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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LING3600 Sociophonetics

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Elliot Holmes

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23



This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Sociophonetics is the study of the way in which social factors influence speech patterns. The way we speak in our everyday lives is influenced by a wide range of social factors. Speakers of the same language from different geographical areas may pronounce words differently, and within the same area, speakers from different age and gender groups and social backgrounds may sound different. This module introduces students to the main social variables that condition pronunciation variation in English and other languages. We discuss a range of sociophonetic studies that provide detailed evidence of how our personal identity, group membership and social context influences the way we speak. Students are introduced to methodologies used in current research on sociophonetic variation and have a chance to conduct their own sociophonetic investigation. Students are expected to have completed the module LING2330 Phonetics before enrolling on this module.


This module aims to:
(1) introduce students to sociophonetic research
(2) introduce methodologies used in sociophonetic research
(3) familiarise students with social variables that are the focus of existing research
(4) develop students' auditory transcription skills
(5) develop students' acoustic analysis skills
(6) develop students' understanding of and critical analysis of sociophonetic research
(7) guide student to conduct an independent sociophonetic project

Learning outcomes
On the completion of this module, student should be able to demonstrate:
(1) an understanding of social variables discussed in sociophonetic research
(2) an awareness of the effects of social variables on the use of phonetic variants
(3) an understanding of the methodology used in sociophonetic research
(4) the ability to provide an auditory and acoustic analysis of speech
(5) the ability to critically evaluate sociophonetic research
(6) the ability to undertake an independent sociophonetic investigation


Lectures will introduce students to the interaction of social variables and pronunciation variants. The following topics may be included in the module: geographical location, age, gender, social status, social networks, ethnicity, speech style, identity. The module also touches on the perception of phonetic variants and the influence that social variables can have on the perception of phonetic variants. In seminars, students practice the auditory and acoustic analysis of phonetic variants with guidance from the module leader.

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:
• Reading preparation for lectures: (10x5=) 50 hours
• Preparation for seminars: (10x3=) 30 hours
• Transcription and acoustic analysis practice: (10x2.5=) 25 hours
• Completion of the fieldwork project: 50 hours
• Completion of the Open Book Exam: 25 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are given formative feedback and individual help during seminars. They receive detailed guidance on how to plan and carry out their fieldwork analysis, and how to write up its results. Students also have the opportunity to complete a formative project proposal, on which they receive feedback prior to the project submission date.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report2,500-word analysis report ('fieldwork project')60.00
Online AssessmentOpen book exam40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/09/2022


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