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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LING5400M Foundations of Phonetics and Phonology

15 creditsClass Size: 36

Module manager: Leendert Plug

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides students 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 covers articulatory and acoustic phonetics, as well as core concepts of phonological theory. Students gain practical skills in the production, perception and description of speech sounds, and learn how to transcribe them using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Although English is the common medium for teaching in this module, the module focuses much attention on sounds and sound patterns found in other languages of the world.


This module aims to provide students with a strong grounding in the study of speech sounds. This includes introducing students to how speech sounds are produced and transmitted, and how they function in the sound systems of the world’s languages. It also includes training students in the production, transcription and phonological analysis of speech sounds.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have:
1. an understanding how the human vocal tract produces speech sounds
2. an understanding of how sounds differ in terms of acoustic structure
3. a command of phonological concepts such as phonemes and allophones, and phonotactic constraints
4. an ability to produce, recognise and transcribe speech sounds


Topics covered in this module typically include the vocal tract and the main components of speech production, major segmental sound types, basic concepts in acoustic phonetics, phoneme theory and phonotactics. The seminars focus on the production, transcription and phonological analysis of speech sounds.

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

Students are expected to devote 135 hours of independent study time to this module, with the following suggested breakdown:
- reading to keep up with lecture content: (10x4=) 40 hours
- preparation for seminars using the VLE: (5x4=) 20 hours
- self-study using the VLE: (10x2=) 20 hours
- preparation of the essay: 30 hours
- preparation for the exams: 25 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The fortnightly seminars are a forum for monitoring students’ production, perception, transcription and speech analysis skills, as well as students’ use of the self-study materials developed for the module, and for providing formative feedback where relevant. Students are given detailed guidance on how to approach the essay task, and receive feedback on their essay before the exams.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentShort essay questions60.00
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 exam1 hr 00 mins40.00
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: 06/09/2023


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