self-study): (10x4=) 40 hours
• Practising sound production, perception and transcription in preparation for the seminars and practical exams: 50 hours
• Other preparation for seminars (acoustic analysis exercises): 30 hours
• Preparing the analysis report (including formative work): 60 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Lecture content is accompanied by self-study materials that encourage students to check their understanding of core concepts and command of terminology throughout the module. Seminar activities and supplementary materials are designed to develop students’ skills in the areas of sound production and recognition (as assessed in the two exams) and acoustic analysis (as assessed in the analysis task). Students are given feedback and individual help during seminars where relevant, and have the opportunity to complete a formative assignment in preparation for the analysis task.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1,500-word analysis report60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Listening exam0 hr 30 mins20.00
Practical Exam / OSCE0 hr 15 mins20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

This exam may be replaced by an alternative assessment administered online

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:36


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