Foundations of Language 1: Sounds and Words - LING3100

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


The module will begin by offering a basic introduction to the 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 the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols 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 the phonotactics (rules of co-occurrence) and general phonological rules of English. Students will use this knowledge to explore and describe different accents of English. From phonology, the module moves to morphology (the study of word-structure), highlighting the differences between derivational and inflectional morphology, and introducing analytical concepts such as the morpheme and allomorphy, and critically evaluating descriptive models such as word and paradigm, item-and-process and item-and-arrangement grammars.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:

Online test (phonetics/phonology): 40% (90 min)
Group Presentation: 20% (15 min)
In-class test: 40% (60 min)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Blake, B. (2009) All About Language. Oxford: Blackwell.
Fromkin, V., Rodman, R. & Hyams, N. (2011 and previous editions). 'Morphology: The words of language' in An introduction to language. Boston: Wadsworth.
Ladefoged, P., & Johnson, K. (2011). A course in phonetics (Sixth edition.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Matthews, P. H. (1990) Morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McMahon, A. (2004) Introduction to English Phonology. Edinburgh: E.U.P.
Roach, P. (2001) Phonetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
11.1 Understand and use with confidence the basic terminology of phonetics, phonology and morphology as they apply to English (phoneme, allophone, complementary distribution, morpheme, allomorph);
11.2 Recognize and describe the phonemes of English;
11.3 Understand and use with confidence IPA symbols relevant to English and other languages;
11.4 Understand how the English phonological system is structured, and recognise some of the important phonotactic and phonological rules of English;
11.5 Recognize and describe variation at the phonetic/phonological levels in different varieties of English;
11.6 Understand the basic principles of word-formation, and notably the distinction between derivational and inflectional morphology.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.