Sounds of English - LING3030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Rina Kreitman checkmark-circle


This module will begin by offering a basic description of speech sounds, with emphasis on those used in English and detailed descriptions first of consonants, and then of vowels. The gaps between sound and orthography will be highlighted as symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) are learned. The course will then move from phonetics (the study of speech sounds) to phonology (the study of the sound systems in language), focusing on phonotactics and other phonological rules of English. At the end of the term, basic prosodic concepts such as stress, rhythm, intonation and phrasing will be discussed. The main focus of the module will be on the standard variety of English spoken in the UK (often referred to as Received Pronunciation, or RP), but phonetic and phonological variation in non-UK and non-standard varieties of English will also be discussed (rhotic vs. non-rhotic varieties; luck-look merger).


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
This module will be assessed by 100% coursework.
• Group Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
• Online Test (90 minutes) – 80%

Reassessment methods
This module will be reassessed by 100% coursework.
• Reassessment Essay (2,000 words) – 100%

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate confidence using the basic terminology of phonetics and phonology as they apply to English;
2 Recognise and describe the phonemes of English;
3 Use with confidence phonetic symbols relevant to Standard Southern British English and other varieties;
4 Understand how the English phonological system is structured, and recognise some of the important phonotactic and phonological rules of English;
5 Recognise and describe variation at the phonetic/phonological levels in different varieties of English;
6 Understand the basics of higher-level speech phenomena of English.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Communicate the results of study and work accurately, with well-structured and coherent arguments in an effective and fluent manner both in speech and in writing, to a
specialist and non-specialist audience;
2 Evaluate and interpret data logically and systematically;
3 Demonstrate their ability to work cooperatively with others, exercising personal responsibility and sensitivity;
4 Demonstrate their ability to undertake independent learning, by taking initiative, being organised and meeting deadlines;
5 Use IT skills to present information effectively; develop and exchange relevant information through the use of shared access to documents and web-based learning.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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