Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 7 15 (7.5) Rina Kreitman checkmark-circle


This module deals with the linguistic study of speech. It covers how speech sounds are produced and perceived and what their acoustic characteristics are (often referred to as phonetics), as well as how speech sounds are organised into sound systems cross-linguistically (often referred to as phonology). Emphasis will be placed on the sound system of English (including dialectal variation) but basics of sound systems across the world's languages will also be covered and contrasted with English so that students are familiar with the gamut of speech sounds available in the world’s languages. Finally, the course will cover the differences between the traditional "static" view of speech sounds as articulatory postures and the organisation of running speech. This will be covered together with the repercussions that our current knowledge about running speech has for our understanding of phonological systems, their organisation and formal representation in phonological theory.


Contact hours

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


This module is compulsory for students studying on the MA in Linguistics

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Presentation (10 minutes) – 10%
• Take-home Test 1 – 45%
• Take-home Test 2 – 45%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Ashby, M. and Maidment, J. (2005) Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge University Press;
Gussenhoven, C. & Jacobs, H. (1998) Understanding Phonology. London: Hodder & Arnold;
Ladefoged, P. & Johnson, K. (2010) A Course in Phonetics (6th edition). Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning;
Ladefoged, P. (2003) Phonetic Data Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell;
Ladefoged, P. (1996) Elements of Acoustic Phonetics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press;
Zsiga, E. C. (2013) The Sounds of Language: An introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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 systematic and comprehensive knowledge of the central areas of the study of speech, and critical understanding of the central areas of the study of speech
and of the problems with the traditional separation of the study of speech into phonetics and phonology;
2. Demonstrate conceptual understanding as to how speech sounds are produced and perceived; as well as an understanding of speech acoustics;
3. Demonstrate comprehensive familiarity with the types of experimental research that contribute to our knowledge of how speech is produced and perceived and of how
this research informs our understanding of sound system organisation;
4. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the English language and its varieties;
5. Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) in a systematic and critical way to represent speech sounds and to refer to the IPA for guidance, while having a critical
awareness of the controversies surrounding the use of the IPA and its limitations;
6. Interpret visual representations of speech using relevant software (Praat) and should have mastered the basic functions of Praat (recording and playing files, cutting and
pasting speech, doing basic measurements of duration, amplitude and fundamental frequency of speech sounds);
7. Solve higher-level phonology problems using appropriate tests and arguments;
8 Demonstrate cognisance of fundamental concepts of phonology and of formalism within the theory of generative linear and non-linear phonology.

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

1. Demonstrate imitative and personal responsibility when undertaking independent learning;
2. Communicate the results of their study accurately and coherently both orally and in writing, both in and beyond the contexts in which these skills were first acquired;
3. Use IT skills to analyse data, take exams, and present information effectively;
4 Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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