Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Sound - Phonetics and Phonology: An Introduction

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION The study-unit LIN1150 consists of two connected sub-components dealing with Phonetics (LIN1151) and Phonology (LIN1152), the two sub-fields of Linguistics focusing on the level of analysis of natural language dealing with sound:

1. Phonetics: Phonetics views speech as one possible MEDIUM of transmission for LANGUAGE. This sub-component is therefore intended to provide the basis for the study of Sound as used in the sound systems of the languages of the world. This component will be especially focused on introducing students to elements of speech production, familiarising them with elements of articulatory phonetics and introducing the principles necessary to distinguish between different sounds used in human languages, distinctions which are captured in transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabet.

2. Phonology: Phonology looks at speech from the point of view of the way sounds are organised in repeated patterns in ways which contribute, both to the creation of meaning, and to giving an identity to different languages and language varieties.

Both sub-components aim to familiarise students with the basic concepts, terminology and tools needed for the description and analysis of sounds and of the ways in which these combine to create meanings at word level, but, in a preliminary fashion, also beyond this. An attempt will be made to enable students to, on the one hand distinguish between phonetics and phonology, and on the other to see how knowledge of phonetics informs the study of phonology and vice-versa.

The individual sub-components can be taken separately as LIN1151 and LIN1152 by visiting or occasional students. In order to register for LIN1152 students will however be required to provide evidence of having knowledge of material covered in LIN1151.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to provide students with a common foundation for more advanced studies in Phonetics and Phonology and in Linguistics as well as for subsequent study in more applied areas, of relevance for example to Communication Therapy and Human Language Technology students, as well as to students of specific Languages.

The study-unit aims to provide students with a firm understanding of the principles of general phonetics and of how to apply these principles to describing the sounds used in the languages of the world using the appropriate IPA symbols. It further aims to introduce students to basic concepts in phonology by examining issues such as the nature of phonological distributions and of the phonological processes which occur in speech. The phonological principles governing the combination of speech segments into syllables, as well as phonological phenomena occurring at word level, and, to at a basic level, beyond, will be examined, thus setting the scene for more advanced work in subsequent years of the programme.

Throughout the study-unit, students will be introduced to the relevant concepts through both theoretical and practical sessions.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- identify and describe the components involved in the articulation of speech sounds - (airstream mechanisms; phonation types; articulation; coordination);
- use the appropriate terminology to describe vowels and consonants;
- articulate the distinction between phoneme and allophone;
- describe the concept of phonological distributions, rules and representations;
- begin to describe common phonological processes;
- demonstrate a basic knowledge of syllable structure and phonotactics;
- demonstrate a basic knowledge of stress, rhythm and intonation.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- produce different sounds transcribed using IPA symbols;
- listen to and transcribe speech sounds and combinations of these in (nonce) words and simple sentences using the appropriate IPA symbols;
- make use of the IPA and available tools as a means to gaining a better understanding of how different speech sounds are produced;
- analyse data with a view to identifying different distributional patterns;
- start to recognise and simple generalisations about patterns in data;
- analyse syllable structure and examine phonotactics in some loanword data;
- describe, in a preliminary way, the sound systems of two or more different languages or varieties of language.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Abercrombie, D. (1967). Elements of general phonetics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Ashby, M. & Maidment, J. (2005). Introducing phonetic science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Ashby, P. (2011). Understanding phonetics. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.
- Catford, J. C. (2001). A practical introduction to phonetics (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Crystal, D. (2008). Dictionary of linguistics and phonetics (6th edition).Blackwell Publishing.
- Gussenhoven, C. & Jacobs, H. (2011). Understanding phonology (4th edition). Abingdon & New York: Routledge.
- Hewlett, N. & Beck, J. (2006). An introduction to the science of phonetics. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
- International Phonetic Association. (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Kennedy, R. (2017): Phonology: A coursebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Knight, R.-A. (2012). Phonetics: A coursebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Ladefoged, P. & Disner, S. F. (2012). Vowels and consonants (3rd edition). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
- Ladefoged, P & Johnson, K. (2015). A course in phonetics (7th edition). Cengage Learning.
- Laver, J. (1994). Principles of phonetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. - Odden, D. (2013). Introducing phonology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Wayland, R. (2019). Phonetics: A practical introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Zsiga, E. C. (2013). The sounds of language. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Main text-books will be identified and announced at the start of study-unit. Specific readings will be assigned on a topic-by-topic basis in the course of the study-unit.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Practical

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork SEM1 Yes 20%
Classwork SEM2 Yes 20%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 20%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 40%

LECTURER/S Sarah Grech
Alexandra Vella

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.