Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


This module deals with the linguistic study of speech. It covers how speech sounds are produced and perceived and what their acoustic characteristics are. 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 briefly covered and contrasted with English. Finally, the course will cover the differences between the traditional "static" view of speech sounds as articulatory postures and the organisation of running speech.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Problem Set 1 – 50%
Problem Set 2 – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Ashby, M. and Maidment, J. (2005) Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ladefoged, P. & Johnson, K. (2010) A Course in Phonetics (6th edition). Stamford: 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

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge and 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;
Understand how speech sounds are produced and perceived; students should also have an understanding of speech acoustics;
Display a high level of familiarity with the types of experimental research that contribute to our knowledge of how speech is produced and perceived;
Demonstrate a cogent understanding of the English language and its varieties;
Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to represent speech sounds and to refer to the IPA for guidance, while being cognizant of the controversies surrounding the use of the IPA and its limitations;
Interpret visual representations of speech using relevant software (Praat) and demonstrate a critical understanding of 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).


  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.