English Phonetics - LL836

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 15 (7.5) DR T Rathcke


LL833; LL838





This course is an introduction to English Phonetics. It covers how English speech sounds are produced and perceived and what their acoustic characteristics are; it covers how speech sounds are organized into the sound system of English and provides awareness of the types of dialectal variation present in English. Finally, the course will cover the differences between the traditional “static” view of speech sounds as articulatory postures and the organization of running speech, together with the repercussions that our current knowledge about running speech has for our understanding of phonological systems, their organization and formal representation.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

In-course test (equivalent to 3000 words) - 50%;
Final project report (3000 words) - 50%

Indicative reading

Ashby, M. & Maidment, J. (2005) Introducing Phonetic Science. Cambridge University Press;
Gussenhoven, C. & Jacobs, H. (1998) Understanding Phonology. Hodder & Arnold;
Ladefoged, P. & Johnson, K. (2011) A Course in Phonetics (6th edition). Wadsworth;
Ladefoged, P. (2003) Phonetic Data Analysis. Blackwell;
Ladefoged, P. (1996) Elements of Acoustic Phonetics. The University of Chicago Press;
Reetz, H. & Jongman, A. (2009). Phonetics: Transcription, Production, Acoustics and Perception. Wiley-Blackwell;
Zsiga, E. C. (2013). The Sounds of Language: An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the central research questions, current issues and recent insights within phonetics;
Fully understand the organisation of the segmental and prosodic systems of English, its dialectal and social variation;
Demonstrate an advanced understanding of English phonology, and a critical awareness of different approaches to phonological representations of English prosody;
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the experimental techniques that have contributed to our knowledge of how English speech is produced and perceived and of how this research informs our current understanding of sound system organization;
Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to represent English speech sounds and to refer to the IPA for guidance, showing critical awareness of the problems accompanying this type of phonetic work;
Interpret visual representations of English speech using relevant software (Praat) and master its core functions (creating audio files, doing advanced acoustic measurements of duration, amplitude, fundamental and formant frequency of speech sounds);
Critically engage with the relevant published research of the field, demonstrating the ability to understand its insights as well as shortcomings and to propose new hypotheses.

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