LING 3038 - Phonology: language sounds and sound systems

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2021

Pronunciation immediately identifies each of us as belonging to a certain ethnic group, social class, locality, age group and gender. This course investigates the nature of speech sounds, the mechanisms of speech production and perception and the ways by which these sounds are classified into a fixed inventory of meaningful sounds, the phoneme inventory, by speakers of a language. Students will learn how to transcribe speech sounds using phonetic symbols (International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA). Students will learn how to identify the phonemes of a language and their allophones. Students will compare and contrast the sound systems of a variety of languages. A particular focus of this course will be developing understandings of the relationship between speech and writing in a range of languages, including English. This course is essential for all linguistics students, language teachers (English or otherwise) and newsreaders. The course will also be of interest to many students of psychology, anthropology and social inquiry.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LING 3038
    Course Phonology: language sounds and sound systems
    Coordinating Unit Linguistics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study
    Incompatible LING 2040
    Assessment Practical 1 - 20%, Practical 2 - 20%, Review (1500 word) 30%, Exam (1.5 hours) 30%.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ian Green

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Be able to describe the general physical mechanisms underlying the production & perception of speech.
    2. Be able to classify speech sounds according to vocal tract configuration, laryngeal activity and airflow.
    3. Be able to utilise the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) in both ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’ transcription of speech, and to work with other practical orthographies in speech transcription.
    4. Be able to identify the role of stress, intonation, pitch and duration in the production & perception of speech.
    5. Perform a phonemic analysis of any given language, drawing on notions of minimal pairs, contrastive vs complementary distribution, conditioning of allophones & free variation.
    6. Identify the distinctive features of any given set of phonemes.
    7. Explain the concept of ‘underlying phonological form’, drawing on examples from a variety of languages.
    8. Formulate phonological and phonetic realisation rules, having regard to rule ordering principles.
    9. Understand the basic principles of Phonological Typology.
    10. Undertake comparisons of conventional vs non-linear approaches to phonological representation.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    7, 8, 9, 10
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1, 2, 3, 4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 3, 10
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    2, 3, 4, 5, 9
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Course Text Book:
    Odden, D. (2013). Introducing Phonology. Cambridge University Press, 2nd edn.
    Recommended Resources
    Goldsmith, R. (2011). The Handbook of Phonological Theory. Wiley-Blackwell.
    Gussenhoven, C. (2004). The Phonology of Tone and Intonation. Cambridge University Press.
    Gussenhoven, Carlos & Jacobs, H. (2017). Understanding Phonology. Routledge, 3rd edn.
    Ladefoged, P. & Johnstone, K. (2016). A course in phonetics. Cengage Learning, 7th edn.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Problem-solving tutorials drawing on, and extending, material covered in lectures and/or in the course text-book or in other material referenced in the course.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
    1 x 2-hour lecture/workshop per week (x12) 24 hours
    1 x 1-hour tutorial per week (x10) 10 hours
    4 hours Practicals/Reading per week (x12) 48 hours
    4 hours Assignment Preparation per week (x12) 48 hours
    2 hours Research per week (X 13) 26 hours
    TOTAL 156 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1
    Speech production & perception – the body and the brain
    The idea of sound systems

    Week 2
    Making, hearing, transcribing & categorising consonant sounds
    Distinguishing consonants

    Week 3
    Making, hearing, transcribing & categorising vowel sounds
    Distinguishing vowels

    Week 4
    Stress, Tone, Intonation, Duration – what are they & what difference do they make?

    Week 5
    The idea of the phoneme – minimal pairs, contrastive vs complementary distribution, conditioned variation, phonetic realisation.

    Week 6
    Phonemes as sets of distinctive features – universal parameters, archiphonemes, underspecification.

    Week 7
    Underlying Forms & phonological rules.

    Week 8
    Formulating sets of phonological rules – ordering and elsewhere conditions.

    Week 9
    Exploring phonological rules cross-linguistically.

    Week 10
    Phonological Typology – what comes ‘naturally’ (and why) ?

    Week 11
    Exploring phonological theory - linear & non-linear approaches

    Week 12
    The limits of abstractness – phonology as a human science vs mind game
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    There will be three assignments in phonological/phonetic analysis (due in Week 4, Week 7 & Week 9), together with a final online test to be made available in Week 13. All assignments are of equal weight.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment #1 – Distinguishing & transcribing speech sounds
    Assignment #2 – Analysing phonemes
    Assignment #3 – Formulating Phonological Rules
    Test – Practical analyses & short answer questions ranging over the content of lectures, tutorials & prescribed readings across the semester.
    All assignments are to be submitted through MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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