Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Advanced Issues in the Sound Structure of Languages

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION One of the characteristics of language in all its forms is its organisation into repeatable patterns of realisation. A parallel, even if, at first glance, conflicting characteristic is the tendency for variation and change. This study-unit examines the issues which arise when one attempts to account for phonetic and phonological variation and change. It attempts to show how different theories deal with the matter of capturing patterns, including those of variation or change, in spoken data. It further provides students with a basis for thinking critically about the challenges posed by variation and change in spoken data by evaluating a number of different studies in this area. Finally, it provides students with the opportunity to carry out a mini-study in which they will be required to apply their understanding of the issues involved by identifying and testing out a hypothesis relating to some aspect of phonetic and/or phonological variation or change and to subsequently account for the patterns in the data using a model (or models) of their choice.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit is intended for students who already have a solid grounding in phonetics and phonology, such as that provided in the earlier study-units on offer in Year 1 and Year 2 of the Linguistics programme, or equivalents. It aims to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of theories of phonetics and phonology dealt with in earlier study-units, introducing additional theories which have been developed to account for phonetic and phonological phenomena involving variation and change. The study-unit further aims to provide students with the theoretical knowledge of different frameworks which have been developed to account for such phenomena together with the ability to apply these to the practical analysis of spoken data using the appropriate formalisms and notation. A number of seminars and workshops will be organised in such a way as to complement the theoretical ones. These sessions will provide students with opportunities to apply knowledge being acquired in the theoretical sessions to the analysis of data with a view to uncovering phonological patterns in data and to formulating generalisations using appropriate formalisms and notation.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- display a sound knowledge of concepts underlying different aspects of phonetic and phonological variation and change;
- comprehend different theories of phonetics and phonology developed with a view to characterising and explaining a variety of phonetic and phonological phenomena, both non-segmental (such as rhythm and intonation), as well as segmental, particularly ones involving or resulting from variation and change;
- critically evaluate different theories and frameworks as a function of their explanatory efficacy;
- identify issues of relevance to researchers in this field and evaluate the merits and shortcomings of different theoretical approaches to the study of variation and change in phonetics and phonology.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- apply their knowledge and understanding of different phonetic and phonological phenomena and related theories to an examination of select issues in intonational phonology, loan phonology, second language phonology, dialectal variation and variation more generally at both the non-segmental and the segmental levels;
- identify aspects of variation which pose questions of interest to researchers in this field;
- formulate simple research questions and hypotheses intended to examine such aspects;
- design and implement an appropriate methodology to address the specific research questions formulated;
- use the relevant terminology, notation and formalisms to deal with variation in spoken data.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:
- Archibald, J. (1998). Second language phonology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Calabrese, A., & Wetzels, W. L. (2009). Loan phonology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P. & Schilling-Estes, N. (2003). (Eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Gussenhoven, C. (2004). The phonology of tone and intonation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Gussenhoven, C. & Jacobs, H. (2011). Understanding phonology (3rd edition). London: Arnold.
- Ladd, D. R. (2008). Intonational phonology (2nd edition.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Trouvain, J., & Gut, U. (2007). Non-native prosody. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Supplementary Readings:
- Chomsky, N., & Halle, M. (1968). The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper and Row.
- Couper-Kuhlen, E. (1986). An introduction to English prosody. London: Edward Arnold.
- Cruttenden, A. (1997). Intonation (2nd edition.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- de Lacy, P. (2012). The Cambridge handbook of phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Goldsmith, J. A. (2011). The handbook of phonological theory. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Gordon, M. K. (2016). Phonological typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hinskens, F., van Hout, R., & Wetzels, W. L. (1997). Variation, change and phonological theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- International Phonetic Association. (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Ladefoged, P. (2001) Vowels and consonants: An introduction to the Sounds of Languages. Blackwell.
- Ladefoged, P. (2003). Phonetic data anaysis: An introduction to fieldwork and instrument techniques.
- Ladefoged, P. and Maddieson, I. (1996). The sounds of the world's languages. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Odden, D. (2013). Introducing phonology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Spencer, A. (1996). Phonology: Theory and description. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Wells, J. C. (2006). English intonation: An introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Zsiga, E. C. (2013). The sounds of language. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-unit: LIN2350 or equivalent

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Seminar and Workshop

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) SEM1 No 15%
Seminar Paper SEM1 Yes 15%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 70%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.